1 Recognition of the Genocide

1.1 Recognition, official texts

The date 2nd August was officially established as a national Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day on 8th October 2004 by Verkhovna Rada Resolution Number 2085-IV “On the Commemoration of the International Day of the Roma Holocaust”.

The resolution also recommended that the Government support research on the Roma genocide in Ukraine facilitate the construction of memorials to victims of the Roma genocide and provide support to the families of the victims as well as to Roma communities in general.

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

One of the largest mass murder during World War II took place at Baby Yar, which is a huge ravine in the North of Kiev.
During the first days of the German occupation, which happened on September 19, 1941, there were two explosions that destroyed the German headquarters. As a consequence, the Germans decided to kill most of the Jews in the city: on September 29-30, 1941, SS and German police units, as well as Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units), shot the Jewish population  (about 33 771 people) in the ravine. Over the following months other groups such as Red Army soldiers, civilians and Roma were massacred in a similar fashion – it is estimated that around 100,000 people were murdered at this single site. See more

In 2005, 29th September was designated as a memorial day to commemorate the victims of the mass killing of Babi Yar. The president gave a special directive concerning the commemoration, the holding of a scholarly conference, and the creation of a museum at Babi Yar in Kiev, for which preparations have already started.

Facts and Figures:
Nowadays, Roma is one of the most vulnerable ethnic and cultural minorities in Ukraine. According to official statistics there are approximately 50,000 Roma living in Ukraine, but unofficial data claim over 120 000. Problems of the Roma minority still draw little attention in official policy. An expressly negative attitude toward the Roma predominates in Ukrainian society. They are discriminated against at the level of governmental bodies, social services, and law enforcement officials. The Roma suffer most from unemployment, illiteracy, unhealthy living conditions. These are exacerbated by the country’s economic crisis.

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

According to the available information, there is no specialised institution, commission or research centre specifically dealing with the issue of the Genocide of the Roma.

Dnepropetrovsk 4900
Telephone/Fax: (056) 778 05 95
Tkuma All-Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies is the first National centre for studying and teaching Holocaust History. Tkuma has representatives in all the regions of Ukraine, interacts with many cultural and educational organizations, closely cooperates with the Ukrainian Ministry of Science and Education, has connections with scientific institutions and leading Holocaust History researchers from many countries.

Tkuma’s main missions are:

  • research on Holocaust History;
  • educational programs;
  • creation of Tkuma Central Holocaust Museum in Ukraine;
  • promotion of  inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue; fostering the atmosphere of tolerance and consent in society as well as contracting xenophobia and anti-semitism.

Tkuma as a scientific centre for Holocaust studies conducts international scientific conferences, publishes scientific and methodical literature, which constitutes the “Ukrainian Library of Holocaust” Academic series, “Holocaust studies” scholar journal, etc. Tkuma International Academic Board includes recognized scholars from different countries. The Board is headed by Prof. Dan Michman (Jerusalem, Israel), Chief Historian of the Yad-Vashem Institute. Scholars from Ukraine, as well as Belarus, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and USA participated in five Tkuma International scientific conferences in 2001-2006 devoted to the problems of Holocaust and international understanding.

The Tkuma Centre has great experience in educational work with teachers, secondary schools’ and higher educational establishments’ students and lecturers. In accordance with the Declaration of Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust a system of seminars, work program of the courses for teachers’ qualification improvement courses has been created in cooperation with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science and Regional Educational Institutes for secondary school teachers’ qualification improvement. Tkuma staff has elaborated academic curricula and educational manuals on Holocaust History for Ukrainian educational establishments. For the first time since the independence of Ukraine the project of a non-government organization is included in the official curriculum of Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (“Tkuma” International Inter-confessional Youth Seminar “The Ark”).

Tkuma is working towards the creation of the Tkuma Holocaust History Museum in Ukraine. Tkuma staff has already compiled the unique exhibits, created archives of documents, collection of scientific and methodical materials on Holocaust History, video and sound recording library.
Tkuma Centre carries out public and cultural-educational projects, in particular “Tkuma Clubs” in all the regions of Ukraine, “Ukrainian-Jewish dialogue” project, “Anti-semitism archive”, etc.

Owing to the fruitful cooperation with the state institutions, national and international scientific and educational organizations, as well as its constant partners – The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Dnipropetrovsk Jewish Community, Task Force, The L.A. Pincus Fund for Jewish Education in Diaspora, Israel, The Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund and others, Tkuma All-Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies has great opportunities to carry out long-term scientific, educational and social projects, to foster tolerance and international concord in the Ukrainian society, preserve cultural and historical heritage, which contributes to the development of democratic principles in Ukraine as well as creation of the positive image of Ukraine in Europe.

Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies (UCHS) in Kiev

The Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies (UCHS) was established in 2002. It is a non-governmental organisation founded in partnership with I. Kuras Institute for Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The main directions of the UCHS's activities embrace Holocaust research and Holocaust education.
The research direction comprises regional aspects of the Holocaust on Ukrainian lands; reflection of the Holocaust in the mass-media of the Nazi-occupied Ukraine; Nazi ideology and the mechanisms of its implementation, Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, comparative research of the Holocaust and other cases of genocide.

The UCHS holds scholarly conferences and seminars on these issues. In frames of the educational activities the UCHS consults Holocaust history teachers of secondary schools and higher educational establishments, promotes the creation of curricula and manuals on the Holocaust, organizes annual competitions of students' research and art works. Alongside with the main working directions the UCHS is actively involved into publishing and has its own periodical editions: semi-annual scholarly journal Holocaust and Modernity and bi-monthly informative-pedagogical bulletin Lessons of the Holocaust. The UCHS also participates in international projects in alliance with academic and educational institutions all over the world.

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

The Parliament recommended, in its resolution establishing the Holocaust Memorial Day, that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine design and implement a special plan of commemorative actions related to this event and suggested that the plan should include commemorative gatherings, exhibitions in museums and libraries, special lessons in schools and other activities. The events were to be organised by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and Science, local self-government institutions, cultural institutions, schools and colleges, academic institutions, Jewish organisations and other non-governmental organisations.

Ukraine observes 2nd August every year as the Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day.

Ukraine also observes 27th January as “Holocaust Memorial Day”. The date was chosen to coincide with the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, designated by the United Nations General Assembly. The commemoration in Ukraine honours all victims of the Holocaust.

At this moment, there is no state Holocaust museum in Ukraine. A small Holocaust museum room in Kharkov has been established upon a local initiative. There are other private or community-funded exhibitions in Simpheropol, Lvov, Mogilev-Podolsky, and Artemovsk. In addition, the Tkuma Foundation reported that it is currently working to set up a national Holocaust museum in Dnepropetrovsk within the next three years.

2 Teaching about the Genocide of the Roma

2.1 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

The subject is presented in the last grade of secondary school within the framework of a history course and it is also referred to in social studies and ethics courses. No fixed number of hours is allocated to Holocaust education and the extent of study on this topic varies significantly amongst schools.

2.2 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

Textbooks allocate varying degrees of coverage to the topic of the Holocaust. The Ministry of Education and Science recommends to schools those texts that feature a separate chapter or a more-in-depth presentation of the Holocaust. Some teachers also use their own materials.

2.3 Training of teachers and education professionals

Dozens of teacher-training courses are organised on annual basis by the Tkuma Foundation, the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies, the Centre of Jewish Education in Ukraine and other non-governmental research and educational institutions.

From 2009 to 2012, under the support of OSCE/ODIHR, the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies held dissemination seminars for history teachers, presenting teaching material developed, in nineteen district centres all over Ukraine. See more Thanks to the grant from EVZ Foundation the project continued throughout October to December 2014 in remaining district centres in Ukraine. According to the plan, the seminars took place in Zaporizhzhya, Kirovograd and Sumy in cooperation with local departments of education and/or in-service teacher training establishments.

The Anne Frank House has been active in Ukraine since 2002. With support of the Dutch government the travelling Anne Frank exhibition was shown in dozens of cities all around the country. As a follow-up, in 2008, the Anne Frank House and its Ukrainian partners started a large scale project for teachers and journalists. It includes a book publishing programme and trainings on the promotion of tolerance. Teacher training seminars were organised in some of the cities that took part in the tour of the Anne Frank exhibition under the title “Who are your neighbours”, focussing on diversity and how to deal with this subject in the class room. The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine.

2.4 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

The Parliamentary resolution creating Holocaust Memorial Day indicated that commemoration should include special lessons in schools and other educational institutions all over Ukraine on the theme of “The Tragedy of Babyn Yar: lessons of history”.

The Ministry of Education and Science developed recommendations for schools that envisaged the following themes for lectures related to the Holocaust and Babyn Yar: "This is how the Road of death to Babyn Yar began"; "Nazism as an extreme form of Anti-Semitism"; "The Holocaust as the greatest crime against humanity" and "The Righteous among the Nations – heroes who saved human lives".
These thematic lectures were delivered in public schools all over Ukraine in September and October 2011.

2.5 Remembrance day

2nd August is the Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day. Solemn commemorative gatherings and artistic events take place on 2nd August in Kiev and in cities with significant Roma communities. The observances are organised by Roma organisations and supported by Government bodies. In particular, until 2010, the former State Committee for Nationalities and Migration was involved in the organisation. Now the Ministry of Culture is involved, as are local self-government bodies and non-governmental organisations. The commemorative events are covered on national radio and television.

3 Official contacts and resource persons

3.1 Responsible person in the Ministry of Education

According to the available information, there is no designated responsible person in the Ministry of Education and Science.

Head: Stanislav Nikolaenko, Minister
Address: Prosp. Peremohi 10, 252135 Kyiv, Kyiv Region, Ukraine
Tel.: +380 (44) 481 32 21
Fax: +380 (44) 481 47 96

3.2 Resource persons - list of experts and historians

Felix Levitas, historian

Ilya Levitas, Deputy Head of the Council of Representatives of Organizations of National Minorities of Ukraine, the founder of the «Memory of the Babiy Yar» and «Memory of Fascism Victims» foundations

4 Initiatives of the civil society

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

The Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam has supported a Holocaust and Tolerance Education project implemented by the Ukrainian Centre for the last three years. The programme includes exhibitions, peer training and teacher seminars. The Tkuma Foundation, the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies and other non-governmental organisations also undertake a variety of practical initiatives including workshops, competitions and lectures.

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

Testimony of Mrs Bairam Ibragimova, Roma survivor, describes the massacre of Baby Yar. It is a part of a French documentary movie “Mémoires tsiganes, l'autre génocide” (The Other Genocide. The Persecution of Sinti and Roma in Europe 1920–1946 ) made in 2011 and directed by Henriette Asséo, Idit Bloch and Juliette Jourdan (from 39:30 to 40:23).