People came to pay their respects at a memorial service remembering the Roma Holocaust.

The service, which took place at Kingston Maurward College, marked 75 years since the horrific massacre during the Holocaust known as the Night of the Gypsies, in which 2,900 Roma and Sinti people were killed in a single night.

There were a number of speakers who offered speeches, poems and readings at the service, and a minute of silence was also observed.

Betty Smith-Billington, chairman of Kushti Bok – a group of volunteers that aims to break down barriers between the Romany people and non Romany people – said: "I felt the service was well received by all who attended, I made contact with people willing to help with not just challenging racism and hate speech but to also help with a solution so that there are places for Travellers to stay when they are visiting our town, and to also help local Gypsies and Travellers who need to be able to follow their culture and Heritage as defined by Human Rights.

"It is very important to look back and never forget the atrocities of the Nazi regime in the late 1930s up to 1945.

"The Romany people had no one to speak for them at the Nuremberg trials, all the intellectual Roma and Sinti who were in government employ and armed forces, were picked out and 'dealt with' before WW2 was started. Sadly many of the remaining Gypsies were a humble people, many uneducated. But now the Romany people are speaking out and will no longer be 'The Forgotten People of the Holocaust'."

While the exact figures are unknown, as many as 500,000 Romani people were murdered in the Holocaust in what is now recognised as a genocide.

Cllr Graham Winter, Mayor of Weymouth, who also attended the service, said: "The service was a reminder of the systematic persecution the Roma and Sinti suffered during the period of Nazi rule in Germany and in Nazi-occupied Europe.

"Many thousands of Romany victims of the Holocaust were remember at the service and I was incredibly moved by the ceremony – the lighting of the candles was hugely symbolic.

"There is much learning that we need to understand from what happened in Auschwitz. It is so important that local organisations work with groups such as Kushti Bok to tackle negative media, stereotyping travellers, who have many skills that we can all learn from."