Home » U Velto – Il Mondo, news and images from the Sinti and Roma worlds: RemAgainstDisc, countering discrimination by rediscovering historical memory

U Velto – Il Mondo, news and images from the Sinti and Roma worlds: RemAgainstDisc, countering discrimination by rediscovering historical memory

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U Velto – Il Mondo, news and images from the Sinti and Roma worlds: RemAgainstDisc, countering discrimination by rediscovering historical memory

During the Nazi-fascist regimes, Roma
and Sinti were persecuted, discriminated against and exterminated in
concentration camps. In spite of this, anti-Gypsyism did not end with
the advent of democracy, also due to the lack of historical knowledge
of discrimination and the facts it caused, and some prejudices have
survived, making the paths of inclusion of these people difficult.

This is why the Italian Coalition for
Civil Liberties and Rights, Sucar Drom, Associazione 21 Luglio and
the University of Florence have been working for two years on the
‘RemAgainstDisc’ project (Reinforcing historical memory of the
Porrajmos to combating discrimination).

The aim of the project was to recover
the historical memory of those events, making it accessible through
the renovation of the first virtual museum of the Porrajmos and, from
this, to create public awareness of the historical matrix of certain
prejudices and thus overcome the discrimination that Roma and Sinti
still suffer today.

To do this, the project combined
activities aimed at the general public and others aimed at specific
professional categories that can play a great role in the inclusive
path and in overcoming anti-Gypsyism.

The project was funded under the
European Commission’s Call CERV-2021-CITIZENS-REM and received a
total contribution of €134,785.00.

Work performed and main achievements

The objectives of the project were
multiple: first of all to recover the historical memory of the
Porrajmos, the extermination of Roma and Sinti which occurred at the
hands of the Nazi-Fascist regimes in the last century; through the
recovery of this historical memory and of the prejudices and
stereotypes that had made discrimination and persecution possible,
contribute to building more inclusive societies and greater
integration, reaching some specific categories that have an impact on
the life path of Roma and Sinti people; lastly, to ensure that the
project activities could continue beyond the end of the project and
were replicable.

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From this point of view, the objectives
set have been achieved.

Historical research, conducted by the
University of Florence and the Sucar Drom Association, has found
materials and stories that have made it possible to reconstruct the
period between 1943 and 1945, which was still missing, testifying to
how there were deportations of Roma and Sinti towards the Nazi
concentration camps. This research was presented at the University of
Florence and made available to the scientific community, but not only
to it.

The collected materials converged,
together with those already present, in the first virtual museum of
Porrajmos, which as part of the project underwent a profound
revision, both in terms of content and in visual terms, guaranteeing
wider navigability. Translated into English it represents an
indispensable and fundamental tool for studying this history and
building memory. Already several schools, as well as the communities
themselves, have used it in their institutional activities, as a tool
for information and testimony.

Starting from this historical recovery,
three toolkits were created, aimed at social workers, teachers and
political decision-makers, categories who, in their respective roles,
can have an impact on the lives of Roma and Sinti people. The first
two categories, at the level of social and scholastic integration,
while political decision-makers can have an impact in overcoming the
mega Roma camps, which have been widely used up until now in Italy,
and in promoting housing policies that guarantee and encourage the
inclusion of these people.

In addition to the creation of these
toolkits, a series of meetings were promoted with people belonging to
these categories, to disseminate the toolkits, but also build
awareness and change paths.

The continuity of the work begun in
this project is based precisely on these meetings, even after its
end. Further meetings will in fact be promoted, fully falling within
the institutional activities of the partner organisations. As regards
those with political decision makers, in some cases they have served
to promote actions that are continuing and which will lead, this is
the objective, to overcoming the greatest number of Roma mega camps
over the next few months/years.

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Results and impacts

Describe the results of the project (so
far) and (actual and expected) impacts (on target groups, change,
procedures, capacities, innovation, etc.). For the Final Report,
include an overview of the results

The project achieved the following
results:

– Renew and expand knowledge and
historical memory relating to the extermination of Roma and Sinti
during the Nazi-Fascist regimes. This result was achieved through new
historical research based on unpublished materials and research in
historical archives. Making this new mass of historical materials
available to scholars, academics and citizens. During the project, a
meeting was also held with representatives of some school publishing
houses, in order to present the results of the research to them and
suggest the inclusion of specific spaces intended for Porrajmos on
texts used in schools. The meeting aroused great interest and the
expected impact is that there may be new editions of some school
texts that go in this direction.

– Renovate the first virtual museum of
Porrajmos, making it a place where this story is told and documents
and testimonies are collected. Ensuring broad knowledge of the
persecution and extermination of Roma and Sinti, a place of memory
for the benefit of communities and citizens, which can also be used
in schools when that historical period is studied and on occasions of
initiatives that take place every year on January 27th, on the
occasion of Remembrance Day.

– Build broader knowledge on Roma and
Sinti culture and implement good practices aimed at teachers, social
workers and political decision-makers, fundamental professional
figures for the inclusion of these people, so that, each in their own
field, they can implement actions positive for the prevention of any
form of discrimination. This result was achieved through the
implementation of toolkits and a series of meetings involving around
200 people. These toolkits will be used to continue the work even
after the end of the project so that both the meetings carried out
and future ones make the good practices reported effective.

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– As regards political decision-makers,
starting from the meetings held, participatory paths have been
inaugurated in some cities for overcoming the mega Roma camps, which
are expected to lead to the closure of some of them and to inclusive
housing policies.

The project has therefore achieved
results in the short term, opening up the opportunity to continue the
work in the medium and long term, with activities that will become
part of the institutional interventions of the majority of
beneficiaries.

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