Romania’s one million Roma people have a long, yet little-known history of oppression. For five centuries, they were enslaved by Romanian noblemen and the Church.
During the Second World War, 25,000 Romanian Roma people were deported to Transnistria, for being “dangerous to public order”. Historians estimate that altogether, between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War — between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of Europe’s Roma population at the time — in either concentration camps or summary executions.
More died during the deportations due to cold, hunger and disease. However, few Romanians — or, indeed, Roma people — are aware of these atrocities, as they are not taught in schools, or widely spoken about in the media.