Emerging scholarship is building a more complete understanding of the persecution and genocide of European Sinti and Roma under Nazi rule. But many historical questions remain unanswered and public awareness about the genocide of the Roma is still insufficient.
The IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma works with international governmental organisations and civil society to increase knowledge about and commitment to commemorating the genocide of the Roma. As part of this effort, in 2020 the IHRA adopted a non-legally binding definition of antigypsyism / anti-Roma discrimination. In 2021, the Committee began the process of developing teaching recommendations on the genocide of the Roma, which will draw upon international expertise, spanning the fields of education, remembrance and research.
These five resources, co-funded by the IHRA, present different approaches to the topic. Some are focussed on the preservation of personal testimony, while others are research-based.
1. Digital exhibition about the Genocide of the Sinti and Roma
The Forgotten Genocide digital exhibition tells the story of persecuted Sinti and Roma children with the use of unique source materials. Together these diverse stories illustrate the genocide of the Sinti and the Roma under the Nazi regime — stories which remained unmentioned until long after the war, even within the Sinti and Roma communities themselves. The three new contributions tell the stories of Józef Forgács (Hungary), Maria Stancu-Costea (Romania) and Stjepan Mavrovi (Croatia).
The exhibition was developed by the National Committee for 4 and 5 May with the support of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Stiftung "Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft" (EVZ) and the Anne Frank Foundation.
2. Research on the deportation and mass killings of Roma people during World War II in Eastern Europe
This project, carried out by Yahad - In Unum, was a continuation of the previous year's efforts to investigate and establish evidence of the fate of the Roma during World War II in Romania and Moldova. The project aimed to deepen its research on the persecution of the Roma in Romania in the regions of Botosani and Suceava.
Roma survivors were interviewed and deportation routes were reconstructed. The disparity of policies towards the Roma in Romania was also examined. The testimonies about the fates of Roma groups in these regions was combined into a book, Roma Memory, which also features photographs gathered from the research.
3. New media series about Roma identity and the Porajmos / Samudaripen
Tajsa.eu is a web-based collection of video and audio podcasts, as well as educational resources, about the Genocide of the Roma in the Second World War and its causes and consequences. The project was produced in 12 regions in Europe, and each program is composed of audio and video podcasts, and additional educational materials and tools in both Romani, English, and the local-majority language of each country.
The available programs focus on presenting the historical facts, sharing the narratives and the Porajmos-related experiences. Available episodes include Guns and Guitars: The Art of Resistance in Serbia, and Beyond the River Nistru in Romania. The project was produced by Radio La Benevolencija HTF, Terraforming, and partners.
4. Online teaching resource for Genocide of Sinti and Roma
The website Sinti Roma Genocide is the first comprehensive online teaching resource in Europe which focuses exclusively on the genocide of the Roma and Sinti. The website provides extensive background information for 13 countries, selected biographies of victims of persecution, and 70 worksheets on camps and special aspects of the genocide of the Roma.
The website is available in English, German, Croatian, Czech, French, Hungarian and Kelderash (a language spoken by the Kelderash Romani, mainly in Romania). There is also a glossary of terms, and background readings in each language are available. The project is carried out in cooperation between erinnern.at, the Austrian Ministry of Education, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and Memorial de la Shoah.
5. Genocide and persecution: Roma and Sinti bibliography
Research into the persecution and the genocide of Roma and Sinti faces a double challenge: to highlight the specific repression of Roma and Sinti in Europe, but also to integrate and connect this history to the broader perspectives of the persecution and genocide of other groups and communities in Europe. This annotated bibliography of the genocide of Roma and Sinti reflects by its volume and its timeframe (more than 1,400 references collected so far, published from 1946 to 2015) a longstanding and expanding interest for the topic.