The Roma and the Question of Ethnic Origin in Romania during the Holocaust

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Published Oct 25, 2022
Marius Turda
Adrian Nicolae Furtuna


This article suggests that the arguments used to justify the deportation of Roma to Transnistria in 1942 were racial and eugenic. As a selfstyled scientific theory of human betterment, eugenics aimed to sanitize Romania’s population, proposing a new vision of the national community, one biologically purged of those individuals believed to be “defective”, “unfit”, and “unworthy” of reproduction. Based on new archival material we suggest that the racial definition of Romanianness that prevailed at the time aimed to remove not just Jews but alsoRoma from the dominant ethnic nation (“neamul românesc”). To define Romanianness according to blood, ethnic origin, and cultural affiliation had been an essential component of Romania’s biopolitical programme since the 1920s. During the early 1940s, it served as the political foundation upon which the transformation of Romania into an ethnically homogeneous state was carried out. At the time, the “Roma problem”, similar to the “Jewish Question”, was undeniably premised on eugenics and racism.

How to Cite

Turda, M., & Furtuna, A. N. (2022). The Roma and the Question of Ethnic Origin in Romania during the Holocaust. Critical Romani Studies, 4(2), 8–32.
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Article Details


Biopolitics, Eugenics, Holocaust, Nationalism, Roma