Institute of Contemporary History,
Czech Academy of Sciences and
Seminar of Romani Studies at the Charles University,
in partnership with the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno
15 October 2018 - 4:30 PM
For an invitation in pdf, please download here. For a poster in pdf, please download here. The workshop will take place at the French Institute, Štěpánská 35, Prague 1 Program of the workshop 16:30-18:00 HISTORICAL...
12 June 2018 - 9:30 AM
An international workshop for registered participants organized at NYU in Prague. The workshop will focus on analysing the reasoning behind the forced sterilization of Roma in the Czech(oslovak) Republic in the context of...
21 May 2018 - 6 PM
This public discussion about future research into the Holocaust of Roma and the Lety site will feature Czech and Slovak speakers, Romani as well as non-Romani. The reflection of the topics central to this research and the...
The year 2017 has brought an important victory for the Romani community and those parts of Czech society that have been critical toward the existence of the pig farm on the site of the wartime “gypsy camp” in Lety u Písku and toward the general Czech(oslovak) society and its authorities ignoring the shameful state of the site. While the removal of the farm was finally approved and budgeted for by the Czech Government and the management of the site handed over to the Museum of Romani Culture, these public activities cannot end with the erection of a decent memorial. The organizers of the Prague Forum Workshops aim to contribute to what is a much-needed public discussion about the Roma in Czech(oslovak) society, not just about their fate during the Holocaust, but also about its aftermath.
The workshops and public events planned for 2018 will thus put the genocide of the Roma into broader historical and political context, emphasizing not just the specific history of the camp at Lety, but also the history and meaning of the site for contemporary Czech society (non-Romani and Romani members alike). To stimulate a reappraisal of the consequences of the wartime history and the postwar (dis)continuities of policies, social practices and mindsets, we propose to address another important, interconnected topic, the forced sterilization of Romani women. Forced sterilization was widely used by the Nazis, but the latest victims of such abuses in the Czech Republic and Slovakia date from the 2000s. Both topics – the memorial at Lety and acknowledgement of the need to compensate victims of forced sterilization – heavily burden relations between the Roma and non-Roma in the Czech Republic today.
The aim of our public events is to contribute to the academic, public and political discussions about the situation of the Roma in Czech society, which to date have been encumbered by prejudices, ignorance, and a lack of international contextualization. In agreement with the aim of the Forum, we want to further discussions on these topics with specialists in the field from the Czech Republic, Europe and the US, and what is more, we also favour the inclusion of all these topics into the master narrative of Czech/European history. Topics from Roma history and present times should not just be analyzed by specialists in Romani Studies. We also stress the key importance of the agency of the Roma in our activities, as well as the availability of all our activities to the interested general public, including the local Romani population, so that they can take part and contribute to the discussions. This is why we involve Roma and Sinti intellectuals and artists in our activities and why we also decided to offer simultaneous translation of all planned debates featuring international guests into Czech. Certain events will also be available as subtitled video recordings in order to broaden the audience.