The memories of European Sinti & Roma

Subaltern Memories International Conference 2023

Since 2022, the EUROM hosts an annual conference dedicated to the debate about the subaltern memories, a concept that refers to those memories related to certain social groups that have systematically suffered from marginalization and silencing. In this second edition, the discussions will focus on the memories of the Roma and Sinti in Europe. These communities have faced centuries of discrimination and persecution, including the Porraimos or Samudaripen, a sadly forgotten chapter of the Second World War where thousands of Sinti and Roma were victims of the Nazi genocide.

Picture: Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism in Berlin. Designed by Dani Karavan, the monument opened on October 24, 2012. 


In 20th-century Europe, the rise to power of Nazism in Germany intensified discriminatory laws against the Sinti and Roma people. The outbreak of the Second World War was a new stage of exclusion of these people in Germany and occupied countries that led to mass deportations to Nazi concentration and extermination camps. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 Sinti and Roma were killed in Europe during that period, in what is known as Porraimos or Samudaripen.

Hate speech towards and the stigmatization of the Sinti and Roma people continued in the following decades. During the Franco dictatorship in Spain, for example, Roma families were subject to measures particularly focused on them and always with the same goal: to make them feel that they were of a lower human category.

Despite all the exercises on memory performed afterwards, the Roma community is still far from receiving recognition and reparation. Even today, structural racism against the Roma, known as anti-Gypsyism or Romaphobia, is one of the causes of their exclusion throughout Europe. Addressing this is essential to ensure that the people of this community can enjoy the same rights as their fellow citizens throughout the European Union.

At this event we will explore the transformative potential of the exercise of historical and collective memory from different perspectives, either through public policies related to memory, art and culture or civil society initiatives. We will explore different ways to combat hate speech, contribute to reparation and guarantee non-repetition, as well as to create new inclusive opportunities in today’s society.


Simultaneous interpretation will be available (Catalan/Spanish-English)

9.30 – 10.00 a.m. Registration

10.00 am – 10.15 am Welcome and opening

10.15 – 11.30 a.m. Keynote: The German Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism

Jana Mechelhoff-Herezi, head of the Department of Commemoration of the Nazi Genocide of the European Sinti and Roma of the Memorial Foundation of the Murdered Jews of Europe (Germany).

Moderator: Oriol López (EUROM)

11.30 – 12.00 p.m. Coffee break

12.00 – 1.30 p.m. First table: Against discrimination, memory to stop Romaphobia. A European vision

Moderator: Núria Millan (Novact)

1.30 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. Pause

4.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. Screening of the documentary “Samudaripen. The forgotten Holocaust” (2015)


August, 2014.  A group of young women from the project Rromane Glasura(Roma Voices) travel to the former Nazi concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the annihilation of the Roma family camp the night of August 2, 1944. During one week, they join a group of over 1,000 Roma youngsters from all over the world. Together, they approach one of the worst atrocities of the recent history of humanity as well as the current reality of Sinti and Roma people, still full of racism and injustice. More than ever proud of their origin, they feel the inner need to understand the reasons for the historic mistreatment of Roma people and adopt a strong commitment to their own future.

Original Version with English subtitles

Duration: 40′ 10”
Director: Eva Cruells
Production: Rromane Glasura (Roma Voices)

5:00 p.m. Second table: Memory, anti-Francoism and the struggles against Romaphobia

  • Ricard Valentí (Associació Joves Gitanos de Gràcia, Rromanipe’s)
  • Paqui Perona (Rromane Glasura and Fundació Surt)
  • Gabriel Gómez (Helios Gómez Cultural Association)

Moderator: Fernanda Zanuzzi (EUROM)

6:30 p.m. Closing remarks

Organised by the European Observatory on Memories (EUROM) of the Solidarity Foundation of the University of Barcelona and the Institute Novact of Nonviolence, with the support of Barcelona City Council and co-founded by the European Union’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV).

Related videos

Playlist | The memories of European Sinti & Roma


This activity is co-financed by the European Commission and for its evaluation we kindly ask your collaboration in filling out this survey. It will take about 10 minutes, and you will need the information indicated below. Thank you very much!

  • Reference of the Project: 101104202
  • Kind of activity: Mutual Learning
  • Title: Subaltern Memories
  • Date of the activity: 21/1/2023
  • Duration of the event in days: 1
  • In Person
  • La Model. Memory Site.


La Model. Memory Site
c/ d’Entença, 155 – Barcelona

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