Roma family’s home set ablaze on Christmas Eve in Gyöngyöspata

December 30, 2015


The home of a Roma family in the town of Gyöngyöspata was set ablaze on Christmas Eve, reports the Roma News Press Center. This is the sixth such incident in recent years. The culprit has not yet been found.

While others families spent Christmas Eve eating dinner and opening gifts, one family endured an experience nothing short of a nightmare. The family had purchased the home weeks earlier only to have it set afire by a Molotov cocktail, reports the Roma News Press Center.

The Roma family, who asked not to be named, bought the house in the predominantly non-Roma Hungarian part of town. Within days, an unknown individual vandalized their front gate with graffiti reading “You will die”

The family removed the graffiti only to have their home set on fire on Christmas Eve.  Fortunately, although their furniture had already been delivered, the family had not yet moved in.

Firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames in less than 30 minutes. An investigation has been opened into the incident on suspicion of arson.

The Roma News Press Center reports that the owner of the house has no money to restore it and had not yet insured the property. The owner, a father of three, is a public works employee. He says the mayor of Gyöngyöspata has offered to help the family.

Locals claim this is the sixth such incident in the past nine years when a Roma family seeking to move into the non-Roma area had their home set ablaze. The assailants were never found in any of the incidents.

Lajos Szőcsi, vice-president of the local Roma self-government, criticized the Heves County police for failing to open an investigation into the apparent death threat painted on the gate.

Gyöngyöspata was the scene of anti-Roma atrocities in 2011.  The Good Friday evacuation of Roma women and children threatened by right-wing extremists continues to be a subject of considerable controversy.