Recognition of the Roma Genocide

 Recognition, official texts

The official date for the commemoration of the Roma Holocaust is set to 16th December of each year (See “CAHROM (2013)15 Overview on the Recognition of the Genocide of Roma and Sinti (Pharrajimos / Samudaripen) during World War II and on Related Remembrance Days in member States of the Council of Europe”, page 23).


 Data (camps locations, Remembrance places, measures etc.)

According to the document “CAHROM (2013)15 Overview on the Recognition of the Genocide of Roma and Sinti (Pharrajimos / Samudaripen) during World War II and on Related Remembrance Days in member States of the Council of Europe”, page 23, 16th December was chosen to mark the suffering of Roma in Montenegro, because on that day in 1942, Heinrich Himmler issued an order for all Roma people in the occupied European countries to be arrested and deported to concentration camps.

Partisan Monument Gorica in Podgorica, situated on the Gorica hill, commemorates the partisans who fought against the Italian and German occupying forces during World War II.

Mr Islam Sejdović, Roma from Podgorica, erected a monument for Roma partisans (namely his father and his uncle) on the spot where Chetniks murdered them in 1943, when they tried to reach Shkoder and Albania.


 Specialised institution, commission, research centre etc., dealing with this issue

According to the available information, there is no specialised institution, commission or research centre specifically dealing with the issue of the Roma Genocide.

In June 2015, the Jewish community in Montenegro has opened its own library in Podgorica. It is named in honour of Dr. Albert Weiss (1905-1964), who was a distinguished Yugoslav jurist, a prisoner of the Nazis, a member of the Yugoslav delegation at the Nuremberg trial, President of the Yugoslav federation of Jewish communities.

Center for preservation and culture development of national minorities of Montenegro (CEKUM) (Centar za očuvanje i razvoj kulture manjina Crne Gore)
Vuka Karadžića 31
Podgorica
Telephone: +382 20 621 365
E-mail: cekum@t-com.me


 Official initiatives (campaigns, actions, projects, commemoration days, museums)

On 12th November 2014 Jewish community and government leaders discussed putting into action an agreement on relations between the community and the state of Montenegro signed in 2012. The Vice-President of the Jewish community in Montenegro, Djordje Raicevici, praised the attitude of the government towards the community and announced some new joint activities related to Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is marked every January 27. One proposal is for schools to start marking the day named after victims of the Nazi Holocaust and pay more attention to the topic in the educational curriculum. Read the article.

 Remembrance day

There is no available information about the Remembrance Day.

 Teaching about the Roma Genocide

 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

According to the available information, the topic is not included in the school curriculum.


 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

According to the available information, the topic is not included in the school textbooks.


 Training of teachers and education professionals

There is no available information about official trainings.

CDRSEE’s (Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe) Joint History Project is the programme, launched in 1999, that is centred on education, on providing history-teaching materials for teachers that convey multiple perspectives of the same events, and on ensuring that these materials be put to use across the Balkan region. Currently there are four books, in 11 languages (in Serbian, among others), which cover events and history through the Second World War. Through the working relationships Ministries of Education and Teacher Associations throughout Balkans, the JHP provides on-going teacher training, outreach and media work. The number of teachers who have been trained to use the JHP materials and tailor the books and lessons to their classrooms continues to grow.


 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions

From 2nd to 5th April 2015, Macedonian History Teachers Association organised a kick-off meeting in the EUROCLIO project “History that connects the Balkans, Rethinking History Education?” in Skopje. Members of History Teachers Associations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia were invited to participate in order to discuss organizational issues with the development of regional website and with preparations for the summer school in Mrkonjić Grad. EUROCLIO was represented by Jonathan Even-Zohar (director), Judith Geerling (project manager) and by Ivan Markovic (trainee).

The Festival of Tolerance – Jewish Film Festival is a unique film festival focused on Holocaust education through an extensive film programme comprising many screenings, thematic exhibitions, music programme, a host of discussions and workshops. Besides recalling the Holocaust, the Festival warns about different social phenomena and current social problems: discrimination of minorities, xenophobia, homophobia, integration of asylum seekers and attitudes towards senior citizens. The Festival of Tolerance, which started in 2007 in Zagreb, is now present in six cities of the region (Belgrade, Cetinje, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Sarajevo, and Vienna) in its somewhat abbreviated version.

Festival of Tolerance was presented on 1st November 2014 in Cetinje where a press conference was held with Dragica Milić, Assistant Minister of Culture of Montenegro, Nataša Popović, festivals director and Branko Lustig, festivals honorary president. Opening of the festival’s program was held in Royal theatre Zetski dom featuring the movie “Sarah’s Key”.

Testimonies

Oral history interview with Rašela Kneževič Levi (20:20 min) – transport of Jews from Bosnia to Montenegro in 1942.

Regional Centre for National Minorities organised 3rd Barvalipe school  from 15th to 26th August 2013 in Kolašin, Montenegro, with intention to provide young Roma with a powerful experience and encourage them to choose to serve as role models, political leaders and civic activists able to advocate for themselves and their communities. Participants explored the roots and future of Roma identity in a learning environment with distinguished Roma professors and civil leaders. The 10-day Summer School includes a two-day study trip to the Jasenovac, concentration camp in Croatia, where approximately 20 000 Roma and Sinti died at the hand of the Nazis. Participants also heard a testimony of Nadir Dedić, a Roma survivor from Croatia.

 Initiatives of the civil society

Montenegrin Roma, victims of the Holocaust, and their heirs were informed by the “Roma Rota” association about the invitation announced by the Foundation of Roma Holocaust in Serbia and Montenegro appealing on Roma victims of the World War II to submit applications for remuneration by 31st December 2012. The invitation is forwarded to all citizens of Serbia and Montenegro that survived Holocaust, and application can be also submitted by the victims’ children.  (See “CAHROM (2013)15 Overview on the Recognition of the Genocide of Roma and Sinti (Pharrajimos / Samudaripen) during World War II and on Related Remembrance Days in member States of the Council of Europe”, page 23).

Civic Alliance, in partnership with Association for Roma Affirmation in Montenegro and Mr Edin Berisa participated in 2014 Roma Pride which took place on 6th October in Podgorica. The activities were organised around the theme “Roma Inclusion into all cultural everyday life” and they included presentation of an opera, an exhibition of photography by Ivan Djokovic, and a film projection showing the position of Roma in Montenegro. Civic Alliance also participated in the activities of the 2013 Roma Pride.

 Resources

 Educational material

The Council of Europe produced a collection of pedagogical fact sheets on Roma history, culture and language. “Information Fact Sheets on Roma History” have been translated into Serbian and are available for download on Council’s website.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website offers “Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust” with materials.

Series "Teaching Modern Southeast European History: Alternative Educational Materials", edited by prof. Christina Koulouri, Thessaloniki, 2005

 Information material

Weinstock, Yael: "It Happened There Too" - Sephardic Jews in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Greece, published in Yad Vashem's collections/website. The website also offers teaching materials.
According to this article, the Jews living in Montenegro can tell a different story than other Yugoslavian Jews because the Italians who occupied them decided to save them from the Germans. About 5 000 Jews in Montenegro were saved by the Italians.

Haliti, B. (2004). Poema katar e Mum Tadž Mahal = Poema o Mum Tadž Mahal = Mumtaz Mahal poem. Beograd: Memorial Roma Centre for Holocaust Studies of Serbia and Montenegro. [Text in Romani, Serbian and English]

Center for preservation and culture development of national minorities of Montenegro (CEKUM) organised a celebration of the International Roma Day on 8th April 2014 at Perjanica Hall in Podgorica. Dr Suad Numanović, Minister for Human and Minorities’ Rights, inaugurated the exhibition of works of Hungarian artist Selam Pato and Montenegrin author Ruždija Rus Sejdović.

The Family Album project engages precisely in uncovering such family histories of Roma citizens living in Serbia and Montenegro, hidden in albums and boxes, and thus opens dialogues with interlocutors who are often marginalised. But, the stories that browsing through family photographs call forth are not only about the Roma community, but also about the history of the region over the past several decades. The photographs show the traumatic years of war in the former Yugoslavia, stories about exile, departures, and family partings.

 Scientific publications

Bulajić, M. (1996). Tudjman's "Jasenovac myth": Genocide against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. Belgrade: Stručna knj.

Crowe, Kolsti, Hancock: „The Gypsies of Eastern Europe“, 1992, Routledge

Crowe, David M.: „A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia“, 1994, New York, St. Martin's

Fings, K., Lissner, C. and Sparing, F. (1992). “...einziges Land, in dem Judenfrage und Zigeunerfrage gelöst”: die Verfolgung der Roma im faschistisch besetzten Jugoslawien 1941-1945. Köln: Rom e.V. Köln.

Haliti, B. (2005). Contemplations on Roma issue. Beograd: Memorial Roma Centre for Holocaust Studies of Serbia and Montenegro.

Jevtic, E. (2004). Blank pages of the Holocaust Gypsies in Yugoslavia during World War II. Thesis (M.A.), Brigham Young University.

Lituchy, B. M. et al. (2006). Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia: Analyses and survivor testimonies. New York: Jasenovac Research Institute.

Mirkovi, D. (1993). “Victims and Perpetrators in the Yugoslav Genocide 1941-1945. Some preliminary observations”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 7 (3), pp. 317-332.

Mojzes, Paul: „Balkan genocides : holocaust and ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century“, 2011, Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield

 Multimedia material