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HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN

HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE 48 of four recent cases of alleged kidnapping of children. He refers to the myth, widespread in European societies since the late Middle Ages, that Roma steal children. In May 2008, sixty Italians attacked a Romani settlement in the Ponticelli district of Naples over an alleged kidnapping. The houses of 400 Roma were burnt down. 20 Three more recent incidents (all in 2013) in Serbia, Greece and Ireland did not lead to the same level of violence, but raised similar questions about ethnic profiling. DNA testing was considered necessary to prove that the children were Roma, and not stolen. “If considering a child having a different appearance to its parents is being seen to be a legitimate reason for the authorities to intervene in the private lives of a family and resort to DNA test for ‘answers’ is not ethnic profiling, what is?” 21 Redoubled Efforts At the conference in London, Mirjam Karoly had referred to the legacy of the past: “The victims who survived and returned from concentration camps were again confronted with prejudices and rejection, while the perpetrators of the genocide were not prosecuted. If we want to understand today’s situation we have to account for what has happened in the past under National Socialism but also how post-war societies dealt with the past and the victims of the Roma and Sinti genocide.” She concluded that although the “forgotten Holocaust” was receiving more attention, efforts to share knowledge through formal education needed to be redoubled. In January 2014, OSCE/ODIHR sent a questionnaire to all OSCE member states to establish which practices exist in the OSCE area to teach about and commemorate the Roma and Sinti genocide. In June 2015, a group of around fifteen people were invited to Warsaw to review the first analysis of answers provided by 17 states, to discuss the persistent challenges and define follow-up initiatives for the OSCE institutions. These included partnerships with ministries of education to promote teaching about the Roma and Sinti genocide. This is a long path to go down. However, the efforts over many years to get a resolution on the genocide of the Roma through the European Parliament are a recent example of what might be achieved. 20 Giving Memory a Future is a website that includes Roma testimonies on persecution and discrimination from the Second World War and today. There is a short video about the attacks on Roma in Italy. See: http://sfi.usc.edu/education/roma-sinti/en/ See also Huub van Baar (2014) p. 29 21 Van Baar refers to ERRC, Legal Factsheet: Child Protection – What should states do? (Budapest: European Roma Rights Centre, 2013)

In April 2015 a text was published, stating that: “Recognition of the genocide of Roma during World War II and the establishment of a dedicated European memorial day would thus constitute an important symbolic step in the fight against anti-Gypsyism and contribute to general knowledge of Roma history in Europe”; And: “… that a European day should be dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide of the Roma during World War II and that this day should be called the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.” 22 The Dark Unknown History Just days after the European Parliament passed the preliminary resolution, an international seminar took place in Stockholm organised by the ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues with the Living History Forum and the Swedish Equality Ombudsman. More than sixty civil society and state authority representatives discussed how teaching about the Roma and Sinti genocide might promote tolerance and non-discrimination. Mirjam Karoly spoke out again, opening the conference: “We have to address how state authorities and public institutions deal with the past, as well as promote reconciliation to bring justice to the victims and following generations.” 49 HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN PEDAGOGY, HISTORY, AND PRACTICE Thomas Hammarberg, chair of the Swedish Commission against Anti-Gypsyism, gave a particularly impressive presentation about events leading to the publication of the Swedish government’s White Paper on Abuses and Rights Violations Against Roma in the 20th Century, published in 2014 under the title The Dark Unknown History. It is a 300-page review, mostly based on government documents. Hammarberg said: “Most people don’t know that Sweden was one of the sources of the theories of race biology. And it is also not known how Roma were moved around and in this way were denied the opportunity to be 22 The provisional text of the resolution was published Wednesday, 15 April 2015, Brussels: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P8-TA-2015-0095&language=EN&ring=B8-2015-0326

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