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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) organises academic events in order to provide the broader public as well as an expert audience with regular insights into the most recent research results in the fields of Holocaust, genocide, and racism research. These events, some of which extend beyond academia in the stricter sense, take on different formats ranging from small lectures to the larger Simon Wiesenthal Lectures and from workshops addressing an expert audience to larger international conferences and the Simon Wiesenthal Conferences. This reflects the institute’s wide range of activities.


The range of events further extends to the presentation of selected new publications on the institute’s topics of interest, interventions in the public space, the film series VWI Visuals, and the fellows’ expert colloquia.



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VWI invites/goes to...
Volha Bartash: Survival as a Daily Routine. History and Memory of the Nazi Genocide among Roma from the Belarusian-Lithuanian Border Region

Wednesday, 20. January 2016, 17:00 - 19:00

Romano Centro, Hofmannsthalgasse 2, Lokal 2, 1030 Wien


VWI goes to the Romano Centro

Along with the Jewish minority, the Roma of the Lithuanian-Belarusian border region were affected by the National Socialist genocide. Despite this fact, not much is known about their suffering and struggle for survival: the survivors have not left us any memoirs while archival records cannot provide insight into the life of local Romani communities.

bartash 1Therefore, ethnographic fieldwork among Roma opens up a completely new perspective on the life of people under occupation. For them, survival was an everyday routine consisting of three essential “how and where” questions: where to hide, how to provide for their families and how to keep on the move.

Combining different kinds of evidence, this presentation will address the following questions: what were Romani responses to the Nazi persecution and what strategies did they initiate to survive? How did the survival strategies differ among sedentary and nomadic communities? What forms did the Romani Resistance take and how did Roma enter partisan units? What was the impact of local inter-ethnic relations on the fates of Roma under occupation?

The second part of the presentation will focus on the commemoration practices of the local Romani communities in order to show how the victims of the Nazi genocide are remembered today and what place the mass graves of Roma occupy in the memorial landscape of the border region.

Comments by Gerhard Baumgartner

Volha Bartash, Research Fellow at the VWI, received her PhD in anthropology from the K. Krapiva Institute of Study of Arts, Ethnography, and Folklore at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in 2011. She was a fellow at the USHMM, Washington DC, and the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her dissertation is entitled Family Relationships and Social Organization of Roma in Belarus in the Second Half of the 20th to the Beginning of the 21st Century. She received the Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar’s Prize in Romani Studies.

Gerhard Baumgartner is a historian and Director of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW).

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Click here to download the invitation as a PDF file.

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