1 year ago



Involving Roma of all

Involving Roma of all ages. Roma survivors involved in the projects were sometimes sharing their story for the first time. HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 46 Meeting and recording survivors. Oral testimony projects need to be encouraged with a sense of urgency. Young Roma need to take ownership of their families’ stories in order to become spokespeople for their communities. Empowering young Roma. Several projects uncovered a lack of historical knowledge throughout the Roma community. Creating more opportunities for young Roma to acquire historical expertise will be important. The special educational opportunities that peer education offers include both the empowerment of the peer educators and the positive aspect of peer role models on the learners. Professional development. Lack of knowledge and expertise among professional educators was highlighted as a general problem that can only be addressed if professional development opportunities are created. Resources for educators in their own languages are essential, but attention should be paid to the quality of translations, so as not to, for example, reproduce the terminology of the Nazis in educational materials. It became clear during this expert meeting in London that there were already many related educational and commemorative projects taking place across Europe and that the international organisations engaged in initiating or supporting these projects are not sufficiently aware of each other’s work. After sharing the previously stated recommendations within the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma initiated two small research projects: • To compile an overview of nineteen international organisations working on the genocide of the Roma and contemporary issues concerning discrimination; and • To compile an annotated bibliography of the genocide of the Roma. 16 The outcomes will further inform the work of the IHRA, and be a guiding principle in the cooperation with other organisations such as the OSCE/ODIHR, Council of Europe, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and major Holocaust institutions. 16 Both reports are available at

Anti-Roma Rhetoric Following its expert meeting in May 2014, the UCL Institute of Education hosted a public conference in London on the genocide of the Roma at which many of the previously mentioned projects were presented in a practical way to people working in the educational field. Keynote speeches focused on the challenges faced by historians in researching and teaching the genocide of the Roma, and on the contemporary situation of the Roma across Europe, where hate crimes, human rights violations and discrimination are far too often part of daily life. 17 Mirjam Karoly, Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, spoke of the importance of the commemoration of the genocide of Roma and Sinti and its relevance for combating racism and discrimination. Her focus on the current public discourse on Roma in Europe, “led by right-wing politicians but not restricted to these circles” is mirrored in some of the statements made by students quoted later. Karoly said: “It is clear that the current discourse refers to longstanding negative stereotypes against Roma, whether criminalising them and portraying them as a threat to internal security or labelling them as ‘socially inadaptable’ people. This discourse bears a dangerous potential, deepening racism and serving to legitimise certain policy actions.” Huub van Baar, who has written extensively about the Roma in Europe, elaborates on this point of view in his article The Emergence of a Reasonable Anti-Gypsyism in Europe. 18 He looks at the media coverage of the bomb attack that killed four Roma in Oberwart, Austria, in 1995, and the alleged kidnapping of children by Roma. He outlines the emergence of what he calls “reasonable anti-Gypsyism” – criminalising allegations against the Roma, not just by extremist groups but also by moderate politicians, citizens, policy-makers, the police, and sections of the media. “A widely supported movement of non-Roma seeks retaliation under the pretext that the Roma frequently exhibit undesirable behaviour.” 19 Van Baar analyses media coverage 17 The conference was attended by more than 100 people from twenty-two countries. See: Report on IOE and IHRA committee on the genocide of the Roma Expert Meeting and Conference on the Genocide or the Roma, 10-11 May 2014, for more detail 18 Huub van Baar (2011), The European Roma: Minority Representation. Memory and the Limits of Transnational Governmentality. 19 Huub van Baar (2014), The Emergence of a Reasonable Anti-Gypsyism in Europe. 27-45. In: Temofey Agarin (ed.), 2014 When Stereotype meets prejudice. Antiziganism in European Societies.Van Baar tells the story of how the houses in the Roma settlement where the murdered men lived were first searched and the media and public opinion for weeks presumed it was an internal Romani dispute, although there was no evidence to indicate this. 47 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE

Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative
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