Conference report: New teaching materials regarding the Roma Genocide

TernYpe participate in the conference "The Genocide of the Roma and Sinti: New Teaching Materials" that took place in Eisenstadt, Austria from 8 to 10 November 2012. New teaching materials on the Genocide of Roma and Sinti were presented at this conference which brought together 140 people, including many teachers and NGO representatives. Two introductory panels examined similarities and differences concerning the genocides of the Roma and Sinti and the Jews. The Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, the Memorial de la Shoah (Paris) as well as the ITF have authorized an team of experts to create the teaching materials that were presented in workshops. An introduction to the persecution of the Burgenland Roma concluded with a visit to the memorial site of the former "gypsy camp" Lackenbach.

Although recognizing the efforts and the dedication in the development of the teaching materials, ternYpe remains highly critical about the current outcome and strongly believes that a conceptual revision and a further elaboration is necessary to make it a valuable, usable and adequate pedagogical tool.

The methodology is the same for different educational target groups, and all working materials follow the same pattern and structure, which does not reflect any diverse, target oriented and modern teaching standards. There are no moral perspectives regarding the genocide, there is no reference from a human rights perspective, and the background information given is very limited. We perceive the danger of further stereotyping and generalizing the whole Roma and Sinti Community. We are not questioning the good will of the authors, but in fact the materials include some unfortunate questions like: “Do you think that some people should be sterilised against their will? In what circumstances?” Some of the materials and questions can produce harmful and counterproductive results without any context or further elaboration. The materials can be examined online under the following link: http://www.romasintigenocide.eu/en/home