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Dr. Justyna Matkowska

Fred and Maria Devinki Memorial Fellow
"Roma and Sinti Resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau"

Professional Background

Dr. Justyna Matkowska received her PhD from the University of Wroclaw (Poland), as well as her EMBA degree from Warsaw Management University (Poland). She further holds an MA and BA in Literary Studies from the University of Wroclaw. In addition, Dr. Matkowska graduated from the Postgraduate Romani Studies Program at the Pedagogical University of Cracow (Poland).

Dr. Matkowska’s current research explores issues of race and ethnicity, identity, representation, literature, cultural memory, Roma and Sinti resistance, and genocide. She has an extensive background in several disciplines, and has published numerous works on social and cultural anthropology, literature, and Romani Studies. Moreover, she has research and teaching experience on several topics, including Cultural studies, Anthropology, and Literary studies. Dr. Matkowska successfully presented undergraduate students lectures at the University of Wrocław, as well as Hawaii Pacific University (United States). She is further the recipient of numerous research grants, such as a research fellowship at the Romani Studies Program at Central European University (Hungary).

In her professional life, Dr. Matkowska worked as Plenipotentiary of the Governor of Lower Silesia in Poland for the National and Ethnic Minorities from 2016 to 2018. She also worked as Research Assistant for the project "Re-Thinking Roma Resistance" at the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (Germany). As a Roma activist, she was honored to co-conduct (with her sister Magdalena) official ceremonies commemorating the Second World War Roma and Sinti victims in the Treblinka (2014) and Kulmhof (2016) former Nazi extermination camps.

Fellowship Research

Dr. Matkowska was awarded a 2021-2022 Fred and Maria Devinki Memorial Fellowship for her research project, "Roma and Sinti Resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau." Her research aims to reconstruct and deepen the study of the resistance of Roma and Sinti in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp during the Second World War. During the fellowship, Dr. Matkowska will research Roma and Sinti resistance acts and events that took place in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau and rectify a history of the Roma and Sinti Genocide in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dr. Matkowska's project aims to establish evidence of the Roma and Sinti resistance actions in the camp, as well as present the fate of those Romani prisoners who resisted against Nazi oppression. The study will answer several questions about the resistance acts in Auschwitz-Birkenau, including the uprising on May 16, 1944, and present unknown facts about the Roma and Sinti Genocide during World War II.

Residency Period: September 1, 2021, through April 30, 2022