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Roma Involvement

Roma Involvement HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 44 In September 2014, during a workshop for an international group of teachers at the Anne Frank House, Karolina Mirga, one of the leaders of the TernYpe International Roma Youth Network, spoke about the experiences of the international youth conference Dikh he na bister (Look and don’t forget) and the commemoration in Auschwitz-Birkenau that year on August 2 nd . On the 70 th anniversary of the destruction of the Zigeunerlager in 1944, TernYpe held a youth conference for more than 1,000 young Roma and non-Roma from 25 countries, hosted by the Pedagogical University of Krakow. TernYpe is a network of European youth associations helping young people to become active citizens. One of its main goals is to bring young Roma and non-Roma together to strengthen the intercultural dialogue between them, to promote trust and mutual respect, and to fight against prejudice, racism and discrimination. I had attended the expert meeting and youth conference in Krakow. However, at the teachers’ seminar in Amsterdam a few weeks after the commemoration, the presentation by Karolina Mirga clearly created a different dynamic to the exchanges than would have been the case if only I had recounted my experiences of the meeting in Krakow. Krakow that July had been teeming with meetings and initiatives: Roma survivors speaking to large groups of young people, and conversations between young people from across Europe. I led a workshop for fourteen people from eight countries that was memorable for its intensity, with all the participants thoroughly engaged. The Bulgarians particularly expressed their gratitude for the carefully researched and respectfully presented historical sources, and for these resources being available online. Personal stories and historical sites were discussed as well as topics relating to contemporary issues, such as “crime prevention”. The Nazis had framed their racist persecution of the Roma and Sinti as “crime prevention”. Today, in several European countries, systematic institutional registration of Roma, including ethnic profiling by police forces, still takes place with a framework of so-called crime prevention. In the workshop five Roma youth leaders, all active in high schools in Bulgaria, discussed how the murder of four Roma in Hungary in 2008 connected to the biographies of perpetrators during the Holocaust. There were no straightforward answers, but the open space to discuss the link between past and present was important.

Worksheets with biographies of Roma survivors who had been active in the resistance, articulating their own experiences, served as positive examples. The participants saw that these personal stories would be helpful in leaving behind the perception of Roma as perpetual victims. Worksheets on The Fate of the European Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust website draw, among others, on the life stories of partisan Josef Serynek, Red Army commander Aleksandr Baurov, writer Ceija Stojka and her brother, painter Karl Stojka, both survivors of several concentration camps. Professional Development In May 2014 a meeting was held in London with project leaders from across Europe, all working on the genocide of the Roma. The meeting was hosted by the Centre for Holocaust Education at the Institute of Education, University College of London, and organised by the IHRA Committee on the genocide of Roma. Twenty people from sixteen European countries spoke about the outcomes of eight projects, including both achievements and challenges. 15 At the end of a day of in-depth discussion, several topics were defined as of importance for all the projects: 15 Six of the eight projects were co-funded by the IHRA, here marked by *. The Fate of European Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust by Kanzlei-Internationaler Verein für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Austria), Anne Frank House (The Netherlands) & Mémorial de la Shoah (France). See: www.romasintigenocide.eu * International Conference on teaching material on the Roma Genocide by Erinnern.at (Austria), Museum of Romani Culture (Czech Republic) & Anne Frank House (The Netherlands). See: www.romasintigenocide.eu * Requiem for Auschwitz by International Gipsy Festival & Alfa Foundation (The Netherlands). See: www.requiemforauschwitz.eu and www.gipsyfestival.nl/eng * Giving memory a future by Sacred Heart Catholic University of Milan (Italy) and USC Shoah Foundation (U.S.A.). See: www.romsintimemory.it and http://sfi.usc.edu/education/roma-sinti/en/ * Research on Roma deportations and Mass. Killing Sites during World War II in Eastern Europe by Yahad In Unum (France) & Dignité Roms (Belgium). See: www.yahadinunum.org * School of Remembrance – Producing knowledge about the Roma genocide and how to prevent anti-Gypsyism by Women’s Space, Nis (Serbia), Forum for Applied History, Belgrade (Serbia) & Roma Center Göttingen e.V. (Germany). See: www.fpi.rs/blog/category/skola-secanja/ * Between Discrimination and Emancipation: History and Culture of Sinti and Roma in Germany and Europe by Documentation Centre of German Sinti and Roma & Bavarian and Federal Agency for Civic Education. See: http://www.sintiundroma.de/en/home.html Save from Oblivion – Roma and Sinti Holocaust in testimonies and contemporary discourse by The Roma People Association, The Dialog-Pheniben Foundation and Jagiellonian University (Poland). See: www.stowarzyszenie.romowie.net 45 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE

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