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The Nazi Genocide of the Roma

The Nazi Genocide of the Roma: Reassessment and Commemoration

Edited by Anton Weiss-Wendt
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 282
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  • Book Info
    The Nazi Genocide of the Roma
    Book Description:

    Using the framework of genocide, this volume analyzes the patterns of persecution of the Roma in Nazi-dominated Europe. Detailed case studies of France, Austria, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, and Russia generate a critical mass of evidence that indicates criminal intent on the part of the Nazi regime to destroy the Roma as a distinct group. Other chapters examine the failure of the West German State to deliver justice, the Romani collective memory of the genocide, and the current political and historical debates. As this revealing volume shows, however inconsistent or geographically limited, over time, the mass murder acquired a systematic character and came to include ever larger segments of the Romani population regardless of the social status of individual members of the community.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-843-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)
    Anton Weiss-Wendt

    This volume uses the framework of genocide to analyze the patterns of persecution of the Roma in Nazi-dominated Europe. The new archival evidence presented in this anthology confirms the earlier findings that placed the victimization of the Roma within the definition of genocide. Without departing from the actual wording of the UN Genocide Convention, the contemporary legal practice in establishing criminal intent suggests a common design that rendered the comprehensive destruction of the Roma communities unequivocally genocidal. Naturally, the extent and means of persecution varied from country to country and the differences sometimes overruled commonalities. The context in which the...

  5. Chapter 1 Assimilation and Persecution: An Overview of Attitudes Toward Gypsies In France
    (pp. 27-43)
    Shannon L. Fogg

    During World War II, Gypsies in France faced identification, restrictions, arrests, internment, and death. Repressive laws and anti-Gypsy measures were nothing new for those who circulated within the country’s borders when the war broke out in 1939, however. Gypsies in France had faced discrimination and marginalization since medieval times, with the first French law aimed specifically at the mobile population appearing in 1539.¹ A wave of anti-Gypsy legislation sparked by republican values, war, and French assimilationist tendencies had affected Gypsies throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. World War II brought yet another set of circumstances and restrictive measures....

  6. Chapter 2 Genocidal Trajectory: Persecution of Gypsies in Austria, 1938–1945
    (pp. 44-71)
    Florian Freund

    During the first decades of the nineteenth century Gypsies were scarcely a priority for the authorities in the Austrian Lands.¹ The emergence of the modern nation-state and the parallel development of the legal system and the modern police force had created a legal groundwork conducive to the persecution of Gypsies in the years 1850 to 1938. This groundwork included passport matters and social rights and, needless to say, did not take Gypsies into account. Furthermore, state and local authorities almost never made distinctions between beggars, vagabonds, and Gypsies. The Vagabond Law (Landstreichereigesetz) enacted on 10 May 1873—coincidentally, just one...

  7. Chapter 3 Ustaša Mass Violence Against Gypsies in Croatia, 1941–1942
    (pp. 72-95)
    Alexander Korb

    It has become commonplace among scholars of the Ustaša regime to mention the persecution of the Gypsies. Despite that, the mass killings of Gypsies carried out by the regime during World War II remain largely understudied. This has in part to do with the dominant scholarly focus, especially in the Yugoslav historiography, on the anti-Serb policies of the Ustaša. While the Holocaust has received more attention in Croatia in recent years, this does not apply to the mass murder of the Gypsies. Due to limited availability of documentary sources, only basic facts have been established so far, with the decision-making...

  8. Chapter 4 Ethnic Cleansing or “Crime Prevention”? Deportation of Romanian Roma
    (pp. 96-119)
    Vladimir Solonari

    Deportation of Romanian Roma to Transnistria has only recently become a subject of academic research, pioneered by two Romanian historians, Dumitru Şandru and Viorel Achim.¹ The issue of deportation is sometimes included in the monographs that deal with the persecution of Jews by the Romanian authorities during World War II.² Among the recently published collections of primary sources, one edited by Achim is especially well executed.³

    The authors mentioned above hold similar views on the origins of the Romanian anti-Roma policy, its aims and scope, as well as on the reactions of the Romanian population to that policy. These views...

  9. Chapter 5 Nazi Occupation Policies and the Mass Murder of the Roma in Ukraine
    (pp. 120-152)
    Mikhail Tyaglyy

    After seventy years since the end of World War II the fate of the Romani population in Nazi-occupied Ukraine still remains a blank spot.¹ At the discursive level, scholars have been debating whether the Nazi mass murder of the Roma amounted to genocide. Specifically, historians have posed the question if the mass murder was premeditated and if it involved the administration at all levels.

    In the case of the occupied Soviet territories, this debate is complicated by the fact that the guiding principles used by the Nazis in their treatment of the Roma differed markedly from those applied in Germany...

  10. Chapter 6 The Nazi Persecution of Roma in Northwestern Russia: The Operational Area of the Army Group North, 1941–1944
    (pp. 153-180)
    Martin Holler

    The Nazi destruction of Roma in Eastern Europe remains one of the most neglected aspects of the historiography of the German occupation policies during World War II. At the same time, the Soviet case study plays a key role in establishing genocidal intent in the Nazi persecution of Roma insofar that the German attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 marked the transition toward systematic mass murder. This chapter examines the genesis and extent of the persecution of Roma in the northwestern part of Russia, which belonged to the operational area of the Army Group North (Heeresgruppe Nord)...

  11. Chapter 7 The Justice System of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies
    (pp. 181-204)
    Gilad Margalit

    One of the long unresolved issues of the Holocaust has been the recognition of Gypsies as victims of Nazi racial persecution, a step necessary to make them eligible for compensation. This chapter analyzes the judicial inquiries into this matter held in the Federal Republic of Germany from the late 1940s through the mid-1960s.¹ I argue that a perpetuation of prewar racial biases compromised the findings in the Gypsy case and led to the exoneration of “racial scientists” such as Robert Ritter, whose activities were instrumental in the persecution of Gypsies. I conclude, moreover, that the attitude of the judicial system...

  12. Chapter 8 Disentangling the Hierarchy of Victimhood: Commemorating Sinti and Roma and Jews in Germany’s National Narrative
    (pp. 205-228)
    Nadine Blumer

    In Germany, a country that has experienced “commemoration saturation” or “an inflation of memory,” the Roma genocide can be more accurately described in terms of aLücke der Erinnerung—a gap of remembrance in the national historical narrative of persecution.¹ Official recognition of the Nazi genocide of Sinti and Roma—the standard term used in Germany—in 1982 did not quell public and political debates regarding the legitimacy of comparing the Nazi persecution of Roma with that of Jews. These debates were rooted in a long-standing controversy regarding the so-called singularity thesis, according to which the Jewish Holocaust occupied a...

  13. Chapter 9 The a Ftermath of the Roma Genocide: From Implicit Memories to Commemoration
    (pp. 229-251)
    Stawomir Kapralski

    This chapter assesses the impact of the Nazi persecution of the Roma on Romani identities in postwar Europe. My argument builds on a critical assessment of Lech Mróz’s conception of Romani “non-memory that does not mean forgetting” and Michael Stewart’s idea that the Roma remember through implicit memories “embedded in dealings with others” but do not commemorate the past. I argue that the issue of memory largely depends (1) on the diversified nature of persecution that particular groups suffered from; (2) on the changing dynamics of perceptions influenced by the development of the Holocaust discourse and transformation of the past...

  14. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 252-259)
  15. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 260-262)
  16. Index
    (pp. 263-272)