Expert comment

Remembering victims of the Holocaust.

Home

Remembering victims of the Holocaust.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Dr Laura Cashman introduces a new cross-faculty research group who wish to promote inclusion of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

Holocaust Memorial Day invites us to reflect on the darkest moments of human history. The Hebrew name for the Holocaust Shoah (Catastrophe) and the Romani word Porrajmos (The Devouring) evoke the horrors of the Holocaust when millions of Jews and hundreds of thousands of Roma/Gypsies were murdered, used as forced labour, or for medical experimentation of the most unimaginable cruelty.

Acknowledging the capacity of humanity to act so brutally should help us to learn lessons and prevent history repeating itself. However, the scale of the Holocaust is, for most of us, so unfathomable and incomprehensible that we may prefer to reassure ourselves that these crimes happened in another time and another place and surely could not happen like that again. And yet, the dehumanisation of the victims of the Holocaust: Jews, LGBT+, Roma/Gypsies and disabled people, continues in many insidious ways, some less subtle than others. For example, the current Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill proposals would criminalise GRT Communities who cannot find safe transit or stopping sites.

This year the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘One Day’ with a call to come together in our communities and build a better future. At CCCU we have recently established a new research group which brings together staff and students interested in understanding the experiences of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.

It is a sad fact that anti-Gypsyism is still considered acceptable by many in our society. Statistics clearly show that Gypsies, Roma and Travellers are the most disadvantaged ethnic group in the UK, and in many other countries too. This new research network includes staff and postgraduate students from all three faculties. Our aim is to build relationships and to share knowledge, experience and ideas across our disciplinary and faculty boundaries.

The first agreed action point was to continue to encourage CCCU to adopt the Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters into Higher Education Pledge. This is a commitment to support GTRSB students into and within higher education. We hope to find out more about the experiences of staff and students who identify as Gypsies, Roma or Travellers in order to understand how inclusion could be supported and to ensure that policies and projects are undertaken in the spirit of collaboration. 

If you wish to get involved, please contact Dr Laura Cashman laura.cashman@canterbury.ac.uk.

Dr Laura Cashman is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations .

Share this page: