The Forgotten Genocide 2010

In the spring of 2010 the Drom Association organized in Helsinki an international series of events "The Forgotten Genocide" dedicated to the Roma Holocaust. The former president of Finland Tarja Halonen acted as the patron of the project.

The main event of the project was international scholarly seminar "The Roma and the Holocaust" on the history and present situation of the Roma at the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki 8-9 April 2010. Although the Roma Holocaust has been officially recognized, it is still far from being processed historically. It is also a subject that has remained unknown to most Europeans.
"The Forgotten Genocide" was the first series of events ever organized in Finland that discussed the European Roma Holocaust as well as the persecution of the Roma during and after WWII in Finland. The event received significant visibility both nationally and internationally.
The objective of this project was to make the Roma Holocaust known to the public especially in Finland and other Nordic countries, and to encourage other European countries towards active awareness and recognition of history. The seminar dealt largely with the history of the Roma during the Second World War and the present situation of Roma in Europe. Many important issues were raised which the Drom Association continues to address, leading to creation of many new initiatives by Drom in Finland and internationally.
The first day of the seminar addressed the history and fates of the Roma during the Second World War in Finland and Europe. The second day focused on the present political situation and human rights of Roma in Europe.

"The Roma and the Holocaust" seminar featured recognized Finnish and foreign experts as speakers. The international experts came from Serbia, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Spain. The proceedings were chaired by former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Roma Council Pekka Haavisto, Cultural Counsellor Veijo Baltzar and Taito Lehmusta.

Seminar’s chairmen, former Finland’s PM Paavo Lipponen and Taito Lehmusta, secretary Nina Castén.

Leader of the project, author Veijo Baltzar

"The Roma must be recognized as a nation among nations and they must be encouraged to act for the good of their nation. Concrete and far-reaching action for the benefit of the Roma is needed in Europe. These measures include, among others, political decisions for improving the position of the Roma in Europe and
measures and projects in support of Roma culture and identity."

- Veijo Baltzar

The "Barvalo Drom" exhibition introduced history, culture and art of Finnish and European Roma. It presented the Roma Holocaust as well as the vitality and creativity of the Roma people. The exhibition was opened by Helsinki City Mayor Jussi Pajunen.

The purpose of the exhibitions and Gypsy music concert series was to show the resilience of the Roma people and that their rich, diverse and vital culture lives on in Europe.

Partners and associates of the project

The project was realized in collaboration with various parties. City of Helsinki Cultural Office, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies of the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Historical Society were actively involved in preparation and realization of the project. Finland’s former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen and Member of Parliament Pekka Haavisto (chairman of the Roma Council) actively participated in the planning and realization of the events.

Other associate include:

Caisa Cultural Centre

Savoy Theatre

Goethe-Institut

Embassy of Czech Republic

Embassy of Austria

Embassy of Sweden

Embassy of the Netherlands

Magazine Romani Glinda (Sweden)

Goethe-Institut in Helsinki produced the photographic exhibition "Die Zigeuner von W." as part of the events of The Forgotten Genocide.

The Embassy of Netherlands assisted participation of Anne Frank Foundation’s representative at the event. This led to cooperation between Drom and Anne Frank foundation, leading to creation of the exhibition "Miranda - the Roma Holocaust. Who's afraid of the White Man?" in 2011. Embassy of the Netherlands provided economic support for the exhibition project at early stages of its production.