O BARO PORRAJMOS, Major Group, commemorates Roma in WWII and life worthy of living.

Proposed projects:

a. Identifies, documents and shares research and artistic works representing O Baro Porrajmos;

b. Researches and presents lingering effects and parallels with present day situations.

COORDINATORS: Ciuin Ferrin, Félix Monget, Janna Eliot

Members: 24
Latest Activity: Nov 19, 2014

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

According to an article released on 25 January on the website, ceremonies in Prague and Terezin will focus only on the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Organizers state that the rising tide of anti-Semitism makes the topic more urgent than ever. 

   "Attacks targeting European Jews are currently common, deadly and unrelenting. What is worse, however, is that various communities, media outlets and public officials around Europe are beginning to justify them. We must dedicate due attention to this challenge and face it," European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said.


   Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek is quoted as saying "the past is reaching out to touch what is going on around us. Unfortunately, we are witnessing in Europe today what may be a similar ostracizing of a certain group of people. It is as if the mechanisms that launched the Holocaust have been set in motion again. Finding a way to face evil while not increasing hatred is our difficult task today."


  I had to read that several times. "It is as if the mechanisms that launched the Holocaust have been set in motion again."


  What he has not seen, perhaps cannot see, is that the Holocaust has never really ended for the most marginalized and vilified people in Europe, the Romani. Romani face forced sterilizations, illegal evictions, deportations, denial of education, beatings, persecution, discrimination, murder, and the list goes on. One could say of the Roma that ‘These attacks are currently common, deadly, and unrelenting. And yes, what is worse, is that various communities, media outlets and public officials around Europe are beginning to justify them.’


    On 20 October 2011, then Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg  said “The importance of teaching about Roma history cannot be overemphasized. Teaching about Roma history, raising awareness of the Roma genocide during the Second World War, and building and maintaining memorial sites are the least states could do to honour Roma victims.”


  He goes on to state that “we need to act directly on the general population to eradicate anti-Gypsyism. [T]his must be done through teaching of Roma history and culture.”


   The general population does not see that the Holocaust has not ended for the Romani because the Romani are not even included in services and ceremonies. Romani victims of the Holocaust are still labeled as “Other Victims.” It is this lack of education that has led to the blind spot in the vision of people everywhere, both government and civilian.


  Moshe Kantor is correct. “We must dedicate due attention to this challenge and face it.” We must continue with every effort to be seen and heard. We must take every opportunity to educate those around us. Never stop screaming. 


Discussion Forum

Letter to President Obama re: Nomination of Dr. Ethel Brooks to the US Holocaust Museum Board

Started by Ciuin Ferrin. Last reply by Els Jul 16, 2014. 2 Replies

This information was released to many Romani informational new sites. Please read the introduction and the letter below. You may follow the link in the instructions to sign the letter. You may print…Continue

What interests and/or programs are out there?

Started by Ciuin Ferrin. Last reply by Tina B (Tinari) Oct 29, 2013. 8 Replies

Do you have a program you are working on or already presenting? Do you have materials another group can use? Do you want to join a group that is working on a program? Let everyone know what you are…Continue

Tags: ideas, Porrjamos

Comment Wall

Comment by Ciuin Ferrin on December 6, 2010 at 20:04
I am looking for photographs for a presentation I am creating about O Porrjamos. If you have any photographs from the time and you own the rights to them, please contact me.
Comment by Niko Rergo on December 22, 2010 at 9:28

The 'Porrjamos' shall be written as 'Porrajmos, Porrajimos'. This word sounds bad here in Europe inspite Janko le Redzosko stands for it, and there is another, similar, word 'Pharrajimos' which means the same and sounds neutrally. But to avoid all these dialectal semantic controversies we call this 'Kalitrash'. The Samudaripe(n) by Kurtiade semantically corresponds to Genocide as extermination of any and every independantly of the ethnicity.

Second, I would like to who has access to the archives: in some 2 months we'll re-start the Kalitrash site, and we need real docs.

Third, we have a number of docs in Croatian - would sombody like to help translating them into English?

Neis sarenge, Niko

Comment by Niko Rergo on January 11, 2011 at 10:52
Well, new year has come. 'Porrjamos' remains... Els, is it possible to correct, and to to put 'Pharrajimos' and 'Kalitrash'?
Comment by Ciuin Ferrin on January 11, 2011 at 18:20

Forgive the delay. I have been ill and attempting to do research.

As for archives, I have been using documentation from the USHMM. I have an extensive library as well. There are two universities in the States that are attempting to build Rromani Holocaust libraries, but these are very incomplete.


If you need a contact at the USHMM, please let me know. There is a Rromani Holocaust intern there as well as a very sympathetic librarian.


Also, if you need translation from Croation, I may be able to have this done at the University of Iowa if you can't locate anyone who is able to assist. I will need to know how many pages of documents you have and a deadline. If you choose to have the University attempt, please let me know ASAP.

Comment by Ciuin Ferrin on December 13, 2011 at 0:31
Dear Els and all,
I am currently working on two programs of Holocaust education designed   for middle to university levels. This program is in the co-ordination stage   currently, working between O Porrajmos Education Society and another private   researcher in the States.
The program is designed to be taught in stages and may be taught in as   little as one hour, though a five hour program is recommended. This   programming is stemming from testimonies taken from Sinti survivors who were   interviewed in the 1980s by Dr. Gabbie Tyrnaur. It is my hope that this   program will be used in conjunction with the materials sold by the United   States Holocaust Memorial and Museum. I have chosen the package from the USHMM   because schools consider the materials from the Museum to be the highest   authority, though we know this is questionable. The materials we are working   with would not be sold at the Museum, but available online for purchase from   OPES.
We would love to incorporate a section in the three to five day program   of art inspired during or by the Holocaust. Art is a way to bring a new   feeling into the the classroom, a new dimension most historical programs leave   out.
This program will be tested in middle schools as early as the end of the   2011-12 school year, though the following school year seems more   attainable.
If this program is successful, I would like to make the curriculum   available to all teachers from middle to university levels.
Also, I feel that we should co-ordinate and participate in ceremonies on   January 27, April 8, and August 2 of every year. Candle light vigils, wreaths   in rivers, planting trees, are just some of the ways the days have been marked   in the past. This not only shows our respect for our own history, giving us   the opportunity to claim our history and teach it to those around us.   Education is the key to unlocking the present.
If anyone is interested in assisting with this project, or with finding   venues both in the States and in Europe for exhibitions, teachings, or vigils,   please let me know.
Comment by Ciuin Ferrin on January 31, 2012 at 10:48

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Service for the Victims of O Baro Porrajmos

Service for the Victims of O Baro Porrajmos
by Ciuin Ferrin on Sunday, January 29, 2012
Last night The People's Church in Cedar Rapids held a wonderful candle lighting ceremony for Rromani victims of the Holocaust. I wanted to share with you some of the beauty we shared.
Reverend Tom Capo opened with a call to join us. Here is his text.
"Good evening and welcome to People's Church Unitarian Universalist. I an the Reverend Tom Capo, minister here at People's. Last week I heard about the Romani people. I held certain misconceptions and prejudices that I was not even completely aware of. Much of what I knew of the Romani people was based on movies or television shows- broad strokes about a people I really knew little about. Generalizations that painted a picture of a people who stole and cheated anyone they could and put curses on others. But as we all know, prejudices and oppressions are based on these generalizations. I did not know that the United Nations had excluded the Romani people from the annual Holocaust Memorial services. I did not know how many Romani were killed during the Holocaust. I did not know that the Romani people were being oppressed throughout Europe. I did not know that some Romani in the United States were afraid to embrace and express their Romani heritage because they would be oppressed here or their business would lose customers if they expressed their heritage. I did not know, but now I do. I am awakened to this injustice, and I feel a need to support this community and to open this church to a remembrance for this people. I have learned that there are some Romani people believe that when they die, their soul will remain alive so long as they are remembered. As we worship tonight, let us keep the souls of the Romani people who suffered during the Holocaust and who are suffering throughout the world in our thoughts and prayers. Let us remember them."
This statement from Els de Groen, President of the World Artist Initiative Khetanes, was read aloud.
"Imagine a world with plenty of jobs, proper housing, health care, clean water, and proper nutrition for every human being. It would be a world without discrimination; a world where human diversity would be a source of inspiration for arts and education; a world where mankind would appreciate one another for their beauty and uniqueness as we do flora and fauna of the world. Now, take a look around our world: unemployment, homelessness, disease, and hunger. It's a world of booms and slumps, and of wealth and suffering. In this world, human variety is not perceived as richness but as a threat or potential for corruption.
Seventy years ago, Hitler's racial doctrines convinced people that once Jews and Roma were removed from existence, the Third Reich would be a paradise for the Aryan race. Approximately 6 million Jews and 1-3 million Roma perished in the darkest period in Europe's history. Though over seven decades have passed, survivors of the Holocaust must be shocked at how many of today's social attitudes parallel with those of the 1930s. Once again, in the face of many ills plaguing the world, the human race is resorting to populism, calling for scapegoats. Once more, Europe leads the way in this modern day witch hunt, and once more, the Romani people are being victimized. Fingerprinted and registered like common criminals, murdered in arson attacks, collectively deported, and defamed by the social media, the Romani people once again face the crimes they endured in the Holocaust and the situation worsens with each passing day.
Using our imagination and intellect is not a luxury only to be engaged in during times of prosperity, but more so as an absolute necessity in times of recession. We must use our ability to reason to keep racism from spreading. After all, history does not repeat itself. It is us that repeats history. We are once more allowing the senseless deaths of the Nazi victims, and only the sense to be had is in the words "Never Again". "Never Again" should these crimes be endured by the human race. Use your imagination! Imagine that we are capable of creating a world that exposes the fairy tale lies of racial superiority. This one act of mental power won't alone create the ideal, prosperous world, but it will be a far better one and the best memorial for millions murdered in the Porrajmos and the Shoah."
This was the call to meditation and prayer.
"Let us join together in prayer or meditation. Spirit of love, God of many names, be with us and honor the Romani people. A human life is sacred. It is sacred in its living and it is sacred in its dying. We grieve at the loss of so many Romani people; people who lost their lives for no other reason than the culture they were born in and that they cherished in their hearts. We also grieve for those Romani people who are oppressed; oppressed for no other reason than the culture they were born in and that they cherish in their hearts. We will remember those who have passed on, but we know in our hearts there is more that needs to be done for those alive today. We must reach out with our hands to help those in need, we must let them know that they are not alone, and there are those of us who will walk with them, who see them as people who deserve the universal human rights that all people deserve, who see them not as caricatures or as objects, or as the "Other", but as real people, with feelings of love, and hope, and sorrow, just like we have, with the same human frailties and pain that we all carry. They are no different than us, but they need us because there are some people in this world who treat them as the "Other" - to be shunned and banished and oppressed. Let is remember that nothing can take the place of outstretched hands of human sympathy and understanding, the spoken and silent assurance given by friends - let us remember we have all walked the way of sorrow, of pain, of hopelessness in times past and felt loss. Let us assure them that when they find themselves feeling sorrow or loss, pain or oppression, that they do not walk alone."
And Dr. Ian Hancock sent these words to be read as the votive candles, placed on the circle of our flag, were being lit.
"For us in the United States, the horror of the Holocaust resonates so harshly in our memory because of the enormity of the loss of life it caused, because it occurred in the West and because it happened in living memory. Hitler's attempt to create his Master Race and to dominate all the lands around him, involved both military action and genocide. The two populations targeted for annihilation following the directive of the Final Solution were the Jews and the Roma, both people's losing between a half and three-quarters of their respective populations in Nazi-occupied Europe. We commemorate those tragic losses each year in ceremonies such as the one we are attending today. But we must also be fiercely aware that unless we continue to remember and examine such genocides, history can repeat itself. There have been other genocides since 1945. The Romani people have been subjected to the very same treatment in post Holocaust Europe that Hitler imposed upon them in his Third Reich: there have been forced arrests and incarcerations; there have been sterilizations, there have been neo-Nazi murders, all recorded in this the twenty-first century. We must be ever vigilant, ever alert to the early warning signs of another impending genocide. God bless the memories of those lost in the past, and God protect those who are being targeted in the present time."
O Porrajmos Education Society would like to thank the People's Church for their kindness and generosity in this beautiful ceremony, a ceremony the UN was unwilling to give us.
Comment by Félix MONGET on January 28, 2014 at 12:15

Dear friends. Some here know me . I am a painter and poet. My life has long been closely linked to yours. I am nearing completion of a work which I spent eight years of my life, a work dedicated to the genocide of the Roma. Recently I received the help of a friend installed in the USA, a leading activist of the Roma cause and which is named Harold S. Lush. His help was invaluable to me infinitely translations in English and Romani. The English translation is completed. Romani translation will begin shortly. Next, we seek a publisher, able to take an interest in this kind of work . With historical reminders, it will be a suite entitled " The sad words " poems with their paintings. This is to honorably serve the memory of our brothers and sisters murdered . You are the first to be informed. For your eyes and your hearts some photographs of the paintings are visible on my page on this site . God bless you . Felix.

Comment by Tina B (Tinari) on January 28, 2014 at 15:28

Dear Felix,


This is great news! 

I am so happy for you!

Thank you for all of your hard work, Harold's too!

I can't wait to see!!!


Tina B

Comment by Arisztid on February 5, 2014 at 9:22

I wish to remind folks of something:

The Rroma are shoved under the rug by anyone involved in the Holocaust (I always differentiate between the Holocaust, the Porrajmos, and the Shoah). 

However, the ones who get ignored even more are the Sinti.  It is easy and quick to put Rroma in various writings.  But it is incorrect and, while the Sinti are related to us, they should be recognized by name by writers who write about both the Porrajmos and the WWII Holocaust.

I doubt that this is done with ill intent and most I have seen do include both but I have noticed some do not.  I do not know if anyone in this group does this because, well, I have not been around, but I wanted to say it.

Comment by Tina B (Tinari) on February 9, 2014 at 21:43

Thank you for expounding on the differentiation, Arisztid, because positive recognition is essential. You are correct, it's not that I have ill intent, I am just learning! Do you think that we should update the O Baro pafe to reflect these considerations?

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Discussion Forum

Letter to President Obama re: Nomination of Dr. Ethel Brooks to the US Holocaust Museum Board

Started by Ciuin Ferrin. Last reply by Els Jul 16, 2014. 2 Replies

This information was released to many Romani informational new sites. Please read the introduction and the letter below. You may follow the link in the instructions to sign the letter. You may print this letter or write one of your own, but if you…Continue

What interests and/or programs are out there?

Started by Ciuin Ferrin. Last reply by Tina B (Tinari) Oct 29, 2013. 8 Replies

Do you have a program you are working on or already presenting? Do you have materials another group can use? Do you want to join a group that is working on a program? Let everyone know what you are doing so we can bring the right people together for…Continue

Tags: ideas, Porrjamos

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