Research & Studies

„They have been taken away with the Jews”. Multidimensional Memory and Minority Narrative

This brand new article was written by Izabella Agárdi, iASK researcher, and was released in Helikon in 2022.


The collective memory of the Pharrajimos has been the general subject of a growing number of publications, especially in the past decade, while historians have been tirelessly trying to excavate hidden sources and process them so that it becomes possible to integrate the Holocaust trauma into the common history (or histories) of not only the distinct Roma communities, but the different national historiographies as well. Memory studies have been attempting to work out new paradigms of memory constructs hoping to end the memory wars of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, and authors publishing in the field have been hoping to construct new transnational, and transcultural solidarities, which are devoid of the straightjacket of national identities, and which strengthen, rather than weaken collective memories of thus far marginalised communities. Meanwhile, however, the memory of the Romani holocaust keeps fading. The present article aims to provide a small intervention in these processes by providing a case study. It offers an analysis of a particular narrative life interview by a second-generation survivor from Southern Hungary and her discussion of the Roma holocaust. Through fusing post-colonial readings with a feminist analysis of narrative, I will show how the event of the Holocaust is integrated into the narrative, what relationships are forged between the Jewish and Roma collective suffering, and how the female hybrid subject gets constructed in a coherent identitynarrative. Instead of the enthusiastic adaptation of multidirectional memory, the article proposes the relevance of multidimensional memory instead when dealing with the topic of Romani holocaust. Through the latter, the different interactions of transcultural memorial forms are maintained, however, the power dynamics among them are also acknowledged.

Keywords: memory, Holocaust, Pharrajimos, transcultural memory, biography.

The article is available HERE, with full text in Hungarian.