September 21, 2000
SYMPOSIUM AT UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM EXAMINES THE PERSECUTION OF ROMA AND SINTI IN NAZI-DOMINATED EUROPE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Adolf Hitler’s attempt to create a racially pure state included persecution of the Roma and Sinti communities, commonly referred to as “Gypsies.” Their fate under Nazism has received relatively little scholarly attention. On Thursday, September 21, the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (CAHS) of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will host a one-day symposium, “Roma and Sinti: Under-Studied Victims of Nazism.” The symposium is free and open to the public.
“Under Nazism, longstanding European prejudices and discrimination toward Roma and Sinti were carried to the extreme. Roma and Sinti were considered a threat to ‘Aryan purity’,” states Paul Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “The persecution of ‘Gypsies’ was pursued internationally and not in Germany alone, but the Nazis’ and their collaborators’ ability, enthusiasm and brutality in targeting Roma and Sinti victims varied. The human suffering inflicted - including death itself - testifies to the unspeakable tragedy of those times.” The Center’s symposium will explore the history of Roma and Sinti persecution, how Nazi policies were implemented in Eastern and Western Europe, the human cost, and the future of Roma and Sinti studies.
The symposium will feature twelve international scholars whose research, analysis and insights have increased understanding of Nazi persecution of Roma and Sinti. The schedule is as follows:
10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Session I: Opening Remarks
Welcoming Remarks - Paul Shapiro, Director, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Roma and Sinti History and Culture - Ian Hancock, Professor, University of Texas, Austin; Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Session II: Persecution in the Third Reich
Nazi Racial Policy and the Roma and Sinti - Wolfgang Wippermann, Professor, Friedrich Meinecke Institut für Neuere Geschichte der FU, Berlin
Nazi Persecution of the Roma and Sinti in the Third Reich - Michael Zimmerman, Lecturer, Ruhruniversität Bochum
Gypsies in Nazi Concentration Camps - Gunter Lewy, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
History of Prejudice Against Roma and Sinti in European Popular Culture - John Brown, Ph.D. candidate, University College London
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Break
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Session III: Persecution in the Axis and Occupied Countries
Roma Persecution in Romania - Radu Ioanid, Associate Director, International Programs Division, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Roma Persecution in Croatia - Mark Biondich, Lecturer, University of Toronto
Roma Persecution in France and Belgium - Denis Peschanski, Professor, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Session IV: Closing Presentations
Romanian Memory of Roma Persecution - Viorel Achim, Charles H. Revson Fellow, CAHS (Nicolae Iorga Institute of History, Bucharest)
Current Trends and Needs in Research: Problems and Possibilities - David Crowe, Professor, Elon College, and Ian Hancock
Closing Remarks - Raul Hilberg, Professor Emeritus, University of Vermont; Member, Academic Committee, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies promotes the development of the field of Holocaust studies through research, fellowship programs, publications, and conferences. The Center is also linked with colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions of higher education through activities that foster quality teaching about the Holocaust at American colleges and universities.