The Forum consisted of 2 parts – a scientific conference on the above mentioned topic and the opening of the exhibition “Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria”. The academic part of the Forum included 2 sections and a round-table discussion. Leading scholars from 8 Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Israel, and France presented and participated in the Forum.The first Section was devoted to studying and teaching the topic of the annihilation of Roma and Jews, focusing on post-Soviet space. In this section of the Forum, the participants dealt with the contemporary situation in the field of Romani and Jewish Genocide Studies. Co-chairman of the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center Professor Ilya Altman summarized the overall development of Holocaust Studies in Russia over the last 20 years. Head of the Archive Department of Russian Holocaust Center Leonid Tyorushkin devoted his report to documental sources concerning the Holocaust and destruction of Romani in Latvia, noting the contemporary conditions of this issue.
The second Section was devoted to various aspects of Romani and Jews persecution that had heretofore received little attention. An interesting report in this section was presented by the director of the “Historical Memory” Foundation Alexandr Dyukov, who told about the Lithuanian Activist Front and their anti- Semitic policy in the year 1940. Kiril Feferman, Head of Research and Educational Departments of Russian Holocaust Center, gave a talk on Jewish attitudes towards evacuation and escape from the Wehrmacht invasion of the territories of the USSR in early 1941. A pioneering report about an almost unknown aspect of Roma studies, namely the issue of how the “Roma Question” was presented in the collaborationist media was given by Doctor of History and professor of Novgorod State University Boris Kovalyov.In addition, the report of Dr. Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was read out. Dr. Samuels couldn’t be present in person, but in spite of this had sent his report to the Forum about the international policy of memory concerning the Jewish and Romani tragedies and the necessity of the struggle against contemporary anti-Semitism and Romophobia.
This Forum was the first event in post-Soviet space to place the issues of Roma and Jewish genocide on equal footing in terms of quantity and quality of presentations, and to provide a space for representatives of various scholarly communities, schools of thought and perspectives from the West as well as the East.
After the ending of the Forum’s academic part, a ceremonial opening of the exhibition “Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria” dedicated to the fates of Jews and Roma during the Romanian occupation of the Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina territories at the time of the Second World War, took place in the frame of the Forum.
Anna Abakunova, a Head of the Inter-Ethnic and Cross-Cultural Relations Research Center