Sweden

1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

Sweden observes 27th January as Holocaust Memorial Day. Sweden observes 27th January as “Holocaust Memorial Day”. It commemorates all victims of the Holocaust, including Roma. The day has been marked in Sweden since 1999.

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

There is no accurate data on the Genocide of the Roma in Sweden.

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

The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority commissioned to work with issues related to tolerance, democracy and human rights, using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as its starting point.

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

The Living History Forum – a Swedish public authority that uses the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point to work on tolerance, democracy and human rights – has a specific mandate to promote and co-ordinate initiatives across Sweden related to Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January. Every year, a different theme for the commemorations is proposed. In 2014, the theme was dedicated to “The Romani People”. As part of the 2014 commemorations, the Living History Museum prepared an exhibition focusing on the Romani people during the Holocaust. On 27th January 2014, the exhibition was on display in Stockholm, as well as in the cities of Karlstad, Borås, Västerås, Luleå and Göteborg. In Stockholm, it was displayed in conjunction with the ceremony held on 27 January.

2nd August 2015: Ceremonies have been held in Stockholm and Gothenburg in memory of the Roma who were killed during the Holocaust. This is the first year that Roma Genocide Remembrance Day has been officially observed. The designation of the day of memory for the Roma victims of the Holocaust was established earlier this year in a resolution from the European Parliament. Even though this is the first time the day is being marked officially, it’s the seventh year a memorial ceremony has been held at Stockholm’s Raoul Wallenberg Square.

At the 2011 Holocaust Memorial Day, Roma community representatives spoke and performed traditional music in Stockholm’s Great Synagogue. On Roma Holocaust memorial Day of 2012, for the first time, representatives of the Swedish Jewish community took part in a memorial ceremony marking the anniversary of the “Night of the Gypsies”, or Zigeunernacht. The memorial ceremony took place on Raoul Wallenberg square in Stockholm.

In February 2011 Sweden took steps to document the maltreatment of Roma. Sweden announced plans for a report exploring the suffering the Roma endured in the country in the 20th century. This followed the recommendation last year by a government-appointed panel on issues related to Roma that a truth commission was needed in order to investigate the persecution this group has faced. In addition, the panel stated that an account of the history of the Roma was necessary. Roma have been in Sweden since the early 16th century, with around 50 000 living there today. Throughout history they have encountered discrimination but the white paper will concentrate primarily on their plight in the 1900s. It will use testimonies of Roma to record human rights abuses, including acts of genocide during World War II, forced sterilisation and lack of voting rights amongst other things. Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag has said that in order to move on from these aspects of their past, Sweden had to recognise that it had ‘wronged the Roma.’

Swedish EU parliamentarian Soraya Post, representing the country's feminist party (Fi), has been a driving force to get the resolution through the European parliament that the extermination of her people finally gets recognition. In an interview of 16th April 2015, she said: "I'm thrilled. The resolution was passed without any amendments. The conservative and liberal groups wanted to omit the word 'Holocaust' from the resolution, but we managed to keep it in there". Post hopes that more European countries will acknowledge the day now that the resolution has been passed.

The Living History Forum, together with ODIHR and Swedish Equality Ombudsman organised the International Seminar "Educating about the Roma and Sinti genocide. Learning from the past to challenge present discrimination and promote equality" in Stockholm, on 23rd April 2015.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

Sweden reported that the teaching of the Holocaust is obligatory from the seventh to the ninth grades of elementary school. The elementary school curriculum focuses on the Holocaust, while the curriculum for secondary schools focuses on genocide.

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

2.5 Remembrance day

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

Gregor Dufunia Chokescho, Stockholm University

Andrej Kotljarchuk, Historian :
University Lecturer at the School of History and Gender Studies, Södertörn University
Contact information
+46 8 608 4066
+46 8 608 4360
F 804 F-huset
E-mail Andrej Kotljarchuk
 
Soraya Post
Swedish politician for the Feminist Initiative party
 
Domino Kai
Chairman of the Swedish International Roma festival
4 Initiatives of the civil society

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

Creative association for arts and culture drom - project the Forgotten Genocide: Sweden was a major partner in the project of the Finnish Drom Association, in 2010, called "The Forgotten Genocide" dedicated to the Roma Holocaust. The main event of was international scholarly seminar "The Roma and the Holocaust" on the history and present situation of the Roma held at the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki on 8 - 9 April 2010. As a neutral country Finland had the worthy opportunity to host these events focusing on the Roma Holocaust. Although the Roma Holocaust has been officially recognized, it is still far from being processed historically and it is a subject that has remained completely unknown to many people.
Other events in this connection consisted of the Barvalo Drom (Rich Road) exhibition at the Caisa Cultural Centre, presenting Roma history, culture and art in broad perspective, and the concert series Barvalo Drom with its main concert at the Savoy Theatre on 9 April. "The Forgotten Genocide" was the first series of events devoted to this theme in Finland and it gained significant visibility both nationally and internationally.
 
2015 Nordic Conference on Romani Studies Södertörn University, Huddinge, 16-18 Sweden April 2015, with the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES)
Panel 5: Anti-tsiganism
13:00 David Gaunt: Compensation for Nazi Crimes and the Radicalization of Romani Politics
13:30 Andrej Kotljarchuk: The Nazi genocide of Roma in Ukraine. Mass graves and memory politics in Soviet and post-Soviet era
14:00 Piotr Wawrzeniuk: Unsafe haven: Persecution of Roma in Lemberg, 1941-1944
14:30 Anders Blomqvist: Experts and the “Gypsy question” in Subcarpathia 1940-1944
5 Point of view of the Roma community - including survivors' testimonies