France

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

In 1954, France established the last Sunday of April as a day to commemorate the victims of National Socialism. The official ceremony, which begins at the Shoah Memorial (Mémorial de la Shoah), commemorates all deportations during World War II, including those of Roma and homosexuals.France officially commemorates the Jewish victims of the Holocaust on the Sunday closest to 16 July. The memorial day is called the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Racist and Anti-Semitic Crimes of the So-Called “Government of the French State”, and in Homage to the Righteous among the Nations from France (Journée nationale à la mémoire des victimes des crimes racistes et antisémites de l’État français et d’hommage aux Justes de France). The day commemorates the rounding up of Jews in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a former cycle track in Paris, on 16 and 17 July 1942 – the biggest round-up of Jews that took place on French territory during World War II. The day was officially introduced by President François Mitterrand on 3 February 1993. In addition to these official events, the Holocaust is commemorated on numerous other occasions related to historical events, such as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising commemorated during Yom HaShoah. Remembrance activities also take place around 27 January, the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

In 1997, for the first time, the French President, Jacques Chirac, made a reference to Roma victims of the Nazi persecution during a remembrance ceremony dedicated to victims of deportation.

In October 2010, a law proposal, Proposition de loi n°273, was presented in front of the National Assembly stating the official recognition of the Genocide of the Roma and setting the official commemoration of this genocide on 5 April.

1.2 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

As early as 1940, French “Nomads” were forbidden to circulate so as to prevent them from becoming enemy agents or disturbing the troops’ advance. Most of the time, they were under house arrest first, and then sent to German camps.

France is the only Western country where the “Auschwitz Erlass” of 16 December 1942 – which ordered the deportation of “Gypsies” to Auschwitz – was not implemented. French “Gypsies” who were registered in Auschwitz had been arrested in the North of France which was under Belgian command in the fall 1943 and were deported on 15 January 1944 to Auschwitz by Transport Z. They were 351 according to D. Peschanski. Yet although French “Gypsies” were not deported, they were detained in internment camps, created under German authorities’ initiative, but administered by French authorities.

Under the Vichy Regime, 30 camps, including those of Salieri, Rivesaltes, Barcarès, Argelès-sur-Mer and Lannemezan opened to detain between 3000 (according to D. Peschanski) and 6000 (according to E. Filhol) French “Gypsies”. Living conditions there were similar to those in concentration camps: a lot died from disease, hunger or wounds… These camps lasted until May 1946, almost two years after the liberation. At the time, the French authorities justified itself by stating that they wanted to make a census and to control the identity of the French Gypsies.

Internment camps and commemorative plaques:

Les Alliers (Charente): no memorial stone.

Arc et Senans (Doubs): Inscription reading “To remind non-Gypsies that here, at the Royal Salt Works of Arc-et-Senans, from 1 September 1941 to 11 September 1943, some 200 Roma were mustered by whole families then interned by the Vichy Government and the Feldkommandantur.” (inaugurated on 9 April 1999).

Barento (Manche): “11 April 1941 - 8 October 1942. Here the Nazi invader abetted by the French authorities had interned Roma. Men, women, children and old people suffered. Let us remember so that nothing like it may happen tomorrow!” (inauguration on 11 October 2008).

Montreuil-Bellay (Maine et Loire): “This was the site of the Montreuil-Bellay internment camp. From November 1941 to January 1945, several thousand Roma men, women and children suffered here as victims of arbitrary detention.” (inaugurated on 16 January 1988).

Boussais (Deux Sèvres): no memorial stone.

Choisel Chateaubriant (Loire Atlantique): “Here was the camp of Choisel. From July 1940 to January 1941, it held 10,000 French soldiers, prisoners of war, assembled before departure for the Stalags. March 1941: internment camp for resistance fighters. Departures from here include: 22 October 1941, the 27 patriots shot at La Sablière (Chateaubriant); 15 December 1941, the 9 patriots shot at La Blisière (Juigne), and several hundred others transferred to Germany to the extermination camps whence so few were to return.”

Coray (Finistère): no memorial stone.

Coudrecieux (Sarthe): no memorial stone.

Grez en Bouère (Mayenne): no memorial stone.

Jargeau (Loiret): “No violence has ever added to human grandeur (words of Jean Guehenno). Here 1,700 people were deprived of liberty from 1939 to 1945, including Roma, resistance fighters, objectors and outcasts.” (inaugurated on 7 December 1991).

Laval (Mayenne): “Lest we forget the Roma men, women and children who were victims of arbitrary detention from November 1940 to February 1942 in the internment camps of Grez en Bouère and Montsûrs.” (inaugurated on 18 July 1993).

Louvier (Eure): no memorial stone.

Mérignac (Gironde): “Mérignac Beaudésert internment camp. 1941-1944. Over twelve hundred Resistance members, political internees, Jews and evaders of forced labour stayed in this camp before being sent to Drancy and the death camps or the camp at Souge for execution as hostages. (stone inaugurated on 24 December 1985).

Moisdon la Rivière (Loire Atlantique): no memorial stone.

Moloy (Côte d’Or): memorial stone in position since 2005.

Monsireigne (Vendée): no memorial stone.

Linas-Montlhéry (Seine and Oise): memorial stone in position since 2004: “VICTIMS OF THEIR INDIFFERENCE, 201 TRAVELLERS AND ITINERANTS rounded up by the Nazis in Normandy were interned in the motor racing stadium from November 1940 to April 1942. Internees of Belgian nationality who returned to Belgium were subjected to the extermination plan, departing from Mechelen by train Z on 15 January 1944 TO AUSCHWITZ”.

Montsûrs (Mayenne): no memorial stone.

La Morellerie (Indre et Loire): the monument of La Morellerie, municipality of Avrillé-les-Ponceaux, was inaugurated on 14 January 2008.

File prepared on the initiative of Vincent Audren, text by Jacques Sigot. “Here in this camp named La Morellerie, Roma were interned from 6 December 1940 to 8 November 1941, and Communists from 1 July to 17 November 1941, before being transferred to other camps in the region. Passer-by, think of your freedom, the freedom which they were denied.”

Mulsanne (Sarthe): no memorial stone.

Peigney (Haute Marne): no memorial stone.

Plénée Jugon (Côtes du Nord): no memorial stone.

Poitiers (Vienne): “On this spot was the internment camp by the Road to Limoges. From December 1940 until the Liberation on 5 September 1944, several thousand Jewish and Roma men, women and children, and resistance fighters, were crowded under inhuman conditions before deportation to Nazi concentration and extermination camps.” (inaugurated on 4 September 1985). A second stone laid on 16 July 1994 bears a supplement to the foregoing text: “The French Republic pays tribute to the victims of the racist and anti-Semitic persecution and of the crimes against Humanity committed under the de facto authority called the Government of the French State (1940-1944). May we never forget.”

Pontivy (Morbihan): no memorial stone.

Rennes (Ile et Vilaine): no memorial stone.

Saint-Maurice aux Riches Hommes (Yonne): no memorial stone.

Argelès sur Mer (Pyrénées Orientales): the second part of the text gives the names of sixty-nine persons. “To the dead of Argelès camp. Here lie…” (placed in 1956).

Le Barcarès (Pyrénées Orientales): no memorial stone.

Lannemezan (Hautes Pyrénées): no memorial stone.

Rivesaltes (Pyrénées Orientales): “Thousands of foreign Jews who had taken refuge in France were arrested and interned in 1940 in Rivesaltes Camp in the unoccupied zone. From August to October 1942, over 2,250 of them including 110 children were handed over to the Nazis in the occupied zone by the de facto authority called the Government of the French State. Deported to Auschwitz, nearly all were murdered there for being Jews. May we never forget these victims of racial and xenophobic hatred.” (inaugurated on 16 January 1944).

Saliers (Bouches du Rhône): memorial stone in position since February 2006. The memorial will honour the 677 or so Roma interned in this camp between 1942 and 1944. The stone represents two half-open doorways in which three silhouettes stand out, by the Arles sculptor Jean Claude Guerri. The commemorative plaque bears this legend: “Gypsy Camp of Saliers, June 1942 – August 1944. Here under the sway of the Vichy Regime 700 Travellers were interned.”

Source: Emmanuel Filhol, “Des non lieux de mémoire, ou presque, pour les tsiganes”, Revue d’histoire de la Shoah, Paris, no. 181, July-December 2004, pp. 232-234. This article is of great interest because it analyses collective memory from the commemorative plaques (or their absence), the process of their installation, the scrutiny of their content, and the reactions of the municipalities and the local press. Information dating from after 2002 was added by Marie Christine Hubert.

 

Facts and figures. Chronology:

15th century: certified presence of Roma en France.

Late 19th century: arrival of Roma fleeing from slavery in Romania and swelling the number of persons of no fixed abode on the highways of France.

1895: Official census of over 400,000 persons of no fixed abode, 25,000 living in caravans.

1907-1912: making of laws to identify persons of no fixed abode and track their movements.

16 July 1912: Law on the pursuit of itinerant occupations and regulation of the movement of travellers. Distinction drawn between hawkers, itinerants and Travellers. The term “Nomades” (Travellers), to the French authorities, henceforth covered all Roma.This was an administrative category. Any person over 13 years of age had to hold a card with anthropometric particulars, bearing his or her civil status, two photographs (front-on and side-on), fingerprints and details of physical characteristics. The card must be stamped on arrival and departure by all municipalities where a Traveller stayed. The head of family was requited in addition to hold a family card containing full particulars of the civil status of the persons travelling with him. Vehicles also had a special registration plate. Recording was carried out at the “Préfecture” and the Ministry of the Interior.

During the war:

About a quarter of the Roma population of France underwent administrative internment, others were placed in restricted residence. No overall racial deportation of Roma, but more than 200 French Roma were murdered in Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau.

22 October 1939: A military decree forbade them to travel in the 8 “départements” of western France and to set up encampments in the Indre and Loire, and the Maine and Loire “départements”. Internment of Roma and Travellers was justified by the “Law on the State of Siege”, and the Article of 9 August 1849 had already been used during World War I.

6 April 1940: A Decree of the President of the Republic prohibited, in mainland France, movements of Travellers holding the anthropometric booklet for the duration of the war, and they were subjected to compulsory residence with the official aim of preventing espionage but also to settle them. Listing by the Gendarmerie of Travellers having the special card, after which the “Préfet” asked them not to move away but allowed them a certain margin of freedom to seek work, since no budget was provided for persons under residence restrictions. The invasion by the Nazi troops in May 1940 averted the extension of this Decree to the whole country. Some “départements” issued it subsequently. In Alsace-Lorraine, expulsion to the unoccupied zone where the Vichy Government restricted their residence or interned them in camps set up for the Spanish Republicans. The fate of the Roma hinged on the indulgence of the Préfets.

From October 1940 to August 1944, some 1,400 Travellers were interned in two camps in the unoccupied zone, on the decision of Vichy. The German invasion of this zone in November 1942 had no influence whatsoever on their fate.

4 October 1940: The German High Command ordered the transfer of the “Zigeuner” (Roma) to the occupied zone under French police surveillance. The organisation of this operation was entrusted to the French authorities with some German instructions not to break up families, to school the children, etc.

As from mid-October of that year, the “Feldkommandantur” gave the “Préfets” instructions specifying who was concerned, viz. any person of French or foreign nationality having no fixed abode or travelling in the Roma manner, whether or not in possession of a personal identity card or an anthropometric booklet. The German criteria were at once racial and social. Internment of Roma was a German initiative carried out by the French authorities.

At the end of October 1941, 400 Travellers were already interned in six camps in the occupied zone. The process speeded up after publication of the German Decree of 22 November 1940, prohibiting itinerant trades in 21 départements of western France. At the same time, Roma were expelled from the coastal regions. The number of interned itinerants increased, which necessitated the opening of further camps.

At the end of December 1940, some 1,700 Travellers and itinerant dealers were interned in ten camps.

At the end of 1941, some 3 200 travellers and itinerant dealers were interned in 15 camps.

November 1941: Reorganisation of the camps on a regional basis to make savings, as in Germany and Austria.

In January 1943, some 2,200 Travellers were interned in 8 camps. Itinerant dealers (“forains”) were released.

After the war:

Transfers between camps continued even after the Liberation. Not until December 1945 were the camps of Jargeau and Saint-Maurice closed and the Roma finally released. Their retention in camps was regarded by the French Government as a stage towards making them adopt a settled lifestyle. Only after the promulgation of the Law of 10 May 1946, the statutory date for the end of hostilities, and the repeal of the Decree of 6 April 1940, did the authorities at last consent to free the Roma. The last internment camp for Travellers, Alliers, closed its gates on 1 June 1946. Up to 1992, it was estimated that 30,000 Roma had been interned. A camp-by-camp study based on records, which avoided recurrent counting of the same person registered in several camps following transfers, ventures the figure of 4,600 internees in the occupied zone and 1,400 in the unoccupied zone, i.e; about 6,000 internees. A bracket of 6,000-6,500 internees in 30 camps is suggested, corresponding to more than a quarter of the Roma population in France in 1939.

Cases of deportation from French internment camps:
The Nazis never ordered the deportation of the French Roma to Auschwitz in order to exterminate them. Some Roma interned in France were nonetheless deported to camps at Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz. 13 January 1943: 70 men (aged 16-60) from the Limoges Road Camp at Poitiers were sent to Germany to work but were actually sent to concentration camps, not factories. In the summer of 1943, 40 Belgian and French Roma were released from Montreuil Bellay and placed in restricted residence but returned to their home region where they were rounded up by the Germans in the autumn of 1943 then interned at Mechelen in Belgium prior to deportation to Auschwitz (train Z of 15 January 1944). In the train were 144 French Roma. This deportation occurred following the “Auschwitz Decree” of 16 December 1942, according to which all the Roma of the wider Reich were to be deported to Auschwitz.

Source : Factsheet 5.3 Roma History, Holocaust, “Internment in France 1940-1946”, by  Marie Christine Hubert, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 2008, pp. 1-7.

The anthropometric identity booklet was to be maintained for almost sixty years, up to January 1969. After the Liberation, the civil servants of the Republic were to take inspiration from it, further accentuating repressive visibility in an official way. In the 1960s, an entry “Race” followed by the reply “Gypsy” was made on record cards of the Préfecture administration filed with the personal data sheets of travellers.

Source: Emmanuel Filhol, “Des non lieux de mémoire, ou presque, pour les Tsiganes”, Revue d’histoire de la Shoah, Paris, no. 181, July-December 2004, pp. 256-260.

1.3 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

Documentation centres:

Paris
Le centre de documentation Fnasat-Gens du Voyage / Etudes Tsiganes
(Documentation centre Fnasat-Travellers / Roma Studies)
Address: 59 rue de l'Ourcq, 75019 Paris
Tel.: 01 40 35 12 17
E-mail: documentation@fnasat.asso.fr

Lyon
Centre de documentation de l'ARTAG (Documentation centre ARTAG)
Address: 15 chemin Auguste Renoir, 69120 Vaulx-en Velin
Tel.: 04 78 79 60 80
E-mail: artag@wanadoo.fr

Nancy
Centre de Documentation Amitiés Tsiganes (Documentation centre Roma Friendship)
Address: Centre Commercial les Tamaris, 54100 Nancy
Tel.: 03 83 98 00 69
E-mails: amitiestsiganes-54@wanadoo.fr or centredoc.labouteley-amitiestsiganes54@wanadoo.fr

Poitiers
ADAPGV
Association Départementale pour l'Accueil et la Promotion des Gens du Voyage
(Association for the reception and advancement of Travellers)
Address: 4 rue des Sablonnières, Appart. 642, 86000 Poitiers
Tel.: 05 49 01 09 60
Fax: 05 49 52 40 46
E-mail: accueil@adapgv-csc86.org
Homepage: http://adapgv-csc86.org

Tarbes
SAGV 65 - Solidarité avec les Gens du Voyage
(Solidarity with the Travellers)
Address: BP 846, 65008 Tarbes Cedex
Tel.: 05 62 36 76 44
Fax: 05 62 36 70 10
E-mail: sagv65@wanadoo.fr
Homepage: http://www.sagv65.com

Toulouse
Le centre de documentation du C.C.P.S.
(Documentation centre of the C.C.P.S.)
Address: 44 chemin des Izards, 31200 Toulouse
Tel.: 05 62 72 48 50
Fax: 05 62 72 48 52
E-mail: secretariat@ccpst.org

1.4 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

The Memorial of Caen dedicates a part of its exhibition on World War II - Genocides and mass violence to the Fate of the Gypsies.

La Coupole - History Center and 3D Planetarium has set up a mobile exhibition on the deportation of "Gypsies"in the North of France to Auschwitz by Transport Z.

In 2007, the Centre of History of Resistance and Deportation in Lyon (CHRD) held a temporary exhibition on the "Gypsy People - silence and oblivion".

Many other centres of history of the Deportation in France give information on the Genocide of the Roma. To see a list of the Museums of Resistance and Deportation, click here.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

The Holocaust is part of the French school curriculum. In 2008, the Ministry of Education issued a official bulletin directed at all educational authorities and enforcing the teaching of the Shoah. Roma victims of the Genocide are included.

Yet, in the history teaching syllabi, Roma are referred to as “Tziganes” (“Gypsies”) and not “Roma”. The study of the extermination / Genocide of the Roma (and the Jews) is included in study of the Second World War. It is carried out at three levels of schooling:

Primary “extension course” (CM2): “extermination of the Jews and Roma: a crime against Humanity”. Junior secondary, new syllabus, “3e” class: “Theme 3: Second World War, a war of annihilation (…) This is the context in which the Genocide of Jews and Roma was perpetrated in Europe.”

Senior secondary, “1ère” class: Second World War, Genocide of the Jews and Roma – common strand of European history and memory – is a crucial element for understanding the nature of the conflict and its importance in contemporary history (…) the Nazi extermination policy focuses study on the Nazi universe and the systematic extermination of Jews and Roma.” This teaching is compulsory at all three levels.

In education:
Official Bulletin
Elementary and secondary education
NOR: MENE0800541
RLR : 514-5
OFFICIAL MEMORANDUM No. 2008-085 of the 3rd July 2008
MEN
DGESCO A – 1
DGESCO B2-3

Text directed at chief administrators of district educational authorities, the inspectors attached to them, directors of state education services in the “départements”, regional inspectors of education and inspectors responsible for primary education areas.

“The extermination of Europe’s Jews is written into the primary school syllabus. The new curricula applicable at the resumption of classes in 2008 confirm the obligation for the primary intermediate course to teach about the extermination of the Jews and Roma by the Nazis as a crime against Humanity. Concerned for the transmission of remembrance of these tragic events unique in the history of our continent, and for the necessary adjustment of instruction to pupils’ ages, the President of the Republic recently asked for remembrance of the child victims of the Shoah to be given prominence at school. The following recommendations are made on the basis of the proceedings of the working group headed by Ms Hélène Waysbord Loing, honorary inspector general, to whom the Minister of Education has tasked to examine the fulfilment, in educational terms, of the President’s request. Placed in its historical context, teaching of the Shoah has a civic purpose and meets a moral obligation. It is not only a matter of conveying a memory and elements of knowledge; besides, all pupils are to be given cultural grounding and food for thought that will equip them to reject all forms of racism and discrimination and to understand that, being contrary to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, they make democracy impossible.

Studying the Nazi extermination of Jews and Roma is intended to progressively instil exact knowledge of this major historical crime perpetrated in Europe, to put it back in the proper context of a racist ideology and a totalitarian political system. This study subsumes the worldwide awareness which, just after the Second World War, prompted the international agencies to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and create the concept of crime against Humanity whose non-limitation has been embodied in the national law of the democracies. This teaching is prescribed at three stages in the school syllabus: the extension phase of the intermediate primary school course (CM2), second year of junior secondary (3e), and the last two years of senior secondary (“première” and “terminale”). At each level, the approaches and procedures, and the documentation used, must be suited to the pupils’ age and degree of maturity.

Primary school study of the Shoah has to be sustained by the linkage of disciplines; it will be conducted chiefly in history lessons but may be backed by works of art or books in the context of historical, artistic or literary instruction. The goal at this level is to provide the first points of reference, chronological especially but also spatial since the European dimension of the crime and its organised nature must be portrayed. The pupils’ moral and civic education is also to be fostered by beginning to address the question of personal and collective responsibility, as well as that of resisting barbarism. Pupils will thus be guided to an incipient understanding of the concept of crime against Humanity and that of universal human rights.

Teachers have a free choice of teaching methods for tackling this education and there several possible approaches, often complementary. The topic of child victims is nevertheless a prime angle of approach at the aforementioned CM2 level; to start from a name, a face, a route, from the unique example of a family whose history is linked with nearby places – school, municipality, “département” – is an educational approach in keeping with children’s sensibilities. Working from an example, pupils grasp the systematic dehumanisation of the victims to the point of extermination: discrimination, arrests, internment camps, the trains, and then the extermination camps.

Using examples of children’s houses, children in hiding and people with the “Righteous among Nations” distinction, they will also approach the concepts of solidarity and universal values. These outstanding cases which have gone down in history will, thanks to their commemorative dimension, constitute the first instalment of a body of learning to be consolidated by history courses in junior then senior secondary school. Complementing the courses, the Day of Remembrance of Genocides and Prevention of Crimes against Humanity, instituted on 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Camp, will be a key moment of remembrance and reflection in schools.

To help teachers in this complex teaching that must simultaneously serve the need to preserve memory and to build the core of a historical culture, a handbook will be circulated to teachers of CM2 classes at the start of the next school year. An Internet portal will be created for their access, in addition, to a body of resources: the database on children deported from France, developed by the Shoah Memorial Foundation, bibliography, film compendium, list of sites and exemplary practice.

 

On behalf of the Minister for State Education
By delegation,
The Director General of School Education Jean Louis NEMBRINI

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

The Ministry bears responsibility for determining the national syllabi which establish for each level the aims and the essential knowledge which pupils are to acquire. To put the syllabi into practice, teachers choose what they consider the most suitable teaching approach. Among other resources, the textbook is an important aid to this. Publishers, in accordance with our tradition, have complete freedom and responsibility for designing and drafting the textbooks which they offer. The teaching teams in junior and senior secondary schools which, under the head teacher’s responsibility, make the choice of textbooks before proposing their adoption to the board of each school or to the council of teachers, where primary school is concerned, must have as their essential criteria conformity to the official national syllabi, scientific precision, and conscientious respect for opinions.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

The question of the Genocide of the Roma is only sketchily addressed in teachers’ basic training. For teachers generally, it is part and parcel of the duty of remembrance. For history teachers, the school syllabus recalls that the Second World War genocide not only affected the Jewish community, but notably the Roma too.
These teachers are accordingly trained in addressing the relevant issues, although it must be acknowledged that the main emphasis is placed on the Shoah.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

In secondary schools, projects that incorporate different areas of education are often offered to pupils. In addition, schools often organize a number of special events, including meetings with survivors, debates and exhibitions.

2.5 Remembrance day

French schools take part in special activities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. An annual bulletin encourages the educational community to get involved in commemoration days, in particular the Memorial Day on 27th January and the Day of the Resistance on 27th May.

No remembrance day is observed for the Genocide of the Roma in French schools.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

There is no responsible person in the Ministry of Education.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem - Minister of Education
Ministère de l’éducation nationale
110 rue de Grenelle
75357 Paris SP 07
Telephone: 01 55 55 10 10

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

Claire Auzias: cauzias@free.fr

Emmanuel Filhol. Université de Bordeaux I (Laboratoire Epistémé) (University of Bordeaux I –

Laboratory Epistémé) Homepage: http://www.episteme.u-bordeaux.fr/efilhol.htm E-mail: e.filhol@episteme.u-bordeaux1.fr

Marie Christine Hubert: mchubert1@yahoo.fr

Jean Pierre Liegeois: jean-pierre.liegeois@paris5.sorbonne.fr

Mathieu Pernot Homepage: http://www.mathieupernot.com

Denis Peschanski: denis.peschanski@univ-paris1.fr (Centre d'Histoire Sociale du XXe siècle, Directeur de recherche au CNRS). To see his resume, click here

Esmeralda Romanez: romanezesmeralda@yahoo.fr

Jacques Sigot: jacquesjenny.sigot@free.fr Homepages: http://jacques-sigot.blogspot.com,

4 Initiatives of the civil society

4.1 Relevant projects having a real impact on the people and/or the wide public

The Ministry of Education (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Frauen - BMBF) is in charge of the teaching of the Genocide of the Roma. They have set up a project called "Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust: Gedächtnis und Gegenwart" (National Socialism and Holocaust: Memory and Future) which integrates contemporary witnesses in the classroom. This programme is yet not compulsory but is one of the offerings of the the civil education in Austria. This project is led through the association Erinern.at, which is a network emanating from the BMBF. They have developed a pedagogical website dedicated to the Genocide of the Roma Das Schicksal der europäischen Roma und Sinti während des Holocaust (The fate of European Roma and Sinti), together with Anne Frank House (The Netherlands) and Mémorial de la Shoah (France). It is currently in English, German and French. It brought together professional historians, Roma and Sinti representatives and educators in order to develop a mutually accepted version of instruction and information materials for teachers, students and other interested persons concerning the largely forgotten fate of the European Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust.

The Belgian NGO Dignité Roms has developed a project called "Research on Roma deportations and Mass Killing Sites during World War II in Eastern Europe", in partnership with the French NGO Yahad In Unum. Since November of 2010, they have worked on collecting testimonies on the massacres that took place on the territories of the Former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia) by Nazi mobile units as well as the deportations to Transnistria from Romania and Moldova. They also work on the identification of mass execution sites. Village after village, family after family, by cross-referencing survivor testimonies with Romanian, German and Soviet archives, the project has identified 51 execution sites of Roma in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia and interviewed 30 witnesses to the massacres of the Roma in these countries. Five research trips in Romania and one trip in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has enabled the organisations to collect more than 150 testimonies on Roma survivors. To this day, they have collected more than 180 testimonies on the persecutions of Roma in Eastern Europe, including Romania, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies

Comité d’action pour la reconnaissance du genocide tzigane (Action Committee for the recognition of the Gypsy Genocide) was created in 2011 by Véronique Labbe, President of the association Amaro drom (Our road). Online petition for the recognition of the Genocide.

Letter from the association Amaro drom – notre route to the french President, in June 2014: au president de la république, Juin 2014.

Testimonies:
Emmanuel Filhol: “Questions de mémoire: deux témoignages sur l’internement des Tsiganes au camp d’Arc-et-Senans”, Etudes Tsiganes, volume 13, with the title “L’internement des lieux de mémoires, le colloque d’Arc et Senans”.

Raymond Gurême is a survivor of the French concentration camps for "Gypsies". The 90-year-old man continues to give his testimony in numerous events and venues, including at international institutions. To read (and to see) more about his testimony and experiences, click this interview or this article.

Several testimonies collected during the "Research on Roma deportations and Mass Killing Sites during World War II in Eastern Europe" can be watched on Yahad In Unum's website in the Fieldwork section, by selecting the country.