The Legacies of the Romani Genocide in Europe:
Musée National d’Histoire de l’Immigration, La Maison Rouge
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This workshop explores the legacies of the genocide of Europe’s Roma in transnational and comparative perspective. We are particularly interested in three aspects of this history: the production and circulation of knowledge about the genocide from 1945 until today, the ways in which these cognitive frameworks have shaped institutional and legal practices, and the individuals and communities (Roma and non-Roma) whose personal histories intersected with – and shaped – these transformations of knowledge and institutions since 1945.
Participants will interrogate the consequences of the Romani genocide in national and international contexts, and reflect on the circulation and transfer of knowledge and institutional practices across national borders, including connections between eastern and western Europe, or Europe and non-European countries. We anticipate case studies from different parts of Europe, including communist, liberal democratic, and authoritarian regimes, which take a critical approach to the writing of Romani history within national frameworks.
Themes may include public memory; national or international responses to restitution, migration, welfare, health, sexuality, or education; representations of the Romani genocide in popular culture; continuities and discontinuities in international police cooperation, medical discourses and practices (for example, regarding reproductive rights, sterilisation, or public health), or debates about segregation and integration of Roma in schools. Papers may also take a transnational perspective when exploring cultural and social responses to genocide in postwar Romani history, such as postwar migrations; commemorative practices within Romani communities; or local, national, European, or global Roma rights movements.
The genocide of Roma and Sinti during World War II is crucial for understanding the postwar history of Roma families and communities across Europe. Hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti were killed as a direct result of racial policies pursued by the German state, its allies, and other European states between 1933 and 1945. Yet although the mechanisms and scope of the Roma Holocaust are now partially understood, the legacies of mass killing, ghettoization, sterilization and slave labour for first-, second- and third-generation survivors are still unknown. The trauma of the mid-twentieth-century genocide as well as its contested recognition by majority societies is paramount for understanding the persistent discrimination against European Roma today.
This workshop is part of a series of events that explores how the legacies of genocide have shaped the social, political and cultural history of Roma and Sinti since 1945. As an international network of historians, social scientists, scholars of language and culture, and Roma communities, we aim to investigate the ways in which past experiences and memories of persecution and violence have influenced family histories, political and social identities, and state-society relations amongst Roma and Sinti in different parts of Europe since 1945. Previous events have explored sources and methodologies in postwar Romani history (Liverpool, July 2017) and families as transmitters of experience and memory (Prague, September 2017). Through its broad geographical focus, our network explores under-researched topics such as the legacies of wartime deportation of Romanian Roma to Transnistria, alongside more familiar sites of memory, such as the Auschwitz Gypsy camp. We are thus aiming to promote much-needed comparative and transnational perspectives on the history of Roma in post-war Europe.
There is an increasing body of work on the Roma genocide or the Roma experience of occupied Europe but this work is still fragmented. The literature on attempts to come to terms with the Roma Holocaust after 1945 is also very small and largely centred on Germany. There is almost no historical scholarship on the postwar history of Roma in other parts of Europe. Scholarship in the social sciences tackling questions such as migration, socioeconomic exclusion and struggles for citizenship or human rights frequently references wartime persecution in relation to contemporary forms of discrimination but these connections often remain intuitive and have not been systematically explored by historians. Our network is thus connecting scholarship in the field of Romani Studies to broader debates about the legacies of genocide in contemporary European history.
May 1, 2018, 11:00am CET
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