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Representing genocide. The Nazi massacre of Roma in Babi Yar in Soviet and Ukrainian Historical culture
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, Institute of Contemporary History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9741-2145
2015 (English)In: Baltic Worlds, ISSN 2000-2955, no 28 majArticle in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Thousands of Roma were killed in Ukraine between 1941 and 1944 by Nazi einsatzgruppen and local collaborators. The Romani victims were practically never deported to extermination camps but instead their bodies were left where they had been murdered. Babi Yar (Babyn Yar in Ukrainian) in Kyiv is considered a single largest Holocaust massacre in Europe. The place is a chine of seven deep ravines in the north-western part of the city. There on September 29-30, 1941, more than 33,000 Jews were exterminated by Nazis in a single mass killing. In 1941-43 hundreds of Ukrainian Roma were also murdered there. The total number of victims (Jews, Roma, underground fighters, mentally ill people, Ukrainian nationalists) killed in Babi Yar is estimated to 100,000 people. However in the postwar report published by the Extraordinary Commission for Investigation of War Crimes (ChGK), the Roma were not specified, they were rather counted as ”murdered civil citizens”. The Soviet leadership discouraged placing any emphasis on the ethnic aspects of this genocide. In April 1945 the leading Soviet newspaper Pravda informed their readers that according to the party decision a memorial and a museum will be built in Babi Yar. Nothing was done. The Nazi policy of extermination of Roma was neglected; the war was depicted as a tragedy for all Soviet peoples.  Until 1966 the site of mass killing in Babi Yar was unmarked and the first monument was built only in 1976 after a number of protest actions.Despite the silence on the Jewish and Roma genocides, the 1976 Soviet memorial legalized practices of memory. Every year September 29 the monument was visited not only by Jews but also Roma. It was then that the Romani tradition was born to bring to the monument the photos of relatives murdered by the Nazis. This practice continues to this day. By this ceremony the Roma are trying to overcome the problem of de-personalization of the genocide victims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. no 28 maj
Keyword [en]
representing genocide, The Nazi massacre of Roma, Soviet historical culture, Ukrainian historical culture
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Historical Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-31450OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-31450DiVA: diva2:1057974
Conference
“Nazi genocide of Roma in Soviet and Ukrainian historical culture”, the open lecture at Erasmus University Rotterdam, March 17, 2015.
Projects
Romernas förintelse i Ukraina 1941-44: historia, minnen, representationer
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 1560/42/2011
Available from: 2016-12-19 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

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http://balticworlds.com/the-nazi-massacre-of-roma-in-babi-yar-in-soviet-and-ukrainian-historical-culture/

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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