The Second International Conference on the Genocide of the Roma: ˝Countering Holocaust Distortion and Anti-Roma Discrimination through Research and Education” was held in Zagreb on 11 and 12 September. The Croatian IHRA Presidency and the Croatian Romani Union “KALI SARA” jointly organized the conference. The conference featured seventeen expert presentations from nine countries, including seven IHRA experts. The hybrid style conference followed the “First International Conference on the Genocide of the Roma and Combating Antigypsyism” held in Stockholm in October 2022. The Stockholm Conference’s proposals to combat anti-Roma discrimination, to continue the work on remembering, memorialising, scientific study, and recognition and teaching on the Genocide of the Roma was also a focus of the Zagreb Conference’s.
Sara Lustig, IHRA Co-Chair, inaugurated the Zagreb Conference by highlighting the IHRA’s dedication as a significant international organization in teaching, commemoration, and research of the genocide of the Roma. Anna Mišková, the Chair of the IHRA’s Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, discussed how the Memorial to the Genocide of the Roma at Lety u Pisku is an illustration of how important it is to keep researching these topic and remembering its victims. MP Veljko Kajtazi, who represents the Roma minority in the Republic of Croatia, emphasized the Roma community’s ongoing and proactive efforts to create a system of culture that commemorates the Roma victims of genocide during the Second World War.
Key takeaways, main messages, requests and recommendations put forward by participants at the conference include:
- Following the example of the first two conferences, it is necessary to continue with similar efforts that would emphasize the importance of developing a culture of memory for the Roma victims of genocide during the Second World War and encourage further research efforts with the involvement of Roma representatives and organizations
- It is essential to continuously lay the groundwork for future research about the genocide of the Roma and to take action to educate the public about Roma suffering and anti-Roma discrimination, with the involvement of Roma representatives and organizations.
- In order to preserve and advance the culture of memory, particular attention was given to memorial institutions, both state-run and those whose activities are directed by local communities, as a prerequisite for the successful development of a culture of memory
- Special emphasis was placed on the development of the IHRA’s Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Persecution and Genocide of the Roma during the Nazi Era.
On 13 September, the Central Roma Library in Croatia, hosted a workshop on drafting the IHRA’s Recommendations, where members of the IHRA’s Project group on the Recommendations on teaching and learning about the persecution and the genocide of the Roma worked to create guidelines for educating teachers about the persecution and genocide of the Roma. They will continue with their work at the Zagreb IHRA Plenary.