The Romani genocide or the Romani Holocaust—also known as the Porajmos (Romani pronunciation: IPA: [pʰoɽajˈmos], meaning "the Devouring"), the Pharrajimos ("Cutting up", "Fragmentation", "Destruction"), and the Samudaripen ("Mass killing")—was the effort by Nazi Germany and its World War II allies to commit genocide against Europe's Romani people.
Under Adolf Hitler, a supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued on 26 November 1935, classifying Gypsies as "enemies of the race-based state", thereby placing them in the same category as the Jews. Thus, in some ways the fate of the Roma in Europe paralleled that of the Jews in the Jewish Holocaust.
Historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Germans and their collaborators—25% to over 50% of the slightly fewer than 1 million Roma in Europe at the time. Ian Hancock puts the death toll as high as 1.5 million.
In 1982, West Germany formally recognized that Germany had committed genocide against the Romani. In 2011, Poland officially adopted 2 August as a day of commemoration of the Romani genocide.
|Part of World War II|
Romani civilians in Asperg, Germany are rounded up for deportation by German authorities on 22 May 1940.
|Location||Nazi Germany and its occupied territories|
|Genocide, ethnic cleansing|
|Perpetrators||Nazi Germany and its allies|
|Motive||Antiziganism, Germanisation, Pan-Germanism|
The term porajmos (also porrajmos or pharrajimos—literally, "devouring" or "destruction" in some dialects of the Romani language) was introduced by Ian Hancock, in the early 1990s. Hancock chose the term, coined by a Kalderash Rom, from a number of suggestions in an "informal conversation in 1993".
The term is mostly used by activists and it is unknown to most Roma, including relatives of victims and survivors. Some Russian and Balkan Romani activists protest against the use of the word porajmos. In various dialects, porajmos is synonymous with poravipe which means "violation" and "rape", a term which some Roma consider offensive. János Bársony and Ágnes Daróczi, pioneering organisers of the Romani civil rights movement in Hungary, prefer the Pharrajimos, a Romani word meaning "cutting up", "fragmentation", "destruction". They argue against using porrajmos, saying it is marhime (unclean, untouchable): "[p]orrajmos is unpronounceable in the Roma community, and thus is incapable of conveying the sufferings of the Roma".
Balkan Romani activists prefer the term samudaripen ("mass killing"), first introduced by linguist Marcel Courthiade. Hancock dismisses this word, arguing that it does not conform to Romani language morphology. Some Ruska Roma activists offer the term Kali Traš ("Black Fear"). Another alternative that has been used is Berša Bibahtale ("The Unhappy Years"). Lastly, adapted borrowings such as Holokosto, Holokausto, etc. are also occasionally used in the Romani language.
Linguistically, the term porajmos is composed of the verb root porrav- and the abstract-forming nominal ending -imos. This ending is of the Vlax Romani dialect, whereas other varieties generally use -ibe(n) or -ipe(n). For the verb itself, the most commonly given meaning is "to open/stretch wide" or "to rip open", whereas the meaning "to open up the mouth, devour" occurs in fewer varieties.
In the late 19th century, the emergence of scientific racism and Social Darwinism, linking social differences with racial differences, provided the German public with justifications for prejudices against Jews and Roma. During this period, "the concept of race was systematically employed in order to explain social phenomena." This approach validated the belief that races were not variations of a single species of man but had distinctly different biological origins. It established a purportedly scientifically backed racial hierarchy, which defined certain minority groups as the other on the basis of biology.
In addition to racial pseudo-science, the end of the 19th century was a period of state-sponsored modernization in Germany. Industrial development altered many aspects of society. Most notably, the period shifted social norms of work and life. For Roma, this meant a denial of their traditional way of life as craftsmen and artisans. János Bársony notes that "industrial development devalued their services as craftsmen, resulting in the disintegration of their communities and social marginalization."
The developments of racial pseudo-science and modernization resulted in anti-Romani state interventions, carried out by both the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In 1899, the Imperial Police Headquarters in Munich established the Information Services on Romani by the Security Police. Its purpose was to keep records (identification cards, fingerprints, photographs, etc.) and continuous surveillance on the Roma community. Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas, and depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies.
The 1926 "Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy" was enforced in Bavaria, becoming the national norm by 1929. It stipulated that groups identifying as 'Gypsies' avoid all travel to the region. Those already living in the area were to "be kept under control so that there [was] no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land." They were forbidden from "roam[ing] about or camp[ing] in bands," and those "unable to prove regular employment" risked being sent to forced labor for up to two years. Herbet Heuss notes that "[t]his Bavarian law became the model for other German states and even for neighbouring countries." The demand for Roma to give up their nomadic ways and settle in a specific region was often the focus of anti-Romani policy both of the German Empire and Weimar Republic. Once settled, communities were concentrated and isolated in one area within a town or city. This process facilitated state-run surveillance practices and 'crime prevention.'
Following passage of the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy, public policy increasingly targeted the Roma on the explicit basis of race. In 1927, Prussia passed a law that required all Roma to carry identity cards. Eight thousand Roma were processed this way and subjected to mandatory fingerprinting and photographing. Two years later, the focus became more explicit. In 1929, the German state of Hessen proposed the 'Law for the Fight Against the Gypsy Menace.' The same year the Centre for the Fight Against Gypsies in Germany was opened. This body enforced restrictions on travel for undocumented Roma and "allowed for the arbitrary arrest and detention of gypsies as a means of crime prevention."
For centuries, Romani tribes had been subject to antiziganist persecution and humiliation in Europe. They were stigmatized as habitual criminals, social misfits, and vagabonds. When Hitler came to national power in 1933, anti-Gypsy laws in Germany remained in effect. Under the "Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals" of November 1933, the police arrested many Gypsies with others the Nazis viewed as "asocial" — prostitutes, beggars, homeless vagrants, and alcoholics — and imprisoned them in internment camps.
After Hitler's rise to power, legislation against the Romani was increasingly based upon a rhetoric of racism. Policy originally based on the premise of "fighting crime" was redirected to "fighting a people." Targeted groups were no longer determined by juridical grounds. Instead, they were victims of racialized policy.
The Department of Racial Hygiene and Population Biology began to experiment on Romani to determine criteria for their racial classification.
The Nazis established the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit (Rassenhygienische und Bevölkerungsbiologische Forschungsstelle, Department L3 of the Reich Department of Health) in 1936. Headed by Dr. Robert Ritter and his assistant Eva Justin, this Unit was mandated to conduct an in-depth study of the "Gypsy question (Zigeunerfrage)" and to provide data required for formulating a new Reich "Gypsy law". After extensive fieldwork in the spring of 1936, consisting of interviews and medical examinations to determine the racial classification of the Roma, the Unit determined that most Romani, whom they had concluded were not of "pure Gypsy blood", posed a danger to German racial purity and should be deported or eliminated. No decision was made regarding the remainder (about 10 percent of the total Romani population of Europe), primarily Sinti and Lalleri tribes living in Germany. Several suggestions were made. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler suggested deporting the Romani to a remote reservation, as had been done by the United States for its Native Americans, where "pure Gypsies" could continue their nomadic lifestyle unhindered. According to him:
The aim of measures taken by the State to defend the homogeneity of the German nation must be the physical separation of Gypsydom from the German nation, the prevention of miscegenation, and finally, the regulation of the way of life of pure and part-Gypsies. The necessary legal foundation can only be created through a Gypsy Law, which prevents further intermingling of blood, and which regulates all the most pressing questions which go together with the existences of Gypsies in the living space of the German nation.
Himmler took special interest into the "Aryan" origins of the Gypsies and distinguished between "settled" (assimilated) and "unsettled" Gypsies.
Although the Nazi regime never produced the "Gypsy Law" desired by Himmler, policies and decrees were passed which discriminated against the Gypsies. Gypsies were classified as "asocial" and "criminals" by the Nazi regime. Since 1935, Gypsies were placed in special camps. After 1937, the Nazis started to carry out racial examinations on the Gypsies living in Germany. In 1938, Himmler issued an order regarding the 'Gypsy question' which explicitly mentioned "race" which stated that it was "advisable to deal with the Gypsy question on the basis of race." The decree made it law to register all Gypsies (including Mischlinge), as well as those people who "travel around in a Gypsy fashion" over the age of 6. Although the Nazis believed that the Gypsies were originally Aryan, over time they were said to have become mixed race and were classified as "non-Aryan" and of an "alien race".
The Nuremberg race laws were passed on September 15, 1935. The first Nuremberg Law, the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor", forbade marriage and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans. The second Nuremberg law, "The Reich Citizenship Law," stripped Jews of their German citizenship. On November 26, 1935, Germany expanded the Nuremberg laws to also apply to the Roma. Romani, like Jews, lost their right to vote on March 7, 1936.
The Third Reich's government began persecuting the Romani as early as 1936 when they began to transfer the people to municipal internment camps on the outskirts of cities, a prelude to their deportation to concentration camps. A December 1937 decree on "crime prevention" provided the pretext for major roundups of Gypsies. Nine representatives of the Romani community in Germany were asked to compile lists of "pure-blooded" Romanis to be saved from deportation, but the Germans often ignored these lists and some individuals identified on them were still sent to concentration camps. Notable internment and concentration camps include Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Marzahn (which evolved from a municipal internment camp) and Vennhausen.
Initially, the Romani were herded into so-called ghettos, including the Warsaw Ghetto (April–June 1942), where they formed a distinct class in relation to the Jews. Ghetto diarist Emmanuel Ringelblum speculated that Romani were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto because the Germans wanted:
... to toss into the Ghetto everything that is characteristically dirty, shabby, bizarre, of which one ought to be frightened, and which anyway has to be destroyed.
Initially there was disagreement within the Nazi circles about how to solve the "Gypsy Question". In late 1939 and early 1940, Hans Frank, the General Governor of occupied Poland, refused to accept the 30,000 German and Austrian Roma which were to be deported to his territory. Heinrich Himmler "lobbied to save a handful of pure-blooded Roma", whom he believed to be an ancient Aryan people for his "ethnic reservation", but was opposed by Martin Bormann, who favored deportation for all Roma. The debate ended in 1942 when Himmler signed the order to begin the mass deportations of Roma to Auschwitz concentration camp. During Operation Reinhard (1941–43), an undetermined number of Roma were killed in the extermination camps, such as Treblinka.
The Nazi persecution of Roma was not regionally consistent. In France, between 3,000 and 6,000 Roma were deported to German concentration camps as Dachau, Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, and other camps. Further east, in the Balkan states and the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads, travelled from village to village massacring the inhabitants where they lived and typically leaving few to no records of the number of Roma killed in this way. In a few cases, significant documentary evidence of mass murder was generated. Timothy Snyder notes that in the Soviet Union alone there were 8,000 documented cases of Roma murdered by the Einsatzgruppen in their sweep east.
In return for immunity from prosecution for war crimes, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski stated at the Einsatzgruppen Trial that "the principal task of the Einsatzgruppen of the S.D. was the annihilation of the Jews, Gypsies and Political Commissars". Roma in the Slovak Republic were killed by local collaborating auxiliaries. Notably, in Denmark and Greece, local populations did not participate in the hunt for Roma as they did in the Baltics. Bulgaria and Finland, although allies of Germany, did not cooperate with the Porajmos, just as they did not cooperate with the Jewish Shoah.
On December 16, 1942, Himmler ordered that the Romani candidates for extermination should be transferred from ghettos to the extermination facilities of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On November 15, 1943, Himmler ordered that Romani and "part-Romanies" were to be put "on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps". The camp authorities housed Roma in a special compound that was called the "Gypsy family camp." Some 23,000 Roma, Sinti and Lalleri were deported to Auschwitz altogether. In concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Gypsies wore brown or black triangular patches, the symbol for "asocials," or green ones, the symbol for professional criminals, and less frequently the letter "Z" (meaning Zigeuner, German word for gypsy).
Historian Sybil Milton, a scholar of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, has speculated that Hitler was involved in the decision to deport all Romani to Auschwitz, as Himmler gave the order six days after meeting with Hitler. For that meeting, Himmler had prepared a report on the subject Führer: Aufstellung wer sind Zigeuner. Organized Jewish resistance occurred in nearly every large ghetto and concentration camp (Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka, Ravensbrück, and Buchenwald, among many others), and the Roma similarly attempted to resist the Nazis' extermination. In May 1944 at Auschwitz, SS guards tried to liquidate the Gypsy Family Camp and were "met with unexpected resistance". When ordered to come out, they refused, having been warned and arming themselves with crude weapons – iron pipes, shovels, and other tools used for labor. The SS chose not to confront the Roma directly and withdrew for several months. After transferring as many as 3,000 Roma who were capable of forced labor to Auschwitz I and other concentration camps, the SS moved against the remaining 2,898 inmates on August 2. The SS killed nearly all of the remaining inmates — most of them ill, elderly men, women, or children, in the gas chambers of Birkenau. At least 19,000 of the 23,000 Roma sent to Auschwitz perished there.
The Society for Threatened Peoples estimates the Romani deaths at 277,100. Martin Gilbert estimates that a total of more than 220,000 of the 700,000 Romani in Europe were killed, including 15,000 (mainly from the Soviet Union) in Mauthausen in January–May 1945. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum cites scholars who estimate the number of Sinti and Roma killed as between 220,000 and 500,000. Dr. Sybil Milton, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Research Institute, estimated the number of lives lost as "something between a half-million and a million-and-a-half".
Romani were also persecuted by the puppet regimes that cooperated with the Third Reich during the war, especially the notorious Ustaše regime in Croatia. Tens of thousands of Romani were killed in the Jasenovac concentration camp, along with Serbs, Jews, and Muslims. Yad Vashem estimates that the Porajmos was most intense in Yugoslavia, where around 90,000 Romani were killed. The Ustaše government also deported around 26,000. Serbian Romani were parties to the unsuccessful class action suit against the Vatican Bank and others in the U.S. federal court in which they sought the return of wartime loot.
The governments of some Nazi German allies, namely Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, also contributed to the Nazi plan of Romani extermination, but most Romani in these countries survived, unlike those in Ustaše Croatia or areas directly ruled by Nazi Germany (such as Poland). The Hungarian Arrow Cross government deported between 28,000 and 33,000 Romani out of a population that was estimated to be between 70,000 and 100,000.
The Romanian government of Ion Antonescu did not systematically exterminate the approximately 300,000 Roma on its territory. Some 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. See also the research of Michelle Kelso, presented in her film, Hidden Sorrows, based upon research amongst the survivors and in archives.
According to eyewitness Mrs. de Wiek, Anne Frank, a notable Jewish Holocaust victim, is recorded as having witnessed the prelude to the murder of Romani children at Auschwitz: "I can still see her standing at the door and looking down the camp street as a herd of naked gypsy girls were driven by, to the crematory, and Anne watched them going and cried."
In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Romani internees were sent to the Lety and Hodonín concentration camps before being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau for gassing. What makes the Lety camp unique is that it was staffed by Czech guards, who could be even more brutal than the Germans, as testified in Paul Polansky's book Black Silence. The genocide was so thorough that the vast majority of Romani in the Czech Republic today are actually descended from migrants from Slovakia who moved there during the post-war years in Czechoslovakia. In Nazi-occupied France, between 16,000 and 18,000 were killed.
The small Romani population in Denmark was not subjected to mass killings by the Nazi occupiers, instead, it was simply classified as "asocial". Angus Fraser attributes this to "doubts over ethnic demarcations within the travelling population". The Romanis of Greece were taken hostage and prepared for deportation to Auschwitz, but they were saved by appeals from the Archbishop of Athens and the Greek Prime Minister.
In 1934, 68 Romani, most of them Norwegian citizens, were denied entry into Norway, and they were also denied transit through Sweden and Denmark when they wanted to leave Germany. In the winter of 1943–1944, 66 members of the Josef, Karoli and Modis families were interned in Belgium and deported to the gypsy department in Auschwitz. Only four members of this group survived.
|Country||Roma population, 1939||Victims Low Estimate||Victims High Estimate|
|Czech Republic (Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia)||13,000||5,000||6,500|
|Soviet Union (1939 borders)||200,000||30,000||35,000|
Other estimates vary from 200,000 to 500,000 of the million Roma in Europe, though others propose much higher numbers. According to Ian Hancock, director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center at the University of Texas at Austin, almost the entire Romani population was killed in Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rudolph Rummel, the late professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii who spent his career assembling data on collective violence by governments toward their people (for which he coined the term democide), estimated that 258,000 must have been killed in Europe, 36,000 in Romania under Ion Antonescu and 27,000 in Ustaše-controlled Croatia.
In a 2010 publication, Ian Hancock stated that he agrees with the view that the number of Romanies killed has been underestimated as a result of being grouped with others in Nazi records under headings such as "remainder to be liquidated", "hangers-on", and "partisans". He notes recent evidence such as the previously obscure Lety concentration camp in the Czech Republic and Ackovic's revised estimates of Romani killed by the Ustaše as high as 80,000–100,000. These numbers suggest that previous estimates have been grossly underrepresented.
Another distinctive feature of both the Porajmos and the Holocaust was the extensive use of human subjects in medical experiments. The most notorious of these physicians was Dr. Josef Mengele, who worked in the Auschwitz concentration camp. His experiments included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change their eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes and various amputations and other brutal surgeries. The full extent of his work will never be known because the truckload of records he sent to Dr. Otmar von Verschuer at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was destroyed by von Verschuer. Mengele's own journals, consisting of some 3,300 pages, are likely never to be published, and they are suspected to contain denials of the Holocaust. Subjects who survived Mengele's experiments were almost always killed and dissected shortly afterwards.
He seemed particularly keen on working with Romani children. He would bring them sweets and toys, and would personally take them to the gas chamber. They would call him "Onkel Mengele". Vera Alexander was a Jewish inmate at Auschwitz who looked after 50 sets of Romani twins:
I remember one set of twins in particular: Guido and Ina, aged about four. One day, Mengele took them away. When they returned, they were in a terrible state: they had been sewn together, back to back, like Siamese twins. Their wounds were infected and oozing pus. They screamed day and night. Then their parents—I remember the mother's name was Stella—managed to get some morphine and they killed the children in order to end their suffering.
The German government paid war reparations to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but not to the Romani. There were "never any consultations at Nuremberg or any other international conference as to whether the Sinti and Roma were entitled like the Jews to reparations." The Interior Ministry of Wuerttemberg argued that "Gypsies [were] persecuted under the Nazis not for any racial reason but because of an asocial and criminal record". When on trial for his leadership of Einsatzgruppen in the USSR, Otto Ohlendorf cited the massacres of Romanis during the Thirty Years War as a historical precedent.
West Germany recognised the genocide of the Roma in 1982, and since then the Porajmos has been increasingly recognized as a genocide committed simultaneously with the Shoah. The American historian Sybil Milton wrote several articles arguing that the Porajmos deserved recognition as part of the Holocaust. In Switzerland, a committee of experts investigated the policy of the Swiss government during the Porajmos.
Formal recognition and commemoration of the Roma persecution by the Nazis has been difficult in practical terms due to the lack of significant collective memory and documentation of the Porajmos among the Roma. This is a result both of their tradition of oral history and illiteracy, heightened by widespread poverty and continuing discrimination that has forced some Roma out of state schools. One UNESCO report put the illiteracy rate among the Roma in Romania at 30 percent, as opposed to the near universal literacy of the Romanian public as a whole. In a 2011 investigation of the state of the Roma in Europe today, Ben Judah, a Policy Fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations, traveled to Romania.
There is a difference between the Jewish and Roma deportees ... The Jews were shocked and can remember the year, date and time it happened. The Roma shrugged it off. They said, "Of course I was deported. I'm Roma; these things happen to a Roma." The Roma mentality is different from the Jewish mentality. For example, a Roma came to me and asked, "Why do you care so much about these deportations? Your family was not deported." I went, "I care as a Roma" and the guy said back, "I do not care because my family were brave, proud Roma that were not deported."
For the Jews it was total and everyone knew this—from bankers to pawnbrokers. For the Roma it was selective and not comprehensive. The Roma were only exterminated in a few parts of Europe such as Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and France. In Romania and much of the Balkans, only nomadic Roma and social outcast Roma were deported. This matters and influences the Roma mentality.
Ian Hancock has also observed a reluctance among Roma to acknowledge their victimization by the Third Reich. The Roma "are traditionally not disposed to keeping alive the terrible memories from their history—nostalgia is a luxury for others". The effects of the illiteracy, the lack of social institutions, and the rampant discrimination faced by Roma in Europe today have produced a people who, according to Fortuna, lack a "national consciousness ... and historical memory of the Holocaust because there is no Roma elite."
The first memorial commemorating victims of the Romani Holocaust was erected on 8 May 1956, in the Polish village of Szczurowa commemorating the Szczurowa massacre. Since 1996, a Gypsy Caravan Memorial has been traveling among the main remembrance sites in Poland, from Tarnów via Auschwitz, Szczurowa and Borzęcin Dolny, gathering the Romani and well-wishers in the remembrance of the Porajmos. Several museums dedicate a part of their permanent exhibition to documenting that history, such as the Museum of Romani Culture in Czech Republic and the Ethnographic Museum in Tarnów in Poland. Some political organisations have tried to block the installation of Romani memorials near former concentration camps, as shown by the debate over Lety and Hodonin in the Czech Republic.
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. Before recognizing Romania's role in the Porajmos, Traian Băsescu was widely quoted after an incident on 19 May 2007, in which he insulted a journalist by calling her a "stinky gypsy". The president subsequently apologized.
On 27 January 2011, Zoni Weisz became the first Roma guest of honour at Germany's official Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony. Dutch-born Weisz escaped death during a Nazi round-up when a policeman allowed him to escape. Nazi injustices against the Roma were recalled at the ceremony, including that directed at Sinto boxer Johann Trollmann.
On 5 May 2012 the world premiere of the Requiem for Auschwitz, by composer Roger Moreno Rathgeb, was performed at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam by The Roma and Sinti Philharmoniker directed by Riccardo M Sahiti. The Philharmoniker is a pan-European orchestra of Roma and Sinto musicians generally employed by other classical orchestras; it is focused on the contribution of Roma culture to classical music. Dutch-Swiss Sinto Moreno Rathgeb wrote his requiem for all victims of Auschwitz and Nazi terror. The occasion of the premiere was coupled to a conference, Roma between Past and Future. The requiem has since been performed in Tilburg, Prague, Budapest, Frankfurt, Cracow, and Berlin.
On 24 October 2012 the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism was unveiled in Berlin. since 2010, ternYpe – International Roma Youth Network, organizes a commemoration week called "Dikh he na bister" (look and don't forget) about 2 August in Kraków and Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2014 they organised the largest Youth Commemoration Ceremony in history, attracting more than 1000 young Roma and non-Roma from 25 countries. This initiative of ternYpe Network was held under the European Parliament's High Patronage granted by President Martin Schulz.
The 2016 Rohingya persecution in Myanmar occurred in late 2016 when Myanmar's armed forces and police started a major crackdown on Rohingya people in Rakhine State in the country's northwestern region. The Burmese military have been accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide by various United Nations agencies, International Criminal Court officials, human rights groups, journalists, and governments including the United States. The United Nations has found evidence of wide-scale human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, arson and infanticides, which the Burmese government dismisses as "exaggerations".The military crackdown on the Rohingya people has drawn criticism from the United Nations (which cited possible "crimes against humanity"), the human rights group Amnesty International, the U.S. Department of State, the government of neighboring Bangladesh, and the government of Malaysia (where many Rohingya refugees have fled). The Myanmar leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has particularly been criticized for her inaction and silence over the issue and for doing little to prevent military abuses. On 27 September 2018 members of the Canadian Parliament voted unanimously to dispossess Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship for the atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.Burundian genocides
Since Burundi's independence in 1962, there have been two events called genocides in the country. The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army, and the 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the majority-Hutu populace are both described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 1996.Cultural genocide
Cultural genocide or cultural cleansing is a concept that lawyer Raphael Lemkin distinguished in 1944 as a component of genocide. The term was considered in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and juxtaposed next to the term "ethnocide", but it was removed in the final document, and simply replaced with "genocide". The precise definition of "cultural genocide" remains unclear. Some ethnologists, such as Robert Jaulin, use the term "ethnocide" as a substitute for "cultural genocide", although this usage has been criticized as engendering a risk of confusing ethnicity with culture.Democide
Democide is a term proposed by R. J. Rummel since at least 1994 who defined it as "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command". According to him, this definition covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by "unofficial" private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings. This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government.Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder not covered by the term genocide. According to Rummel, democide surpassed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century.Ethnocide
Ethnocide refers to extermination of national culture as a genocide component.Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.Eva Justin
Eva Justin (23 August 1909 – 11 September 1966) was a German anthropologist during the Nazi era. She specialised in so-called scientific racism. Her work contributed to the Nazi crimes against the Sinti and Roma peoples.Final Solution
The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II. The "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" was the official code name for the murder of all Jews within reach, which was not restricted to the European continent. This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geopolitical terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference held near Berlin, and culminated in the Holocaust, which saw the killing of 90% of Polish Jews, and two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.The nature and timing of the decisions that led to the Final Solution is an intensely researched and debated aspect of the Holocaust. The program evolved during the first 25 months of war leading to the attempt at "murdering every last Jew in the German grasp". Most historians agree, wrote Christopher Browning, that the Final Solution cannot be attributed to a single decision made at one particular point in time. "It is generally accepted the decision-making process was prolonged and incremental." In 1940, following the Fall of France, Adolf Eichmann devised the Madagascar Plan to move Europe's Jewish population to the French colony, but the plan was abandoned for logistical reasons, mainly a naval blockade. There were also preliminary plans to deport Jews to Palestine and Siberia. In 1941, wrote Raul Hilberg, in the first phase of the mass murder of Jews, the mobile killing units began to pursue their victims across occupied eastern territories; in the second phase, stretching across all of German-occupied Europe, the Jewish victims were sent on death trains to centralized extermination camps built for the purpose of systematic implementation of the Final Solution.Flag of the Romani people
The Romani flag or flag of the Roma (Romani: O styago le romengo) is the international flag of the Romani people. It was approved by the representatives of various Romani communities at the first World Romani Congress (WRC), held in Orpington in 1971. The flag consists of a background of blue and green, representing the heavens and earth, respectively; it also contains a 16-spoke red chakra, or cartwheel, in the center. The latter element stands for the itinerant tradition of the Romani people and is also an homage to the flag of India, added to the flag by scholar Weer Rajendra Rishi. This design was especially popular in Socialist Yugoslavia, which awarded it official recognition upon adoption.
The first of several ancestors for the WRC flag is a bicolor reportedly flown by the Romanian Romanies during the 1930s, and revived internationally during the 1960s. A tricolor version, flown by survivors of the Romani genocide, fell out of use due to allegations that it stood for communism. The definitive variant designed in 1971 gained in popularity over the subsequent decades, being especially associated with groups promoting transnational unity of the people and combating its designation as "Gypsies". The flag was promoted by actor Yul Brynner and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and also adopted by Florin Cioabă, self-proclaimed "King of the Roma".
The Orpington Congress never provided specifications for the flag, which exists in various versions and has many derivatives. Several countries and communities have recognized it officially during the 2010s, but its display has also sparked controversy in various parts of the European Union. Derivatives also became widely used in Romani political symbolism during the same period. However, inside the scholarly community, the Romani flag has been criticized as Eurocentric, and its display as a perfunctory solution to issues facing the ethnic group it represents.Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger
Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger (8 May 1894 – 10 May 1945) was a Nazi official and high-ranking member of the SA and the SS. Between 1939 and 1943 he was the Higher SS and Police Leader in the General Government in German-occupied Poland and in that capacity he organized and supervised numerous acts of crimes against humanity and had a major responsibility for the Holocaust. At the end of the war, he committed suicide.Genocidal rape
Genocidal rape is the action of a group who has carried out acts of mass rape during wartime against their perceived enemy as part of a genocidal campaign. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Yugoslav Wars, and the Rwandan genocide, the mass rapes that had been an integral part of those conflicts brought the concept of genocidal rape to international prominence. Although war rape has been a recurrent feature in conflicts throughout history, it has usually been looked upon as a by-product of conflict, and not an integral part of military policy.The violence against women during the Partition of India has also been cited as an example of genocidal rape.Genocide
Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group) in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος ("race, people") and the Latin suffix -caedo ("act of killing"). The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe;The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group", including the systematic harm or killing of its members, deliberately imposing living conditions that seek to "bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", preventing births, or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group.The term has been applied to the Holocaust, and many other mass killings including the genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek genocide, the Assyrian genocide, the Serbian genocide, the Holodomor, the Indonesian genocide, the Guatemalan genocide, the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, the Cambodian genocide, and after 1980 the Bosnian genocide, the Anfal genocide, the Darfur genocide, and the Rwandan genocide. Others are listed in Genocides in history and List of genocides by death toll.
The Political Instability Task Force estimated that, between 1956 and 2016, a total of forty-three genocides took place, causing the death of about 50 million people. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008.Genocide of Shias by ISIL
The genocide of Shia Muslims by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) refers to the genocide within its formerly controlled areas in Iraq and Syria.
Despite being the religious majority in Iraq, Shia Muslims have been killed in large numbers by ISIL. On 12 June 2014, ISIL killed 1,700 unarmed Shia Iraqi Army cadet recruits in the Camp Speicher massacre. ISIL has also targeted Shia prisoners. According to witnesses, after the militant group took the city of Mosul, they divided the Sunni prisoners from the Shia prisoners. Up to 670 Shia prisoners were then taken to another location and executed. Kurdish officials in Erbil reported on the incident of Sunni and Shia prisoners being separated and Shia prisoners being killed after the Mosul prison fell to ISIL.Amnesty International has held ISIL responsible for the ethnic cleansing of ethnic and religious minority groups in northern Iraq (Christians and Yezidis) on a "historic scale", putting entire communities "at risk of being wiped off the map of Iraq". In a special report released on 2 September 2014, it described how ISIL had "systematically targeted non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, of individuals and forcing more than tens of thousands of Shias, Sunnis, along with other minorities to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014". The most targeted Shia groups in Nineveh Governorate were Shia Turkmens and Shabak, who have lived together for centuries in Nineveh, large parts of which came under ISIL's control from mid-2014 to late 2017.Genocides in central Africa
In the waning years of the 20th century, ten million people were murdered in various remote parts of Central Africa. It is not a single genocide but a collection of ethnic wars which raged from Sudan, the Congo, through to Uganda and Rwanda.Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law on May 28, 1830 by United States President Andrew Jackson. The law authorized the president to negotiate with southern Native American tribes for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in exchange for white settlement of their ancestral lands. The act has been referred to as a unitary act of systematic genocide, because it completely discriminated against an ethnic group, to the point of certain death of vast numbers of its population. The Act was signed by Andrew Jackson and it was strongly enforced under his administration and that of Martin Van Buren, which extended until 1841.The Act was strongly supported by southern and northeast populations, with much resistance, however from native tribes and the Whig Party. The Cherokee worked together to stop this relocation, but were unsuccessful; they were eventually forcibly removed by the United States government in a march to the west that later became known as the Trail of Tears.Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
The Cambodian Killing Fields (Khmer: វាលពិឃាត, Khmer pronunciation: [ʋiəl pikʰiət]) are a number of sites in Cambodia where collectively more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime (the Communist Party of Kampuchea), during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970–1975). The mass killings are widely regarded as part of a broad state-sponsored genocide (the Cambodian genocide).
Analysis of 20,000 mass grave sites by the DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University indicates at least 1,386,734 victims of execution. Estimates of the total deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including death from disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a 1975 population of roughly 8 million. In 1979, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime; viewed as ending the genocide.
The Cambodian journalist Dith Pran coined the term "killing fields" after his escape from the regime.The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Thai, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Cham, Cambodian Christians, and the Buddhist monkhood were the demographic targets of persecution. As a result, Pol Pot has been described as "a genocidal tyrant." Martin Shaw described the Cambodian genocide as "the purest genocide of the Cold War era."Ben Kiernan estimates that about 1.7 million people were killed. Researcher Craig Etcheson of the Documentation Center of Cambodia suggests that the death toll was between 2 and 2.5 million, with a "most likely" figure of 2.2 million. After 5 years of researching some 20,000 grave sites, he concludes that "these mass graves contain the remains of 1,386,734 victims of execution." A UN investigation reported 2–3 million dead, while UNICEF estimated 3 million had been killed. Demographic analysis by Patrick Heuveline suggests that between 1.17 and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed, while Marek Sliwinski suggests that 1.8 million is a conservative figure. Even the Khmer Rouge acknowledged that 2 million had been killed—though they attributed those deaths to a subsequent Vietnamese invasion. By late 1979, UN and Red Cross officials were warning that another 2.25 million Cambodians faced death by starvation due to "the near destruction of Cambodian society under the regime of ousted Prime Minister Pol Pot", who were saved by international aid after the Vietnamese invasion.List of genocides by death toll
This list of genocides by death toll includes death toll estimates of all deaths that are either directly or indirectly caused by genocide. It does not include non strictly-genocidal mass killing (variously called mass murder, crimes against humanity, politicide, policide, classicide, war crimes) such as the Thirty Years War (7.5 million deaths), Japanese war crimes (3 to 14 million deaths), the Red Terror (100,000 to 1.3 million deaths), the Atrocities in the Congo Free State (1 to 15 million deaths), the Great Purge (0.6 to 1.75 million deaths) or the Great Leap Forward (15 to 55 million deaths).
The United Nations Genocide Convention defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". Various other definitions can be found in scholarly literature and national law of different countries.Massacres of Hutu refugees during the First Congo War
Massacres of Hutu refugees during the First Congo War refers to the killing of Rwandan, Congolese and Burundian Hutu men, women and children in villages and refugee camps then hunted down while fleeing across the territory of Democratic Republic of Congo from October 1996 to May 1997. .The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia
The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia refers primarily to the genocide of Jews, but sometimes also include that of Serbs (the "Genocide of the Serbs") and Romani (Porajmos), during World War II within the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist puppet state ruled by the Ustashe regime, that included most of the territory of modern-day Croatia, the whole of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and the eastern part of Syrmia (Serbia). 90% of Croatian Jews were exterminated in Ustashe-run concentration camps like Jasenovac and others, while a considerable number of Jews were rounded up and turned over by the Ustashe for extermination in Nazi Germany.Utilitarian genocide
Utilitarian genocide is one of five forms of genocide categorized and defined in 1975 by genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian.Utilitarian genocide is distinctly different from ideologically-motivated genocides like the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide. This form of genocide has as its aim some form of material gain, such as the seizure of territory in order to gain control of economic resources for commercial exploitation. Two given examples of this form are the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil and the genocide of indigenous peoples in Paraguay.This form of genocide was highly prominent during the European colonial expansions into the Americas, Oceania, and Africa. The colonial expansion into the Americas was markedly different in its approaches to the accumulation of wealth. The French colonization of the Americas through exploitation and the fur trade had a minor impact on the indigenous peoples. The Spanish colonization of the Americas however was devastating to the indigenous population, as was the British colonization of the Americas. Dadrian has also given as further examples of utilitarian genocide the murders of Moors and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition and the killing of Cherokee Indians during the colonial expansion of the United States.This type of genocide has continued into the twentieth century, with the ongoing genocide of indigenous tribes in the rain forests of South America primarily due to progress and the development of resources within their territories; these regions are exploited for economic gain the indigenous peoples are considered a "hindrance" and are forcibly relocated or killed.