Recognition of the Roma Genocide

 Recognition, official texts

The National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust (Ziua Naţională de Comemorare a Holocaustului in Romanian, is a national event held on 9 October in Romania. It is dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust and particularly to reflecting on Romania's role in the Holocaust. Various commemoration events and ceremonies take place throughout Romania in order to remember the Jews and Romani who died in the Holocaust. The first National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust was held in 2004. 9 October was chosen as a date for this event because it marks the beginning of Romanian deportations of Jewsto Transnistria, in 1942.

On 23 October 2007, Romanian President Traian Băsescu publicly apologized for his nation's role in the Porajmos, the first time a Romanian leader has done so. He called for the Porajmos to be taught in schools, stating that, "We must tell our children that six decades ago children like them were sent by the Romanian state to die of hunger and cold". Part of his apology was expressed in the Romani language. Băsescu awarded three Porajmos survivors with an Order for Faithful Services.

In addition, the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed on 27 January.

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

36 000 Roma were killed in Romania under Ion Antonescu.

The deportation of the Roma to Transnistria was an element of the internal policy of Marshal Ion Antonescu’s regime in Romania during Second World War. Purportedly motivated by the authorities’ concern for public order, the deportation of 25 000 to 26 000 Roma into the Soviet territory between the Dniester and the Bug, while the area was occupied by the Romanian army, was in effect a racist measure. At the same time, the deportation was related to the policy of ethnic cleansing being considered by the Antonescu government. Even if the anti-Roma measures targeted only some of this population, the deportation to Transnistria was in some respects similar to the anti-Roma policy applied in Germany and her satellite states at the same time.

The Romanian government of Ion Antonescu did not systematically exterminate Roma on its territory. Instead, resident Roma were deported to Romanian-run concentration camps in occupied Transnistria. Of the estimated 25 000 Romani inmates of these camps, 11 000 (44%, or almost half) died.

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


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

The first monument commemorating the Roma Holocaust was unveiled at the Roma Culture Museum in Bucharest, on the last day of the Pakivalo Solidarity Festival on 8 August 2015. The monument is a tribute to the memory of Roma victims deported and exterminated in Transnistria and the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during 1940-1944. The project’s initiators want the monument to be set up in a park or public square. According to organizers, the monument was built around the solar symbol of the twelve-spoke wheel that signifies a well-known Roma spiritual archetype of Liberty as dynamic space and time.

The former deportees, Roma included, can be the recipients of the RIGHTS provided by Law 189/2000, that stipulates the persons persecuted by the Romanian regimes from the 6th of September 1940 to the 6th of March on ethnic grounds will be granted the following rights:

free and priority medical assistance and medication, both in ambulatory and during the treatment in hospital; free public urban transport - on means of transport belonging to the state-owned companies (bus, trolleybus, tramway, subway); six free round trips by train, per year, using the Romanian state railways, 1st class; six free round trips, per year, using the public means of auto transportation or, if it is the case, river transportation, from their place of residence to the county seat, for the persons who are not able to use the railway transport; one free ticket per year for treatment in a balneological resort; exemption from TV and radio licence costs; priority for the installation of a phone line, as well as the exemption from the subscription; allotment, on request, of a free cemetery plot. Few survivors are acquainted with these legal provisions and therefore they would hardly be able to take all the necessary steps (which are often too complex for them as senior citizens who are not assisted by any specialised institution or organisation).

The steps to follow to get the compensations for Roma victims of the Holocaust can be found on the dedicated website implemented by the Community Resources Centre.

 Remembrance day

Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed in schools with lessons, national contests and other remembrance activities, in line with guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education. In 2013, a total of 23 different types of activities were conducted. These included, among others, readings of written work on the Holocaust; the organizing of conferences, seminars and documentary expositions; visits to commemorative monuments, synagogues, museums and Jewish cemeteries; and meetings with members of the Jewish community and with Holocaust survivors. All middle and high school students take part in the activities, in accordance with a Notification issued by the Ministry of Education. Students are very often invited to attend the commemoration ceremonies that take place in local synagogues on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

 Teaching about the Roma Genocide

 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

Under communism, the official history in Romania taught that Germans were the sole perpetrators of the Holocaust, thereby ignoring the role of the Romanian government in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews and tens of thousands of Roma (Gypsies), from the historical regions of Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and Transnistria, during the Second World War.

Following 15 years of setbacks, in November 2004, after the presentation of the Wiesel International Commission’s report to the Romanian President, Romania finally acknowledged in an official position the full dimensions of the Romanian Holocaust. Romanian authorities have begun efforts to educate the public about the Holocaust, it also banned pro-Nazi propaganda and the cult of war criminals. In March 2005, the newly elected government under President Traian Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu made a firm commitment to implement the Wiesel Holocaust Commission’s recommendations on educating Romanians about the Holocaust and fighting racism in society.

Thus, the Romanian authorities have taken decisive steps towards the implementation of a unitary national curriculum concerning Holocaust education. Holocaust education is now mandatory in Romanian schools, covering 2–4 hours of material in the context of Second World War. In 2004, Holocaust history also became an optional course.

The Holocaust is taught in the seventh and eighth grades of middle school and in the tenth and 11th grades of high school. In the seventh grade, it is dealt with as part of studies focusing on Second World War. In the eighth grade, the fate of the Jews and Roma between 1938 and 1944 is examined as part of studies of “Romania between democracy and totalitarianism”. In the tenth grade, the Holocaust is included in classes on “International Relations: The Great Conflicts of the 20th Century”, and in the twelfth grade forms part of the study of “People, Society and the World of Ideas”. These courses include discussions on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in Romania. In 2004, following a ministerial order, an optional module covering the study of the Holocaust, together with an accompanying textbook, was approved for high schools. The contents of the module were modified in March 2005, following recommendations issued by the International historians’ Commission.

The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of The Holocaust organizes Holocaust education activities throughout the year. While Holocaust education has been mandatory in Romanian schools for over a decade, educators do not necessarily teach about it.

 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks

Although Holocaust education was introduced as a mandatory topic in pre-university curricula as of 1998, for a long time history textbooks have included little (if any), divergent, and often inaccurate information on the subject. It is not unknown to what extent the Roma Genocide is included in textbooks.

 Training of teachers and education professionals

Since 2005, The Association for Dialogue and Civic Education (Asociatia pentru Dialog si Educatie Civica - ADEC) has partnered with the Goldstein Goren Centre for Hebrew Studies at the University of Bucharest to run seminars for Romanian teachers on the Holocaust. Roma are included in these seminars both through lectures from survivors, academics such as Michelle Kelso and Viorel Achim, and through audio-visual materials such as the documentary Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies during WWII. As of 2007, a teacher’s guide was also provided specifically on how to teach about the Roma Genocide. ADEC brings in scholars and methodologist from across the globe in partnership with Romanian academics and teacher trainers to assist Romanian teachers. ADEC works under the auspices of the Romanian Ministry of Youth, Education and Research to provide certification teachers attending seminars. Thus far ADEC co-organized with its partners 13 training seminars, reaching some 400 teachers. Some partners have included Yad Vashem’s prestigious International School for Holocaust Studies, the Association IDEE, the Association of the Romanian Jewish Victims of the Holocaust, the Northern Transylvania Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Romanian Institute for Recent History.

Casa Corpului Didactic / Inspectorat Scolar Bacau (Centre for Teacher Development / School Inspectors’ Office)
Bacau County Centre for Teacher Development / School Inspectors’ Office has been very active in Holocaust education, establishing itself as a premier teacher training centre. Since 2005, the Centre has included the Roma Genocide in its trainings, holding at least two special training sessions on the Roma Genocide in addition to incorporating it into its other pedagogical seminars. The first one was in 2006, where historian Viorel Achim of the Nicolae Iorga Institute and Michelle Kelso addressed teachers in training. The second one, in June 2006, was organized in Valea Budului, where Michelle Kelso addressed both history and Romani language teachers about the Roma Genocide after a screening of the documentary Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies During WWII.

The "Elie Wiesel" National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania
The Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of The Holocaust organises Holocaust education activities throughout the year for teachers and students. While Holocaust education has been mandatory in Romanian schools for over a decade, educators do not necessarily teach about it. Distortion and obfuscation of Romanian Holocaust crimes during the communist and transition periods means that teachers, like the majority of Romanians, know little about their country’s perpetration of genocides. Included in the program is also the Roma Genocide.

Intercultural education, “And Roma were victims too”, the Romani Genocide and Holocaust education in Romania, volume 24, issue 1-02, 2013, Michelle Kelso, p61-78.
Paper which focuses on cognitive barriers that many history and civics teachers have regarding teaching about the victimization of the Roma minority. These barriers are intrinsically tied to acceptance of new narratives of the Holocaust and reconfigurations of ethnic identities in post-socialist Romania where pressures from the European Union and the USA, among others, have pushed for critical examination of past atrocities in order to strengthen democratic processes.

 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions



About 100 Roma survivors live in Romania today, and a dozen in the region of Bolintin Vale. An interview of some of them was broadcast on French radio France International on 9 October 2014.

One of the survivors of these atrocities was Gheorghe Manole, known as ‘Mocanu’. Mocanu was only four years old when he, together with his parents, four brothers and two sisters were taken by the military and put on the train to Transnistria. His grandmother and grandfather were also deported.

Cioaba, L. (2006). Deportarea în Transnistria. Mărturii. Sibiu: Ed. Neo Drom.

Ioanid, R., Kelso, M. and Cioaba, L. (2009). Tragedia Romilor Deporati in Transnistria 1942-1945. Iasi: Polirom.

Kelso, M. (1999). “Gypsy Deportation from Romania to Transnistria 1942-44”, in In the Shadow of the Swastika. The Gypsies during the Second World War. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.

 Initiatives of the civil society

The Association for Dialogue and Civic Education (Michelle Kelso) gives information on the Roma Genocide in Romania.

Ion Ciaoba foundation gives Information on the Roma Genocide.

Since 2013, each spring Volunteering for Remembrance Seminar, organised by Phiren Amenca gathered in a youth Camp of Caransebes, more than 40 young actual and former EVS interns coming from Germany, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Italy, Austria, Macedonia, Serbia and USA in the village of Milcoveni, Romania, with the aim of exploring the issue of Roma Genocide Remembrance and Human Rights. Materials are produced through the seminar, such as “The European ‘Boogie man’ Complex: challenging anti-Gypsyism through non-formal education, an educational toolkit”.

EEA Grants and Norway Grants supported the project “Providing justice for Roma Holocaust victims” in Romania. Despite the fact that Romanian authorities have officially recognised the Roma, alongside the Jews, as victims of the Holocaust in Romania, many Roma survivors are unaware of their rights and have not received any compensation for the horrors they went through. This is one of the reasons why the Community Resource Centre Association worked to identify Roma survivors so they could receive the compensation they are entitled to. The project was funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the NGO fund in Romania. The project also included establishing a database with an overview of Roma Holocaust victims in Romania and the creation of an archive with pictures and audio and video testimonials. The project started April 2014 and ended November 2014. It receives €31 480 from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the NGO fund in Romania.

Romani CRISS-Bucuresti; Chrisitian Roma Centre,Sibiu, Romania; Romani ButiQ, Bucuresti : 3 Romanian Roma NGO contributed to the drafting of the resolution adopted by the European Parlement on 15th April 2015.


 Educational material

Kelso, M. and Popa, A.-M. (2006). Dureri Ascunse. Persecutarea Romilor din România 1942-1945. Ghidul profesorului. Bucaresti: Asociatia pentru Dialog si Educatie civica. [It includes de documentary film Dureri Ascunse by M. Kelso]

Kelso, M., Intercultural education, “And Roma were victims too”, the Romani Genocide and Holocaust education in Romania, volume 24, issue 1-02, Taylor and Francis, 2013, p. 61-78

 Information material


Caldaras, H. (2004). Privirea celuilat. Bucaresti: Editura Vremea XXI. [Original in Swedish] [About the Roma camps after Second World War]


In this article - written in English - it is possible to read some testimonies of Romanian Roma, as well as some hints of the Roma Genocide in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.


The "Fundatia Social-Culturala A Romilor 'Ion Cioaba'" ("Rromani Socio-cultural Foundation 'Ion Cioaba'") deals with the history of the Romanian Roma, including the Roma Genocide. The Foundation has conducted several projects concerning this topic. There are some information about the Roma Genocide  on the website, and also some pictures of survivors. 

Holocaust Learning Resource Centre of the Romanian Jewish Community: 7. The Deportation, Persecution, and Extermination of the Gypsies


About 100 Roma survivors live in Romania today, and a dozen in the region of Bolintin Vale. An interview of some of them was broadcasted on French radio France International on 9 October 2014.

Scientific publications

Achim, V. (1998). Tiganii în istoria României. Bucuresti: Ed. Enciclopedica.

Achim, V. (2004). The Roma in Romanian history. Budapest: Central European University Press.

Achim, V. (2004). Documente privind deportarea tiganilor în Transnistria Vol I and II. Bucuresti: Curtea Veche.

Achim, V. and Iordachi, C. (eds.) (2004). România si Transnistria: problema Holocaustului: perspective istorice comparative. Bucuresti: Curtea Veche.

Ancel, J. (2005). “The German-Romanian Relationship and the Final Solution”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 19:2, pp. 252-275.

Ancel, J. (2003). Transnistria, 1941-1942: The Romanian mass murder campaigns. Tel Aviv: Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University.

Cioabă, L. (2006). Lacrimi Rome = Romane asva. Bucuresti: Ro Media.

Council of Europe, Factsheet on Roma “Deportations from Romania

Deletant, D. (2004). “Ghetto Experience in Golta, Transnistria, 1942–1944”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 18:1, pp. 1-26.

Deletant, D. (2006). Hitler's forgotten ally: Ion Antonescu and his regime, Romania 1940-44. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Deletant D. (2008). Aliatul uitat al lui Hitler. Ion Antonescu si regimul sau. 1940-1944. Bucuresti: Humanitas Publishing House. [Original in English, 2006]

Ethnocultural minorities. Documented histories. Gypsies in Romania (1919-1944), volume edited by Lucian NASTASĂ and Andrea VARGA, Cluj, Edit. CRDE, 2001, 684 p., ISBN 973-85305-2-0.

Fings, K. et al. (1998?). De la "stiinta" rasiala la lagarele de exterminare: Rromii in perioada regimului nazist 1. Bucarest: Editura alternative.

Hausleitner, M., Mihok, B. and Wetzel, J. (eds.) (2001). Rumänien und der Holocaust: zu den Massenverbrechen in Transnistrien 1941-1944. Berlin: Metropol.

International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania (2004). Final Report.

Ionescu, V. (2000). Deportarea rromilor în Transnistria: de la Auschwitz la Bug. Bucuresti: Editura Centrului rromilor pentru politici publice "Aven amentza".

Ionescu, V. (ed.) (2002). Rromii în istoria României: antologie si bibliografie. Bucuresti: Editura Centrului rromilor pentru politici publice "Aven amentza".

Ioanid, R. (2000). The Holocaust in Romania: The destruction of Jews and Gypsies under the Antonescu regime, 1940-1944. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. [Romanian version in 2006]

Ioanid, R. (2006). Holocaustul în România: Distrugerea evreilor si romilor sub regimul Antonescu 1940-1944. Bucuresti: Hasefer. [Original in English]

Ioanid, R., Kelso, M. and Cioaba, L. (2009). Tragedia Romilor Deporati in Transnistria 1942-1945. Iasi: Polirom.

Kelso, M. (1999). “Gypsy Deportations from Romania to Transnistria 1942-1944”. In: Kenrick, D. (ed.). The Gypsies During the Second World War. Vol. 2. In the Shadow of the Swastika. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, pp. 95-130.

Kelso, M. (2007). “Hidden History: Perceptions of the Romani Holocaust in Romania Viewed Through Contemporary Race Relations”, Anthropology of East Europe Review, Fall 2007, pp. 44-61.

Kelso, M. and Popa, A.-M. (2006). Dureri Ascunse. Persecutarea Romilor din România 1942-1945. Ghidul profesorului. Bucaresti: Asociatia pentru Dialog si Educatie civica. [It includes de documentary film Dureri Ascunse by M. Kelso]

Solonari, V. (2007). “An Important New Document on the Romanian Policy of Ethnic Cleansing during Second World War ”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 21:2, pp. 268-297.

Solonari, V. (2008). “Etnicheskaia chistka ili bor’ba s prestupnost’iu? Deportatsiia rumynskikh tsygan v Transnitriiu” [Ethnic Cleansing or Crime Prevention?: Deportation of Romanian Gypsies in Transnistria]. In: Golokost i suchastnist [Holocaust and Modernity], 1 (3), pp. 65-87.

Solonari, V. (2009). Purifying the nation: population exchange and ethnic cleansing in Nazi-allied Romania. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Stauber, R. and Vago, R. (2007). The Roma: a minority in Europe: historical, political and social perspectives. Budapest; New York: Central European University Press.

Woodcock, S. (2007). “Romanian Romani Resistance to Genocide in the Matrix of the Ţigan Other”, Anthropology of East European Review, Fall 2007, pp. 26-40.

 Multimedia material


2005: “Dureri Ascunse: Persecutarea Romilor 1942-1944” (“Hidden Sorrows: The Persecution of Romanian Gypsies during WWII”). Documentary. Romania and USA. Director: Michelle Kelso. 56 min. Language: Romanian.
About the history of Romanian Roma who were deported in the Transnistrian concentration camps during World War Two. Some survivors are interviewed.

2006: ‘Romane Iasfa’ (Romany Tears). Documentary. Romania. Director: Luminita Cioaba. 52 min.
About the deportation in 1942 of Roma people from Romania to Transnistria (Eastern Moldova).

2012: A documentary on the Genocide of the Roma is being prepared by Romeo Tiberiad. It will compile testominies of Roma survivors. An article on it was published on 20 September 2012, with an interview of the Director and extracts from the documentary.

2013: Valea Plângerii / Valley of Sighs. Mihai Andrei Leaha, Andrei Crisan, Iulia Hossu. ISPMN. TRIBA Film
The film aims at reconstructing the road, places and events of the Genocide of the Roma. Interviews with members of the Ukrainian community in Transnistria and Roma survivors who tell the tragedy that took place in a seemingly banal place today.