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January 30 2013

The passing of Cejka Stoica, Roma survivor of the nazi lager

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The Community of Sant'Egidio shares the mourning of the Roma people for the death of Stoika Cejka, who witnessed the Porrajimos, the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti people, who passed away in Vienna on 28 January, the day after the Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Cejka Stoika was born in 1933, in a large family of Austrian Catholics Roma exterminated by the Nazis. Child deported to Birkenau first, then to Ravensbrück and finally Bergen Belsen, was a writer and an artist who gave voice to the suffering of the Roma people during the Nazi persecution. Her publications include the book "Maybe I dream of living", in which she reports his experience as a child in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, which has been translated into Italian.

Her intense commitment to memory and testimony has brought her close to the Community of Sant'Egidio: she took part in the Meetings of Religions for Peace in the Spirit of Assisi and in conferences and meetings with young people, in Italy and in Europe. In particular we remember her presence in the pilgrimage of religion to Auschwitz in 2009, the conferences for young people in Hungary, and her last journey to Rome in June 2012, at the audience of the Pope to Roma and Sinti d 'Europe.

Even at that time, as often in recent years, she expressed her concern about the resurgence in Europe of phenomena of anti-gitanism: "I'm afraid that Auschwitz is only sleeping," she said to the pope.

A good synthesis of her message can be found in the words addressed to the Hungarian youth of the Community of Sant'Egidio, in one of the last meetings: "If you defend the gypsy, the young, you defend yourselves. Thus becoming a protective mantle for yourself".




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