In a widely-shared clip, Carr makes a joke about the Gypsy and Roma people slaughtered by Nazi Germany.
“When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy of 6 million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine. But they never mention the thousands of Gypsies that were killed by the Nazis,” Carr said. “No one ever wants to talk about that, because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.”
As reported by NBC News, Carr defends the joke later in the special, calling it “educational” because “a lot of people don’t know … that the Nazis also killed in their thousands, gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Olivia Marks-Woldman, CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Trust, condemned Carr’s remarks in a statement on Friday:
“We are absolutely appalled at Jimmy Carr’s comment about persecution suffered by Roma and Sinti people under Nazi oppression, and horrified that gales of laughter followed his remarks,” Marks-Woldman said. “Hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti people suffered prejudice, slave labour, sterilization and mass murder simply because of their identity. These are not experiences for mockery.”
Marks-Woldman continued, “The widespread ignorance of this recent history needs to be addressed and we urge everyone to learn more about the past and the experiences of Roma people today. Roma and Sinti people still face dreadful prejudice as this incident shows.”