Conference on the History of Sinti & Roma

On 9 November 2023, the KWI, together with the Academy in Exile, made a significant contribution to international Sinti and Roma collective memory building, and cultural and historical recognition. The advanced academic conference brought together researchers, human rights defenders, cultural representatives and policymakers from across the world. Julika Griem, director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, and Kader Konuk, director of the Academy in Exile, welcomed representatives from numerous institutions that research the history of Sinti and Roma.

Dezso Mate, organiser of the event, noted in his closing remarks: „Academic and public antigypsyism has a profound impact on Romani memory and remembrance of the Holocaust. Sinti and Roma people throughout history have been categorized with antigypsy labels in the social sciences and public discourses. When researching the history of oppressed communities and their memory, it is important to embrace an approach that considers contextual nuances, potential archival limitations, ethical considerations, and one’s positionality within the broader socio-cultural landscape. Historical inquiry as a way of making the past less distant is a process of building awareness of unrecognized narratives, reviving forgotten voices, and elevating common remembrances. Acknowledging the history, past events, and lived experiences of Sinti and Roma people allows us to nurture a collective memory and consciousness.“