The Slovenian and Croatian Roma in Italy during the Fascist Regime and the Second World War: Internees, Deportees, and Refugees

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor
  • Organiser: Hugo Valentin Centre, Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) and Uppsala Forum
  • Contact person: Hanna Abakunova
  • Seminarium

The second part of a seminar series in Romani studies arranged by the Hugo Valentin Centre, IRES and Uppsala Forum.

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The aim of this seminar is to analyze the destiny of the Roma and Sinti families who lived in the border regions between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the two World Wars. Particular attention will be paid to the treatment of “Gypsies” by the fascist regime in the ex-Hapsburg territory named Venezia Giulia, the so-called province of Ljubljana annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in April 1941, as well as the period when those territories became a part of the Reich (September 1943 - May 1945). Given the wide-ranging overlap of political and border contexts, we need to carefully reconstruct local events and family histories through the bottom-up approach, based on an interdisciplinary perspective (connecting history and anthropology) and multi-situated research (in different national archives and between Roma families).

After the First World War, most of the so-called “Austrian Littoral” became Italian with the name of Venezia Giulia. This area was inhabited by extended Romani family networks who sustained patterns of mobility across the old and the new national borders. Between 1937 and 1938, Police Chief Arturo Bocchini issued three circulars that focused on “wandering Gypsies” with presumed Italian citizenship, living along the northeastern borders. The circulars imposed the “Gypsies” confinement in isolated villages in Central and Southern Italy (similar to forced residency). This was the first act of persecution made by the fascist regime against “Gypsies”. When Italy entered the Second World War (10 June 1940), the fascist regime started to intern civilians belonging to enemy states, political opponents, and foreign and stateless Jews and “Gypsies”. Nevertheless many Slovenian and Croatian Roma escaped to Italy during the Second World War to avoid the Ustasha and Nazi persecutions. The flux also continued after the collapse of the Italian fascist regime and the German occupation of Venezia Giulia and Dalmatia.

Paola Trevisan holds her PhD in Cultural Anthropology and Gender Studies from the University Jaume I in Castellón de la Plana (Spain). In 2016 she was a research fellow at the Mandel Center of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. with the project “From Expelled Foreigners to ‘Dangerous’ Italians: Roma and Sinti Families in Italy under Fascism”. Later, she worked as a researcher at Free University Bolzano (Italy) and at the École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales (France) expanding her research geographically to Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia and chronologically from 1922 to 1946. Currently, Dr. Trevisan works on the project Encyclopaedia of Nazi Genocide of Sinti and Roma directed by Heidelberg University (Germany). Her research lies in the interdisciplinary field of anthropology and history, working “in the field” and in archives.