Students Staff

07 August 2013

Professor speaks at commemoration for Roma victims of Nazi holocaust

Professor Rainer Schulze from the Department of History has spoken at a commemoration event for Roma victims of Nazi genocide held in Hyde Park.

The event held at the Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial Stone was organised to mark 'Romani Night', when the 'Gypsy Family Camp' at Auschwitz-Birkenau was liquidated during the night of 2 to 3 August 1944.

Professor Schulze was asked to speak about the events of that night in 1944 and their relevance for today. His research work has tried to encourage better understanding of all the victims of Nazi genocide – including people from the Roma and Sinti communities - and foster remembrance for them. The Holocaust in History and Memory Volume Two edited by Professor Schulze focused on the Porrajmos – the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Romani people. This was also the theme of the events organised by Professor Schulze at the University of Essex to mark Holocaust Memorial Week in January 2010.

In his conclusion to his speech, Professor Schulze said: “The experience of the Roma people during the Nazi period has parallels with that of the Jewish people. Both were targeted on the grounds of their race and had previously suffered centuries of discrimination. However, Roma have continued to suffer discrimination and outright persecution – anti-Romanism is on the rise all over Europe and has become acceptable again in many political circles, whereas antisemitism is much less acceptable today.

“This has a lot to do with the fact whether or not we remember the events of the past, and how we remember them. Remembering requires that the Roma tell their stories for all to hear – but it also requires that mainstream society is willing to listen to these stories, because otherwise these stories will remain unheard. Roma need to be vocal in telling their story – but the wider society needs to be willing to listen to voices that have all too often gone unheard in the past.”

Read Professor Schulze’s speech (Word document)

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