Recognition of the Roma Genocide

 Recognition, official texts

Sweden observes 27th January as “Holocaust Memorial Day”. It commemorates all victims of the Holocaust, including Roma. The day has been marked in Sweden since 1999.

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

There is no accurate data on the Roma Genocide in Sweden.

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

The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority commissioned to work with issues related to tolerance, democracy and human rights, using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as its starting point.

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

The Living History Forum – a Swedish public authority that uses the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point to work on tolerance, democracy and human rights – has a specific mandate to promote and co-ordinate initiatives across Sweden related to the Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January. Every year, a different theme for the commemorations is proposed. In 2014, the theme was dedicated to “The Romani People”. As part of the 2014 commemorations, the Living History Museum prepared an exhibition focusing on the Romani people during the Holocaust. On 27th January 2014, the exhibition was on display in Stockholm, as well as in the cities of Karlstad, Borås, Västerås, Luleå and Göteborg. In Stockholm, it was displayed in conjunction with the ceremony held on 27 January.

2nd August 2015: Ceremonies have been held in Stockholm and Gothenburg in memory of the Roma who were killed during the Holocaust. This is the first year that Roma Genocide Remembrance Day has been officially observed. The designation of the day of memory for the Roma victims of the Holocaust was established earlier this year in a resolution from the European Parliament. Even though this is the first time the day is being marked officially, its the seventh year a memorial ceremony has been held at Stockholm’s Raoul Wallenberg Square.

At the 2011 Holocaust Memorial Day, Roma community representatives spoke and performed traditional music in Stockholm’s Great Synagogue. On Roma Holocaust memorial Day of 2012, for the first time, representatives of the Swedish Jewish community took part in a memorial ceremony marking the anniversary of the “Night of the Gypsies”, or Zigeunernacht. The memorial ceremony took place on Raoul Wallenberg square in Stockholm.

In February 2011 Sweden took steps to document the maltreatment of Roma. Sweden announced plans for a report exploring the suffering the Roma endured in the country in the 20th century. This followed the recommendation last year by a government-appointed panel on issues related to Roma that a truth commission was needed in order to investigate the persecution this group has faced. In addition, the panel stated that an account of the history of the Roma was necessary. Roma have been in Sweden since the early 16th century, with around 50 000 living there today. Throughout history they have encountered discrimination but the white paper will concentrate primarily on their plight in the 1900s. It will use testimonies of Roma to record human rights abuses, including acts of genocide during World War II, forced sterilisation and lack of voting rights amongst other things. Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag has said that in order to move on from these aspects of their past, Sweden had to recognise that it had ‘wronged the Roma.’

Swedish EU parliamentarian Soraya Post, representing the country's feminist party (Fi), has been a driving force to get the resolution through the European parliament that the extermination of her people finally gets recognition. In an interview on 16th April 2015, she said: "I'm thrilled. The resolution was passed without any amendments. The conservative and liberal groups wanted to omit the word 'Holocaust' from the resolution, but we managed to keep it in there". Post hopes that more European countries will acknowledge the day now that the resolution has been passed.

The Living History Forum, together with ODIHR and Swedish Equality Ombudsman organised the International Seminar "Educating about the Roma and Sinti genocide. Learning from the past to challenge present discrimination and promote equality" in Stockholm on 23rd April 2015.

 Remembrance day


 Teaching about the Roma Genocide

 Inclusion of the topic in the school curriculum

Sweden reported that the teaching of the Holocaust is obligatory from the seventh to the ninth grades of elementary school. The elementary school curriculum focuses on the Holocaust, while the curriculum for secondary schools focuses on genocide.

 Inclusion of the topic in the school textbooks


 Training of teachers and education professionals


 Particular activities undertaken at the level of education institutions




 Initiatives of the civil society

Creative association for arts and culture drom - project “the Forgotten Genocide”: Sweden was a major partner in the project of the Finnish Drom Association, in 2010, called "The Forgotten Genocide" dedicated to the Roma Holocaust. The main event of was international scholarly seminar "The Roma and the Holocaust" on the history and present situation of the Roma held at the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki on 8 - 9 April 2010. As a neutral country Finland had the worthy opportunity to host these events focusing on the Roma Holocaust. Although the Roma Holocaust has been officially recognized, it is still far from being processed historically and it is a subject that has remained completely unknown to many people.

Other events in this connection consisted of the Barvalo Drom (Rich Road) exhibition at the Caisa Cultural Centre, presenting Roma history, culture and art in broad perspective, and the concert series Barvalo Drom with its main concert at the Savoy Theatre on 9 April. "The Forgotten Genocide" was the first series of events devoted to this theme in Finland and it gained significant visibility both nationally and internationally.

2015 Nordic Conference on Romani Studies Södertörn University, Huddinge, 16-18 Sweden April 2015, with the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES)
Panel 5: Anti-tsiganism.

  • 13:00 David Gaunt: Compensation for Nazi Crimes and the Radicalization of Romani Politics
  • 13:30 Andrej Kotljarchuk: The Nazi genocide of Roma in Ukraine. Mass graves and memory politics in Soviet and post-Soviet era
  • 14:00 Piotr Wawrzeniuk: Unsafe haven: Persecution of Roma in Lemberg, 1941-1944
  • 14:30 Anders Blomqvist: Experts and the “Gypsy question” in Subcarpathia 1940-1944


 Educational material

Bruchfeld, S. et al. (1998). detta må ni berätta...: en bok om Förintelsen i Europa 1933-1945. Stockholm: Regeringskansliet, Levande historia. [There are translations into many languages, including Arabic, Persian, Swedish Sign Language, DAISY digital talking book and Braille]

Lundgren, G. et al. (2006). Sofia Z-4515 / Žofi Z-4515. Stockholm: Tranan; Podium. [Text written in Swedish and Romani] [There is also a teacher's guide] 

 Information material


Caldaras, H. (2002). I betraktarens ögon. Stockholm: Prisma. [There is translation into Romanian] [About the Roma camps after Second World War]


Hackl, E. (1990). Farväl, Sidonie: berättelse. Stockholm: Legenda. [Original in German]


Bengt O. Björklund wrote the poem "Den långa marschen" (The Long March).

Cartoon book:

There is a cartoon book for youth about the life of the Roma Sofia Taikon, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp: 

Lundgren, G. et al. (2006). Sofia Z-4515 / Žofi Z-4515. Stockholm: Tranan; Podium. [Text written in Swedish and Romani]

Photo exhibition:

From the 27 January to 15 March 2009 there was in the Roma Cultural Centre (Romskt Kulturcentrum) in Stockholm the photo exhibition "Den okända Förintelsen" / "The Unknown Holocaust". The partners were "Ė Romani Gilda", the "Forum för levande historia" (Forum for Living History), the Delegation for Roma issues and the Roma Cultural Centre in Stockholm. The same exhibition was also held in the Fredsmuseum (Peace Museum) in Uppsala.

Literary café:

Related to the photo exhibition "The Unknown Holocaust", there was a literary café on the 28 January 2009 in the Roma Cultural Centre (Romskt Kulturcentrum) in Stockholm. On this occasion some Roma and Jewish writers talked about their own texts concerning the war and the Holocaust. Veijo Baltzar, Hans Caldaras and Gunilla Lundgren participated in the event.


The "Forum för levande historia" ("Forum for Living History") in Stockholm deals with the persecution and the Roma Genocide.

 Scientific publications

Bruchfeld, S. et al. (1998). detta må ni berätta...: en bok om Förintelsen i Europa 1933-1945. Stockholm: Regeringskansliet, Levande historia. [There are translations into many languages, including Arabic, Persian, Swedish Sign Language, DAISY digital talking book and Braille]

Bruchsfeld S., Levine, P. Tell Ye Your Children…, The Living History Forum, 2012 Pdf version

Caldaras, H. (2002). I betraktarens ögon. Stockholm: Prisma.

Johansen, J. H. (1990). Zigenarnas holocaust. Stockholm: Stehag, Symposium. [Original in Norwegian]

Kotljarchuk, A., "Natistskii genotsid tsygan. Sovetskaya i post-sovetskaya politika pamiati v sravnitel'noi perspektive",Conference paper presented at the international forum "Nazi Genocide of Roma and Jews in Eastern Europe: Research, Methodology and Source Issue". Ed. by Anna Abakunova. Russian Research and Educational Holocaust centre. Moscow. 2013.

Lundgren, G. et al. (2006). Sofia Z-4515 / Žofi Z-4515. Stockholm: Tranan; Podium. [Text written in Swedish and Romani]

Time-Life Books (ed.) (1993). Dödsapparaten. Höganäs: Bokorama. [Original in English]

 Multimedia material

Project "Levande Historia":
The "Forum för Levande Historia" in Stockholm conducts several projects related to the Holocaust, which include activities concerning the Roma.

Project "Testimonies of survivors Roma":
In 1999 / 2000 the "Romernas Riksförbund" ("Roma National Union") has recorded interviews with Roma survivors of concentration camps who live in Sweden.

European Roma Theatre Project:
The Roma Theater Pralipe, in partnership with several European institutions and cultural centres, prepared the play "With the guitar of seven strings", which is part of the European Roma Theatre Project "The forgotten Genocide". The performances took place in Germany, France, Sweden, Estonia, the Czech Republic or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The partners in this project are the Cultural Centre DROM (Finland, represented by Veijo Baltzar), the Roma Theater Pralipe (Germany), the Roma Cultural Centre in Stockholm (Sweden), the Estonian-Finnish Institute and the University of Tartu (Estonia), and the cultural centre "L'Espace d'un Instant" (Paris, France).
This theatre company - founded in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by Rahim Burhan - usually played in Romani. 


The Seminar on Romani Studies took place on April 29, 2009 at the University College Södertörn. David Gaunt presented a lecture on the Roma Genocide.

The "Stockholm International Conference on the Discrimination and Persecution of Roma, Sinti and Travellers" (5-7 March 2009) took place in the Stockholm University.

On the 6 March 2008 the Conference "Romer – en förföljd och diskriminerad minoritet; Ett seminarium om romernas situation – då och nu" (Roma - a persecuted and discriminated minority. A seminar on the Roma situation - then and now) took place in the "Etnografiska museet" in Stockholm. One of the lecturers was Hans Caldaras, director of the Roma Culrural Centre in Stockholm.

The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust took place in Stockholm from 26 to 28 January 2000. The topics and the activities included the Roma Genocide. There were as well workshops on the Holocaust, for instance "The Roma's Porrajaimos - The Forgotten Holocaust", held on 29 January 2000 in the Culture Centre of Stockholm (Kulturhuset).


1970: “Att Vara Zigarne” (Be a Roma). Documentary. Sweden. Director: Peter Nestler. 47 min.
Testimonies about the persecution and murder of German and Austrian Roma during the Nazi era, and also the consequences up to the present.

2013: The exile from Bassarabia, a documentary about the Roma Genocide made by the National Roma Center in cooperation with E-Romani Glinda from Sweden, 55:54