For a number of years, the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies (UCHS) has devoted efforts to the study and teaching of the history of different groups that fell victim to the National Socialist regime, as well as to comparing their destinies during World War II and in the postwar period. In respect of Roma (Gypsies), the Third Reich implemented the policy of persecution and “uprooting” from the society; that policy remained unexplored and pushed away to the roadside of academic research and societal memory for a long time. This is especially true of the tragic fate of Roma communities in the USSR territories occupied in 1941-1944, Ukraine in particular.
In the autumn of 2013, the UCHS, supported by the German Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation, launched a new three-year research and education project, The Genocide of Roma (Gypsies) during the occupation of Ukraine (1941-1944): Research, Teaching, and Commemoration. The research aim of the project lies in promoting the search of documentary sources and introducing them to scholarly use; recording oral historic accounts pertaining to the fate of the Roma living in the Ukrainian territories occupied during World War II; facilitating research by local historians in this direction. The educational goal of the project presupposes the cooperation of researchers with teachers from educational institutions; involvement of students in search activities; recording memories of the witnesses of genocide of the Roma; identifying Roma mass murder sites during World War II and their present-day condition; development by teachers of methodological materials for the teaching of this topic; and the writing of research works by students to be presented at the annual The History and Lessons of Holocaust contest run by the UCHS.
The UCHS is launching a new section of its website to promote the interaction of all those willing to join in the research of this scope of issues, as well as to create an online resource that will help find and utilize in work reference materials or recent literature on the subject. This page will offer visitors updates on latest developments within the project; bibliography and full text publications of Ukrainian and foreign researchers of Roma history and the genocide of Roma; guidance papers regarding search activities, ways of witness search and the rules of oral recounts recording, auxiliary materials for the preparation and writing of student research papers; as well as a forum to enable the exchange of opinions about the status quo and way forward of the project. We welcome everyone to contribute content to this section of our website. Please forward materials, queries and proposals to the project coordinator at the e-mail address: holocaust_studies[at]ukr.net.
Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies