This two-day, in-person symposium organised by The Wiener Holocaust Library and the University of Cambridge, taking place at the Library on the 10th-11th May 2023, will bring together early career researchers with senior academics to discuss new directions in the study of the Roma genocide.

Margarete Kraus, a Czech Roma who was sent to Auschwitz.
Wiener Holocaust Library Collections.

In recent years, scholars have turned their attention to the experiences of persecuted Romani individuals and families, producing research that seeks to restore the agency and the voices of Roma victims of genocide, and contest narratives of anonymous mass victimhood. This has included increased research on resistance, memory, and memorialisation, as well as an interest in the post war legacy of the Roma genocide and its links to the persistent discrimination against Roma and Sinti communities.

With a focus on Romani agency and Romani voices of the past, this symposium seeks to give a platform to new research on the Romani genocide that explores the methodological approaches of gender, microhistory, oral history, and family history. Increased research on gender has begun to illuminate the sexual violence and medical experimentation faced by Romani men and women. Microhistorical studies exploring local archives have emerged as a way to tackle the ‘silences’ on the Romani genocide in larger state archives. Similarly, oral history, with increased work on testimonies and ego-documents, and a focus on family history have been used to piece together Romani perceptions of their own persecution.

We invite postgraduates and early career researchers to submit papers for panels presentations. The conference aims to bring together academics from different national backgrounds, and scholars of Romani origin are especially encouraged to participate.

Some possible themes may include:

  • Gendered perspectives on persecution and how this was tied to ideas about race
  • Family history and ethical implications of its use
  • Working with testimonies and other ego-documents
  • Microhistories of the Roma genocide

The symposium will take place at The Wiener Holocaust Library’s premises in London, co-convened by Clara Dijkstra (Cambridge), Dr Barbara Warnock (The Wiener Library) and Dr Celia Donert (Cambridge). The Wiener Library is the oldest Holocaust archive in the world, and its holdings contain a collection on the Roma genocide including many survivor accounts. The library recently displayed an exhibit titled: ‘Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and Sinti’ (2019-2020).

We hope to be able to provide some funding to cover panellists’ travel costs to and from the conference.

Please send an abstract (250 words) to Clara Dijkstra ([email protected]) by the 31st of January. Please include the title of your paper and a short biography.