PDF Subscribe


Recording Romani Voices, Documenting Romani Lives

from Monday, 13. June 2022 -  08:30
to Tuesday, 14. June 2022 - 12:30

Central European University, 1100 Wien, Quellenstrasse 51, Austria, Room: Tiered D-001


CoverTestimonies, oral histories, and ethnographic interviews are central sources for the writing of Romani history, in particular the documentation and memorialization of the Romani genocide, and a resource for pedagogical work to combat ongoing persecution against Roma in Europe. They also play a major role in Romani political debates. Nonetheless, Romani testimonies remain somewhat hidden from scholarship, and underappreciated for their unique ability to provide insight into the experiences of Roma survivors of genocide, as well as provide a rich picture of the past. At the same time, the origins and motivations behind the collection of testimony are varied, and not without controversy. Some earlier collections, for example, focus primarily on Romani folktales, songs, and stories, and could be viewed as catering to the desire for exotic outsiders rather than documenting lived experiences or reflect on the power relations that make these interviews possible. Other Romani testimonies stem from police efforts to surveil Romani populations. Despite their problematic origins, these sources remain essential for the (re)construction of Roma history and identity. Often the troubling histories of these archives also reveal long-standing mechanisms of exclusion and highlight methodological challenges peculiar to the collection of ego documents from continuously marginalized communities.

This workshop opens a discussion of these complex and important sources by putting a spotlight on the Romani testimonies held in major archives. It puts an emphasis on testimonies documenting the Romani genocide during the Second World War, including those held at the Fortunoff Video Archives. The workshop seeks to situate them in the larger context of Holocaust and Romani history and the efforts of scholars to tackle the epistemological and ethical challenges of oral history collecting. It also invites the participation of scholars in other fields dealing with testimonies whose approaches might inform discussions of Romani testimonies.

This will be a live event only. Due to limited number of places, we kindly ask you to register at by 31 May 2022.

Abstracts & CVs

Monday Morning, 13 June 2022

8:30 Registration
9:00 Welcoming Remarks

The Methods and Ethics of Knowing
Chair: Angéla Kóczé (CEU)

9:15 Danijel Vojak (Institute of Social Science Ivo Pilar, Zagreb)
Neglected Memories of Marginals: Testimonies of Roma Suffering in Croatia during the Second World War
9:35 Verena Meier (Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
In the Midst Archives: Romani Voices of Nazi-Persecution – Some Epistemological Reflections
9:55 Simina Dragos (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge)
The Politics, Dilemmas and Paradoxes of Working with Roma Holocaust Testimonies from Publicly Available Sources
10:15 Discussion

10:45 Coffee Break in Ground Floor Lounge

The Politics and Aesthetics of Memory
Chair: Michael L. Miller (CEU)

11:15 Miguel Ángel Vargas Rubio (Programa de Doctorado en Historia y Estudios Humanísticos, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla)
Between Horrible Strangeness and Sad Joy: Towards a Spanish Roma Reading of the Porrajmos

11:35 Aleksandra Szczepan (Fortunoff Fellow at the VWI)
“Romani Genocide has Taken Place on the Fringes”: Negotiating Memorial Agency in the Testimony of Krystyna Gil

11:55 Anna Belén Martín Sevillano (Department of World Literatures and Languages, University of Montreal)
Ethics and Aesthetics in Trauma Narratives: Testimony, Autobiography, and the Pitfalls of Textual Representation
12:15 Discussion

12:45 Lunch Break in Ground Floor Lounge

Monday Afternoon, 13 June 2022

Collected Memories: Romani Testimony Archives
Chair: Márton Rövid (CEU)

13:45 Adrian-Nicolae Furtună (Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy)
Ethics and Aesthetics in Trauma Narratives: Roma Survivors of the Deportation to Transnistria and the Memory of the ‘Russian’ Words

14:05 Joey Rauschenberger (Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
Niches of Agency: Unsolicited Romani Voices in the Rigid Bureaucratism of Compensation Procedures after 1945

14:25 Milovan Pisarri (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
Testimonies of Roma Survivors from Yugoslav and Serbian Archives

14:45 Discussion

15:15 Coffee Break in Ground Floor Lounge

Art, Agency, And Testimony in the Work of Ceija Stojka
Chair: Maria Bogdan (CEU)

15:45 Paul Bernard-Nouraud (Ecole des arts de la Sorbonne, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)
Confronting Art to Archives and Testimonies: The Case of Ceija Stojka’s Works

16:05 Lorely French (Pacific University Oregon) Carina KURTA (Ceija Stojka International Fund)
“It is difficult to write about some things, but it has to be”: Ceija Stojka’s Notebooks

16:25 Stefan Benedik (House of Austrian History)
Unpredicted Agents of Memory: Self-Representation and Mainstreaming of Romani Suffering in Austrian ‘National Memory’

16:45 Discussion

19:00 Dinner

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Remembering Adversity and Survival – Case Studies From Romania
Chair: Stephen Naron (Fortunoff Archive/VWI)

9:00 Petre Matei (“Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania)
Roma Deportations and Roma Voices in Romania

9:20 Luiza Madleanu (CESI, University of Bucharest)
The Social and Cultural Consequences of the Famine on the Roma Deported to Transnistria during the Second World War (1942–1944)

9:40 Discussion

Framing And Mapping: International Projects on Roma Genocide
Chair: Éva Kovács (VWI)

10:00 Karola Fings & Sarah Kleinmann (Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
Encyclopaedia, Documenting the Crimes, Acknowledging the Victims. Insights into the Project ‘Encyclopaedia of the Nazi Genocide of the Sinti and Roma in Europe’

10:20 László Csősz (National Archives of Hungary)
Mapping the Genocide of the Roma in Hungary

10:40 Discussion

11:00 Coffee Break in Ground Floor Lounge

11:30 Roundtable Discussion: Archival Activism, Testimonies, and the development of Romani Scholarship


Ágnes Daróczi (Romano Instituto)
Gerhard Baumgartner (DÖW)
Mirjam Karoly (VWI)
Andrea Pócsik (Freelancer Cultural Researcher)
Moderated by: Ari Joskowicz (VWI/Vanderbilt University)

12:30 Lunch

Organized by:
Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University (FVAHT)
Romani Studies Program and Nationalism Studies Program, Central European University (CEU)
Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI)

Maria Bogdan
Ari Joskowicz
Éva Kovács
Angéla Kóczé
Michael L. Miller
Stephen Naron
Márton Rövid

Image: Ceija Stojka: Untitled, “Back of the painting The Roma’s sunflower It brings grace
and beauty my flower my sister Kathi/She implores the mother of God to grant her mercy”, 1995, Acrylic and sand on cardboard 70 x 100 cm, Collection Family Stojka, Vienna. Photocredits: © Célia Pernot/Ceija Stojka International Fund

By participating in this event, you consent to the publication of photos, video and audio
recordings that are made during the event.

June 2023
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2

The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


bmbwf en 179


wienkultur 179


 BKA Logo srgb