On August 06, 2017 “Tkuma” Institute hosted regular session of Dniprovsky Historical Club. The event was joined by Frank Brendle, representative of German organization “Bildungswerk für Friedensarbeit”, coordinator of the exhibition “Genocide Against Roma – Remember to Resist”; historians Dr. Natalia Zinevych (Kyiv), Dr. Mykhailo Tiahlyi (Kyiv), and Dr. Igor Shchupak, director of “Tkuma” Institute and the Holocaust Museum. Among the participants of the club there were students, teachers, and representatives of the Roma local community.
The main attention of the club speakers was devoted to the history of the Roma genocide in Ukraine in a comparative context with the Holocaust, as well as the memory of these events. Modern historians find many common features between the tragic deaths of Jews and Roma during the Second World War. According to Nazi racial theorists, Roma, like Jews, were considered to be either objects or parasites of society, rather than humans. The bad attitude towards them and their physical extermination was justified, because as the result it led to extermination of “unwanted” and “impure” elements in Europe. After the Nazis came to power, the Roma, like the Jews, were put under the “special laws” aimed at their separation from the “Aryan” population and the prevention of interracial mixing. More than 500,000 European Roma became victims of the Nazi policy of extermination; more than 20,000 of them died in the Auschwitz death camp, where a separate “Gypsy camp” was created. However, despite such losses, the tragedy of the Roma people is much less researched than “the final solution of Jewish question”.
During the meeting of the Historical Club, researchers emphasized the importance of the Roma genocide research to perpetuate the memory of those events. The fate of the Romani population of Europe during World War II provides deeper insight into the crimes committed against Jews and the genocidal and racist nature of Nazi policy.
During the Historical Club, Dr. Igor Shchupak presented unique exhibits that were donated to the Holocaust Museum by representatives of the Roma community of Dnipro. Liubov Kuzmenko donated family relics including Roma whip, which is over 100 years old, as well as documents and photos. These exhibits will became the basis of the first permanent exhibition in Ukraine dedicated to the genocide of the Roma people, organized and implemented by the Nazis in 1935-1945 in Germany, the Third Reich Allies and the occupied countries. The opening of the exhibition will take place next year.