In honor of Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day on August 2nd, we are featuring Rudolf Sárközi as this month’s Portrait of the Month subject. The portrait draws you in, asking you to learn more about a man who survived against the odds and did so much significant work. Part of Rudolf’s life’s work was to establish both the Cultural Association of Austrian Roma and the Roma Education Fund. The Roma people have been persecuted throughout Europe’s history and their plight is often overlooked, making Rudolf’s work all the more difficult and important.
August 2nd marks the anniversary of the liquidation of the Zigeunerfamilienlager (“Gypsy Family Camp”) of Auschwitz II-Birkenau, during which almost 3,000 Roma children and adults were killed in gas chambers. Sinti and Roma were targeted by the Nazis because they were considered to be racially inferior; under the Nazi regime, an increasing number of anti-Gypsy laws subjected tens of thousands of Gypsies to sterilization, deportation to camps, forced labor, and mass murder. It is estimated that between 220,000 and 500,000 Gypsies throughout Europe were killed during the Holocaust. Due in part to Rudolf’s work, we know about these atrocities committed against the Roma people.