Picture of Auschwitz entrance

Research findings: 55% of British people surveyed unaware that over 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were killed in the Holocaust

According to research findings launched by Friends Families and Travellers today, 55% of 2162 British adults surveyed were unaware that over 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were killed in the Holocaust by the Nazis. The research was launched today to coincide with the 77th anniversary of the first arrival of Roma and Sinti people from Germany at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex.

The research was commissioned by Friends Families and Travellers and conducted by YouGov who posed the question:

‘Sinti and Roma communities have been living in Germany for 600 or more years. They share ethnic origins in India and are Europe’s largest ethnic minority group. Over 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were killed by Nazi’s during the Holocaust. Before taking this survey, were you aware that these people were killed by the Nazi’s during the Holocaust?’

The report shares the words of Roma Holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka who said:

“I’m afraid that Europe is forgetting its past and that Auschwitz is only sleeping. Antigypsyist threats, policies and actions worry me greatly and make me very sad.”

The Roma community in England continue to face high levels of prejudice and feel the consequences of hate every day. Research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission published in 2018 found that 44% of the British public surveyed expressed openly negative attitudes towards Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, more than any other protected characteristic group.

The report calls on the UK Government to be more vocal in condemning discrimination and prejudice against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, to take steps to mark Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month in schools and to strengthen teaching on Roma and Sinti experiences of the Holocaust in the curriculum.

Responding to the research findings, Sarah Mann, Director of Friends Families and Travellers said:

“As we mark the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we reflect upon how we can work to ensure history does not repeat itself. It is a great failure of our education system and of our institutions that over half of British adults are unaware of the death of over half a million Roma and Sinti communities during the Holocaust.”

Adding to this, Suzanna King, Writer and Director of educational play Crystal’s Vardo said:

“It’s so important for children and young people to learn about the devastating effects of discrimination and racism and to teach values of tolerance, respect and acceptance. History provides important lessons to us – we must not forget them.”



Notes for Editor

About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.

Media Contact

[25th Feb] Sami McLaren, Communications Officer. Email: [email protected]

[26th Feb] Lucy Hetherington, Communications Officer. Email: [email protected]

Tel: 01273 234 038

Relevant Resources

Forgotten Victims: 55% of British people surveyed unaware that over 500,000 Roma and Sinti people were killed in the Holocaust

26 February 1943: First transport of Roma and Sinti reaches Auschwitz

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Blog: Auschwitz-Birkenau’s Gypsy Family Camp

About the research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2162 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 4th December 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

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