Episode 32. Petre Matei: Localizing the history of the ‘forgotten victims’: The Roma in Romania

In this week’s episode, Petre Matei (Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania) talks to Raul Cârstocea (Maynooth University) about the history of the Roma in Romania, from the late 19th century to the present. Petre Matei argues for a more nuanced history of the Roma, questioning dominant narratives of their persecution, deportation, and mass murder that tend to focus on the level of the state and/or of a monolithic Romanian nationalism by factoring in the local dimension, which in many cases was decisive in determining who was deported and who was not. He also emphasises the importance of seeing the Roma not exclusively as victims (of slavery, genocide, the Holocaust), but also as active agents partly shaping their own history – if not in circumstances of their own making. The discussion concludes by considering the educational potential of initiatives that examine both the local dimension of the Holocaust – and point out that it did not happen ‘elsewhere’ – and instances of Roma political mobilisation and resistance, in Romania and beyond.

Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania: www.inshr-ew.ro/proiecte/

The Forgotten Genocide. The Fate of the Sinti and Roma: romasinti.eu/

Published by sgmhbasees

The BASEES Study Group for Minority History (SGMH) is a forum devoted to the study of minority groups in the national and regional histories of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European from the Napoleonic Wars to the contemporary past.

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