Sunday, January 1, 2012


International Conference

The Roma Between Past and Future.

Reflections upon genocide, recognition

and the resurgence of extremism and anti-Gypsyism


Amsterdam, 6 May 2012

Since a few years, Romani and Sinti minorities throughout Europe have been faced with the resurgence of extremism and nationalism. In countries as diverse as Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic, Romani citizens have been attacked by their fellow citizens, causing casualties and increased interethnic tensions. The governments of France, Italy, and Germany have sent Romani migrants with and without EU citizenship back to their countries of origin. Anti-Gypsyism and Romaphobic measures are on the rise again and have often gone together with ambivalent responses of the involved politicians and authorities. When, in 2010, Euro-commissioner Viviane Reding made an indirect reference to the Second World War, numerous critics stood up to blame her for making what they considered an impossible comparison between the current situation and Nazi deportations.

The conference The Roma between Past and Future reflects upon the comparison between the present-day situation and what happened in the 1930s and 1940s. Is such a comparison possible at all? Why and how could or should such a comparison be made to reflect upon the contemporary situation of Romani and Sinti minorities in Europe? Since 1945, various Romani and Sinti groups have been involved in a struggle to get the genocide of Sinti and Roma adequately recognized. How does this struggle, as well as the neglect of this genocide by society at large, relate to contemporary public debates on the Roma’s situation in Europe?

This conference aims at bringing Roma, Sinti, scholars, activists, advocates, politicians, and policy makers together to discuss these timely topics. Roma from Hungary, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic will present their analyses of the contemporary situation in their countries. A Sinto who has survived the war will share his experiences with the audience. Scholars will reflect upon the importance of taking into account the circumstances of the 1930s, as well as the post-war recognition struggle, for understanding the situation of Romani and Sinti minorities in contemporary Europe.

Preliminary Program
- Prof. Gerard Baumgartner (University of Graz): The process of exclusion and persecution of Roma and Sinti during the 1930s
- Interview with Zoni Weisz: The personal story of a Sinti survivor
- Dr. Gilad Margalit (Haifa University):
The lack of recognition of Roma suffering and losses

- Jarmila Balazová (Czech Republic), Ágnes Dároczí (Hungary) and Michelle Mila van Burik (Triana, The Netherlands) on the actual position of Roma and Sinti in their respective countries.
- Roundtable discussion
- Mr.Jeroen Schokkenbroek, Coordinator within the Council of Europe on Roma Affairs, closing statement

Moderator: Huub van Baar (Amsterdam University)
Language: The conference language is English.

Target group
First of all, the participants present at the conference: opinion leaders, students, politicians, Roma and Sinti, representatives of other Holocaust victim groups, officials responsible for Roma and Sinti policy. Altogether: 150.
Besides, we want to reach the public at large by an intensive media campaign.

Date and place
Sunday May 6 2012; 10.00 - 17.00 in the Eggert Hall of the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam

The International Gipsy Festival Tilburg in close cooperation with the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.



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