Video and audio podcast

Tajsa.eu is a web-based collection of video/audio podcasts and educational resources, about the causes and the consequences of the Genocide of the Roma in WWII, the Roma identity building and the self-empowerment of the Roma communities around Europe. This new-media series is produced in 12 regions around Europe as a project run by Radio La Benevolencija Humanitarian Tools Foundation and partners.

Under the fascist dictatorship of Ion Antonescu Romania was striving to build an ethnically homogeneous country without minorities. More than 25.000 Roma, mostly children and poor people, were deported to Transnistria. At least 11.000 died of hunger, cold and diseases, and the survivors lost their possessions and properties.

After surviving Transnistria, the Roma survivors had lost everything. After World War II Roma were not recognized as victims of persecution. While the victims still not get compensated for lost properties, among new generations of Roma there are many who are facing forced evictions.

When Germans imposed extreme repressive measures shooting thousands of civilians, many Roma took an active part in the resistance and joined the Partisans. Together with Serbs, Jews and others, they fought against Germans and their helpers. How much do we remember today about this united resistance and the contribution of the Roma to the victory against the Nazis?

Throughout the centuries, Roma used art and creativity as a form of resistance. Music was used to carry and pass on historical narratives. Even the Roma anthem Djelem Djelem serves to preserve historical narrative about the genocide of the Roma in World War II. What is the role of the Roma artist in contemporary Europe?

Even before the times of the State Institute for Racial Biology, until recently when the Swedish Police was caught creating a secret Roma-register, Roma in Sweden were victims of institutional and state-sponsored discrimination and abuse. How does it influence the Roma in Sweden today, and who should be integrating with whom in the 20-years strategy for Roma integration?

Many claim that Sweden is a “little Europe” with the largest number of different Roma groups and dialects. This diversity brings new opportunities and challenges. United, Roma groups benefit in a joint fight for their rights. But, does this unity endanger unique history, culture, language characteristic of diverse Roma groups? Is it possible to develop a united Roma identity and how does it work in a country with a long history of discrimination and marginalization of the Roma such as Sweden?

In the town of Lanciano in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, Roma activists and the local Mayor joined forces in a unique cooperation with the aim to build a memorial for the Italian Roma and Sinti victims of Samudaripen. The finances were not provided by the state or the local government, but through an international crowdfunding campaign as a symbol of the dignity of Roma and Sinti all around the world.

Culture means starting to love your own way of being, and that is a precondition for strengthening the sense of identity. Why is it so important for the young Roma to know their history, even if it is a cruel and sad history? Can they create a better future for themselves from that history? How can media in the same time be cause and consequence of the widespread antigypsyism in Italy? Is Europe without memory doomed to fail?

The Spanish Roma population did not suffer the Samudaripen as Spain didn’t participate in World War II. But, another historical event, The Great Raid in 1749 known as La Gran Redada de Gitanos, left lasting impact on the Roma communities of Spain. Persecution of the Roma, as well as Roma’s contribution to the society, are unknown to the majority as the history of Spanish Roma is not included in general education. In what way is antigypsyism today in Spain linked to the past?

The episode explores the origin and the future of Flamenco – music style developed and cherished by the Spanish Roma. Once, Flamenco was a way of Roma resistance, and a carrier of the historical narrative and the Roma identity. But who “owns” Flamenco today, when Flamenco is a cultural symbol and identity of the entire Andalusia? Where is a thin line between appropriation of the Roma culture, and appreciation and recognition of the Roma contribution to the mainstream culture?

SETTELA
Recognition of the Genocide

The Netherlands 1 (of 2)

Almost 50 years since the glance of the unknown girl in white head scarf, who is fearfully staring out of the wagon, was filmed in Westerbork transit camp, a Dutch journalist managed to identify her as Sinti girl, Settela Steinbach. This became the turning point for the Dutch Sinti and Roma community to finally gain official recognition as victims of Nazi persecution and genocide.

How did the genocide affect the Sinti and Roma communities in the Netherlands? What are the main challenges in addressing the history of persecution of the Roma through education? How we commemorate and what exactly do we remember? How can we combat antiziganism by introducing new perspectives and views?

The single largest Holocaust massacre in Europe took place in Babi Yar, a ravine near the Ukrainian capital Kiev, where German forces and local Ukrainian collaborators killed by bullets around 100.000 people, mostly Jews, but also a large number of Roma, Communists and Soviet POW. This practice of extermination has come to be designated as the “Holocaust by bullets” or “genocide by mass shooting.”

After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Romani victims of Samudaripen in Ukraine were not deported to extermination camps, but instead killed in mass shootings. The massacres were carried out by German forces and the local Ukrainian collaborators. The victims were killed in and around their villages, often before the eyes of their neighbors, and the bodies were left in the mass graves.

How much is the suffering of the Roma during the World War II known, even among the Roma? The stories about the destinies of older relatives that survived concentration camps were the only sources of knowledge. Even during the recent conflict in Kosovo Roma were victims of war crimes, beaten by both sides. Can deeper knowledge about own history be used for self-empowerment in a struggle for a better position in the society?

How come the fear of concentration camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Mauthausen and Jasenovac is present in Kosovo where the Roma communities were not exposed to persecutions during the World War II? How the genocide committed against various Roma communities around Europe contributes to the Roma identity of the Roma in Kosovo?

In My Own Words

“Voices” is a particular string in the Tajsa.eu series that brings Roma voices – standpoints and opinions of European Roma about past and present experiences and challenges. All videos of this series are presented on the page “Voices”. (click on the button bellow)

Voices from Slovakia
(Un)Broken Identity

Part 1

Voices from Slovakia
(Un)Broken Identity

Part 2

Voices from Hungary
Antiziganism Then and Now

Part 1

Voices from Hungary
Antiziganism Then and Now

Part 2

Voices from France
The Last Hero of France

Part 1

Voices from France
May 16 – Romani Resistance Day

Part 2

Voices from Czech Republic
From Registration to Recognition
Part 1

Voices from Czech Republic
From Registration to Recognition

Part 2

Supported by:

Open Society Foundations (OSF)

www.opensocietyfoundations.org

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)

www.holocaustremembrance.com

The Democracy and Media Foundation

www.stdem.org