Michelle Kelso and Daina S. Eglitis
Abstract: In 2009, the Romanian government unveiled a $7.4 million Holocaust memorial to commemorate over 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma who died as victims of the Ion Antonescu regime. Located in central Bucharest, the monument is part of a national agenda, outlined by an international commission, to study the crimes of the Holocaust in Romania and to help the country come to terms with historical atrocities. Under communism and in the early post-communist period, the Romanian state denied its role in the Holocaust. In this article, we explore the representation of the Holocaust and, in particular, Roma victims in the dominant historical narrative and the Holocaust memorial. We delve into discourses around this monument, which feed into a larger dialogue of victim recognition and contested national narratives about the Holocaust. We highlight the construction and contestation of the Holocaust memorial, considering in particular the paradox of Roma victims and suggesting that Roma are simultaneously represented, unrepresented and misrepresented in the historical story and memorial of the Holocaust in Romania.
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