A delegation of European Roma will for the first time attend Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies in Israel next week, the Association of the Roma in Poland said Thursday.
"It's a very important gesture proving that Israeli authorities understand the similarity between the sad fates of the Roma and the Jews, and that they want to support Roma communities worldwide," the association's leader Roman Kwiatkowski told Polish media.
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The delegation will include Roma and Sinti representatives from Poland, as well as the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Slovakia, an aide to Kwiatkowski told AFP.
She said they will meet Israeli parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin and Avner Shalev, director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial institute.
During World War II, Nazi Germany exterminated about half of the Roma and Sinti populations of occupied countries. The communities now number between eight and 15 million people in Europe, according to different estimates.