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Genocide of the Roma
An estimated 220,000 - 500,000 victims of Nazi persecution
“We, the IHRA Member Countries, remember the genocide of the Roma. We acknowledge with concern that the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today.”
— Article 4 of the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration
The IHRA's Committee on the Genocide of the Roma
Raising awareness of the genocide of the Roma, or Porajmos, is critical to countering antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination. The IHRA’s interdisciplinary Committee on the Genocide of the Roma works to sensitize IHRA stakeholders to the prejudice towards Roma and Sinti before, during and after the Second World War, as well as to demonstrate the link between the history of persecution and the present situation of Roma communities.
The Committee's efforts to advance education, remembrance, and research of this genocide are complemented by the practical tools it develops, like the working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination, that can help in identifying incidents and manifestations of this form of racism, in collecting data, and in supporting the development of appropriate preventative countermeasures.
The current Chair of the IHRA’s Committee on the Genocide of the Roma is Alenka Janko Spreizer (Slovenia).
Raising awareness of the Romani genocide through education
Supporting remembrance of Sinti and Roma victims and survivors
The IHRA helps memorial sites and museums develop adequate exhibits and spaces of remembrance and reflection. IHRA delegations have worked to establish a permanent exhibition on the genocide of the Hungarian Roma at Camp Komárom in Hungary, and were instrumental in the closing of an industrial pig farm on the site of a former concentration camp in Lety u Pisku in the Czech Republic.
Encouraging research on the genocide of the Roma
Emerging scholarship is helping to build more complete understanding of the persecution and genocide of European Sinti and Roma under Nazi rule, but many historical questions still remain unanswered and public awareness about the genocide remains insufficient. The IHRA’s support for research on the genocide of the Roma has taken many forms. The IHRA regularly funds research efforts of organizations around the world with IHRA Grants, published an annotated bibliography summarizing research on the topic, and organized the 50 Years of Roma Genocide Research conference.
Image: Participants in the seminar “Dikh he Na Bister” at the youth commemoration at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial in 2014. Courtesy of Ternype.
Working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination
This non-legally binding working definition, adopted in October 2020, serves as an important practical tool that can empower individuals, organizations and governments to raise awareness of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination in society.