Past Event

Holocaust Remembrance: “Racially Inferior”

February 1, 2011
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
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Roma, Sinti and Other Holocaust Victims


Watch video below. 

In connection with Holocaust Remembrance Day

Welcoming remarks:
Barbara Faedda
(Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University)

Krista Hegburg
(United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies)
“Unknown Holocaust”: Roma and Sinti in Hitler’s Europe

Rob Kushen
(Executive Director, European Roma Rights Centre)
Roma in Today’s Europe: Contemporary Patterns of Prejudice and Discrimination

Europe and the United Nations commemorate the victims of the Shoah each winter on the date of Auschwitz’s liberation in 1945, and the Italian Academy marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with an annual academic event exploring issues of discrimination and crimes against humanity.

Along with the millions of Jews who suffered and died, other minority groups were targeted in the racism and xenophobia of the Nazi and Fascist regimes. The Roma and Sinti (known as Gypsies) were also judged to be "racially inferior," and they faced a fate not dissimilar to that of the Jews. This year, the Italian Academy's Holocaust Remembrance event broadens the focus to look at the plight of this other "racially inferior" group in German-occupied Europe of the 1940s and in present-day Europe.

About the Speakers:
Krista Hegburg is a Program Officer at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she coordinates research workshops, endowed lectures, and other conferences and symposia. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Her dissertation, “Aftermath: Accounting for the Holocaust in the Czech Republic, 1945-2005,” examines Holocaust reparations projects that address minority communities, particularly Romani, within the context of contemporary Czech liberalism, as well as the history of redress for Nazi persecution in Czechoslovakia. Ms. Hegburg taught for two years in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She has also taught at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland, where she was a co-founder of the International Institute for the Study of Culture and Education. She is the recipient of many fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award (2003-4) and a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellowship at the Center (2005-6). She is also a co-organizer of the Everyday Life in the Camps project, an international interdisciplinary research project that assembles junior and senior Holocaust scholars in history, sociology, literature, and anthropology from several North American, European, and Israeli institutions to examine primary source documents in order to analyze lived experience in the camps through the lens of everyday history and ethnography.

Robert Kushen is the Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Centre, an international NGO using legal advocacy, including strategic litigation, to protect the rights of Roma throughout Europe. He has been active in the human rights field in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for over 20 years, beginning in 1988 when he helped the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights establish its first program in the Soviet Union, and as a Schell Fellow at Human Rights Watch in 1990-91, where he led research and reporting on human rights abuses in the Soviet Union. From 1996-99 and 2003-07, he served in a number of positions at the Open Society Institute, including Director of International Operations from 2004-07. At OSI he was responsible for a number of human rights programming areas, including initiatives focusing on Roma rights and disability rights.
He has also been active in the area of health, human rights and development. From 1999 to 2002, he was the Executive Director of Doctors of the World, a non-governmental organization committed to addressing health care problems caused by human rights abuses in the U.S. and around the world. In 2007-08, he served as the Executive Director of the Harvard PEPFAR Program, an $80 million/year program that provides HIV treatment services to 100,000 patients and related technical assistance to health care workers in Africa.
From 1991-96, he served in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, where he worked as counsel to the bureau on counterterrorism, liaison to the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and negotiated a number of international agreements in the areas of scientific and environmental cooperation.
He holds a J.D. from Columbia University, a B.A. from Harvard College in Russian Studies, and is the author of a number of publications in the area of human rights and non-profit law. He is a member of the New York Bar Association and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of several NGOs dealing with human rights, health and development issues.

(Talks marked with an appear in the Academy's 2016 book, Present and Future Memory: Holocaust Studies at the Italian Academy, 2008–2016)

2008 Law and Science in the Service of Racism: the “Leggi Razziali”
Ruth Ben-Ghiat
New York University
The Italian Racial Laws: Pretexts, Subtexts, Aftermaths
Lidia Santarelli
New York University
The Righteous Enemy?
Fascist Italy and the Jews in Axis-Occupied Europe

Alexander Stille
Columbia University
The Holocaust and the Case of Italy

2009 Antisemitism at Home and Abroad
Ira Katznelson
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
The Liberal Alternative: Jews in the United States during the Decades of Italian Fascism *
Claudio Lomnitz [originally scheduled]
Director, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Professor, Anthropology Department, Columbia University
Dreyfus in Latin America: Anti-Semitism and the Ideology of the Mexican Revolution

2010 Rome’s Jewish Ghetto 
Kenneth Stow
Professor of Jewish History Emeritus, University of Haifa
“Doing as the Romans Do” . . . But Also Staying Jewish.
The Challenge of Life in the Roman Ghetto, 1555–1870 
Irina Oryshkevich
Society of Fellows, Columbia University
Accommodating the Jews in the “New Jerusalem” *

2012 “Unnatural Indecency”: Sexuality and Homosexuality during Nazism and Fascism 
Ted Phillips
Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945 *
Elizabeth Leake
Department of Italian, Columbia University
Fascism and Sexuality in Italian Literature and Film

2013 “The Unfit”: Disability under Nazism and Fascism 
Patricia Heberer Rice
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Giving a Face to Faceless Victims: Profiles of Disabled Victims of the Nazi “Euthanasia” Program *
Susan Bachrach 
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race *
David Forgacs
New York University
Photographing Places of Social Exclusion

2014 Gender and Antisemitism: Women’s Rights Yesterday and Today
Victoria de Grazia
Columbia University
Fascist Men and Jewish Women
Yasmine Ergas
Columbia University
Women’s Rights and Women’s Freedoms: A View from the Present *
Elissa Bemporad
Queens College of the City University of New York
Female Voices of the Holocaust

2015 Music, Fascism, and the Holocaust 
Michael Beckerman
New York University
Moravia and the Wild Goose: Terezin, Summer 1944
Harvey Sachs
Curtis Institute of Music
Jewish and Anti-Fascist Musicians in Mussolini’s Italy *

2016 To Be a Child during the Holocaust
Patricia Heberer Rice
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
In Their Own Words: The World of the Child during the Holocaust *
Emily Langer
The Washington Post
“We Are Very Lucky”: Two Young Italian Sisters Who Survived Auschwitz

2017 Looted Art, Nazism, and Fascism
Monica Dugot
Senior Vice President/International Director of Restitution, Christie's;
formerly Deputy Director, Holocaust Claims Processing Office, NY State Banking Department
Jasmin Hartmann
Department for Provenance Research, City of Düsseldorf
"Non signalés par les Anglais." Provenance research on French drawings acquired in France in 1944
Ilaria Pavan
Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa; Italian Academy Fellow 2017
Jewish persecution and looted art in Italy: evidence and denial, 1938–2015
Lynn Rother
Senior Provenance Specialist, The Museum of Modern Art

2018 Spaces and Geographies of Concentration Camps: How to Preserve the Memory of Discrimination
Lisa Ackerman
Executive Vice President, World Monuments Fund
Remembering a Difficult Past
Alberto Giordano
Chair, Geography Dept., Texas State University
From the National to the Individual: Narratives of the Holocaust in Italy

2019 Antisemitism, Hate Speech, and Social Media 
Susan McGregor
Assistant Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism; Assistant Professor, Columbia Journalism School
Memes, Misinformation, and Antisemitism: Coded Communications on Social Media
Michel Rosenfeld
University Professor of Law and Comparative Democracy & Justice; Sydney L. Robins Professor of Human Rights, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
Reassessing Antisemitism in an Age of Online Hate

2020 Misinformation, Media Manipulation, and Antisemitism                                                   
Ioana Literat
Assistant Professor of Communication, Media and Learning Technologies Design, Teachers College, Columbia University
“Youth political expression in online spaces” 
Rachel Deblinger (via Skype)
Director of the Modern Endangered Archives Program at the UCLA Library;
Co-Director of the Digital Jewish Studies Initiative at UC Santa Cruz
“Remix, remember, retweet: meditations on Holocaust memory, social media, and antisemitism online”   
Irene V. Pasquetto
Chief Editor, “HKS Misinformation Review,” Harvard Kennedy School
Costanza Sciubba Caniglia
Managing Editor, “HKS Misinformation Review,” Harvard Kennedy School
“De-platforming Neo-Nazis in Italy: impacts and unexpected consequences”   
Alex Abdo
Litigation Director, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University
“Free speech in black boxes”   

2021 Liliana Segre on Auschwitz and What It Means Today 
Interview with Barbara Faedda

2022 Emanuele Fiano on Activism against Oblivion
Interview with Barbara Faedda