Nachricht | International / Transnational - Europa The Suffering of the Roma in Serbia During the Holocaust

In one of the first substantial studies devoted to genocide against the Roma, journalist and writer Christian Bernadac presents testimonies of two female concentration camp survivors, because, as he says, Collecting certain stories and papers on deportation, I reached the conclusion that the Roma were avoided by all representatives of deported peoples, of which there were around thirty-two or thirty-five.

As an illustration, it is sufficient to refer to some of the rare sentences mentioning the Roma in the survivors’ testimonies. “Gypsy women, dirty thieves, utter cowards, crybabies full of vermin...”, “A herd of bohemians, disgustingly dirty, obtuse, thieves...”, “One tall Gypsy, thief and liar: just like others of his race, all he needed was one cue by an SS member to become a killer...”.

The author, in the paragraphs that follow, admits to having felt very disappointed when he noticed that even writers, university professors and priests from different countries share the same thoughts, quoting several of their statements from the post-war period. Also, it was frightening to discover that the massacre of Roma was being ignored.

“How is it possible to forget all those victims, to delete them from memory?”, he asks himself and others. The answer is, of course, not simple, but nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that, from that moment onwards, especially in recent years, numerous efforts have been made so as to wrest, at last, the genocide against the Roma in World War II from the abyss of mass amnesia.

Essential papers pertaining to this matter which represent the first significant publication on the suffering of the Roma, appeared in Great Britain as long ago as 1972, entitled "The destiny of Europe’s Gypsies", as well as the book "Rassenutopie und Genozid. Die nationalsozialistische „Lösung der Zigeunerfrage“, considered by one of the most influential experts on the subject of Roma in World War II, Gilad Margalit, to be the most significant work on genocide against the Roma.

The text that lies before the reader should be interpreted in the spirit of a “battle against forgetting”.