"Romania Roma and the Holocaust: Collective Memory, Resistance, and Recognition"
Michelle Kelso received an M.A. in Russian and East European studies and a Master’s in public affairs from the University of Texas, and a B.A. in French from the University of Iowa. During her fellowship at the Museum Ms. Kelso was a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan. For her Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship, Ms. Kelso conducted research for her project “Romanian Roma and the Holocaust: Collective Memory, Resistance, and Recognition.”
Ms. Kelso is the author of “Gypsy Deportations from Romania to Transnistria: 1942-44” in Donald Kenrick, ed., In the Shadow of the Swastika: The Gypsies during the Second World War (University of Hertfordshire Press, 1999) and the producer and director of the documentary Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies During WWII (2005). She is also the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including two Fulbright Scholarships, a National Security Education Program Fellowship, and a CUNY Fellowship for Studies on Southeastern Europe. Ms. Kelso is fluent in Romanian and French.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Kelso researched how Roma of varied ages and circumstance coped with their forced incarceration at camps in Transnistria. She showed that the Roma prisoners resisted their incarceration, both by active and passive means. Her project revealed the fate of this victim group during the Holocaust and how the collective memories of Roma survivors affect Romani identity. Also, by examining camps in Transnistria, which were run by Romanian authorities, Ms. Kelso’s study has contributed to the understanding of camps that were not under Nazi control. She utilized the Museum’s secondary sources and archival collections to complete her research, primarily documents from the Romanian National Archives, the Nikolaev and Odessa State Oblast Archives, and the Romanian Information Service.
Ms. Kelso was in residence at the Mandel Center from April 1 to December 30, 2009.