The Romani Genocide and its Aftermath: The Uses of the Past

The Romani Genocide and its Aftermath: The Uses of the Past

University of Liverpool (AHRC Research Network on Legacies of the Romani Genocide in Europe since 1945) / Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London
United Kingdom
Vom - Bis
06.11.2019 - 07.11.2019
Celia Donert

This workshop explores the ways in which historical narratives have been employed to communicate and commemorate the history and legacies of the Romani genocide to a variety of audiences. We particularly invite contributions that look beyond academic histories to include community or family history, oral history, public history, presentations of the history in educational settings, digital and spatial histories, and the arts and visual media. By exploring how knowledge about the persecution and genocide of Roma is produced and circulated, we also wish to ask how understandings of this history shape contemporary debates about the political and legal status of European Roma. Thus this workshop seeks to contribute to discussions among historians, educators, and activists about the uses of history in campaigns to raise awareness of anti-Gypsyism in Europe today.

We invite participants to reflect on their experience of representing the history and legacies of the Romani genocide as scholars, teachers, campaigners, or artists. Transnational and comparative perspectives are particularly welcome, as are contributions that focus on the connections between local, community, or family stories and broader national or international histories.

Themes might include: co-production of historical or artistic representations of Romani history with communities and families; the entanglement of historical narratives and human rights claims; connections between constructions of the past and ‘anti-Gypsyism’ in the present; the public uses of history for the purposes of commemoration and memorialisation of the Romani genocide; the teaching of the Romani genocide; the use of digital and spatial histories for research and teaching, and the methodological, pedagogical, and ethical challenges and responsibilities associated with these approaches.


This is the final event organised by the AHRC Research Network on the Legacies of the Romani Genocide in Europe since 1945. 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 genocide are now partially understood, the consequences of mass killing, ghettoization, sterilization and slave labour for first, second- and third-generation survivors are still relatively unknown. The network was set up in 2017 to explore those legacies. Previous events have explored sources and methodologies in postwar Romani history (Liverpool, July 2017), families as transmitters of experience and memory (Prague, September 2017), and transnational and comparative perspectives on the Romani Genocide (Paris, 2018). One of the premises of the network project is that 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 allows us to focus on the ways in which that cycle of discrimination can be broken by communicating the genocide history to wider publics.



Celia Donert

University of Liverpool