Serbia’s Forgotten Role in the Roma Holocaust

12/17/2018

At the outset of World War II, 60,000 Roma people lived in Serbia, and 300,000 in Yugoslavia as a whole. Researchers and experts say there is still no exact data on the number of Roma who were killed during World War II, but estimates suggest that 12,000 to 20,000 of them died in Serbia. Their deaths were a direct or indirect consequence of the Nazi occupiers’ rigorous anti-Roma laws, which were implemented by Serbia’s collaborationist regime. Activists, victims’ relatives, and experts argue that the “Samudaripen” or “Porajmos”—the Romani word for the Holocaust—is an almost forgotten crime in Serbia, and that little has been done to preserve the memory of those who were killed or persecuted. “There is a question of why no attention was given to the [persecution and killing of] Roma. No one was really interested,” Dragoljub Ackovic, a member of the Roma World Parliament who has done extensive research on the Roma Holocaust in Yugoslavia, told BIRN. “So, it seems like the Roma did not suffer at all.”

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Balkan Insight