Today, January 27, has been designated by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The SERVEurope Catalyst Team, with whom I work, is passionate about healthy identification with and full inclusion into the Church and community of people who have experienced marginalization. We are particularly passionate about ministering to, and with, the Roma. And to, and with, persons living with disability. To our disappointment, as much as these populations have their own distinct realities, there is a great degree of overlap in the pernicious processes that all too frequently stigmatize and victimize those who deserve to live their lives in healthy community.
On this day of remembrance, it is sobering to realize that these two populations were singled out for persecution and even extermination by those who were responsible for the Holocaust.
Author Katherine Quarmby has written extensively on both the Roma and people with disabilities. She has today reposted excerpts from two of her works that deal with the experience of Roma and the disabled during those dark days. We share them with you today (and highly recommend both works from which these excerpts are taken).
Remembering the Holocaust – and the Roma who died amongst the many victims
I have been very moved by the many wonderful contributions to Holocaust Memorial Day, all around the world.
Here’s my contribution – a short extract from my book, No Place to Call Home: Inside the Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers, published by Oneworld Publications in 2013. It contains a passage about the lesser known history of the Roma who perished during the Holocaust, along with all the other victims. I will also be publishing an extract from my book, Scapegoat: how we are failing disabled people (Portobello, 2011), today, which has a short section on the disabled people who were victims of the Holocaust, under the T4 killing programme.
Extract from No Place to Call Home: Inside the Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers(Oneworld Publications, 2013)
Remembering the Holocaust – and the disabled victims who died in the T4 programme
In this extract from my book, Scapegoat: why we are failing disabled people (Portobello, 2011), on Holocaust Memorial Day, I am sharing my analysis of how the T4 Nazi killing machine was inspired by eugenics enthusiasts in the UK and the US. It’s a grim read, I’m afraid, but important to remember why so many people died. Never again.
Extract from: Scapegoat: why we are failing disabled people (Portobello, 2011)