Romani History

By Professor Eve Rosenhaft, published 6th August 2021

In this podcast Professor Eve Rosenhaft of the University of Liverpool looks at the history, diversity and development of the Romani community across Europe. She examines the role and influence of the Romani as part of European culture and history, the historic challenges they have faced and the rise of Romani political activism in the post war era.

Professor Rosenhaft discusses how Nazi discrimination and persecution of the Roma peoples was a continuation of practices that had become institutionalised in Germany over the previous century and looks at the impact of the holocaust and how it has been remembered.

Professor Rosenhaft also provides an introduction to the BESTROM Project which explores the cultural contribution to Europe’s public space/s of its Romani minorities (Roma, Sinti, Manouche, Gitanos, and others), considering them as agents in the processes of building shared European commons and identities.

1. What peoples make up the Romani community?
2. What should students think about when engaging with Romani history?
3. Can you tell us a little about BESTROM?
4. Can you give us an idea of the range and diversity of the European Romani community by the early 20th century?
5. What was the experience of the Romani community as they established their presence across Europe?
6. How did they influence these cultures and identities?
7. To what extent did different Roma peoples maintain contact across Europe?
8. How did negative stereotypes, prejudice and persecution of the Romani develop in Europe over time? How possible was it to challenge this prejudice and persecution?
9. Was Nazi discrimination and persecution of the Roma peoples a continuation of practices that had become institutionalised in Germany over the previous century?
10. How did the Nazis extend their policies toward the Roma community during World War II?
11. How similar was the Roma experience to the Jewish experience? How did persecution develop into genocide?
12. How possible was resistance?
13. What was the impact of the Holocaust on the European Romani peoples? How has it been remembered?
14. How has the Romani community developed in post-war era? How has Romani political activism developed in Europe?

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