Niches of Agency: Romani Voices and Romani Allies in Compensation Procedures after 1945

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Published May 24, 2024
Joey Rauschenberger

Abstract

The article explores the underrepresentation of Romani perspectives and self-perceptions in historical research. It offers a methodological reflection on the role of petitions in Romani history before unearthing the contents of Germany’s compensation files. These state administrative files contain numerous acts of Romani self-assertion in the face of a rigid bureaucratic system. German Sinti and Roma countered majority society's practices of de-individualization through deliberate subjective action that challenged the authorities long before collective action in the late 1970s. The study reveals strategies that Roma developed to be entitled to the compensation due to Nazi victims. For example, they tried to provoke reaction through rhetorical stridency; organized help from third parties, professionals, and laypersons; or escalated to superiors. In doing so, the article reveals the complexity of the administrative practice of compensation for Nazi injustice, including actors such as the lawyers hired by Roma. Their ambivalent role and interests, which are sometimes supportive, sometimes less altruistic, hold potential for further research.

How to Cite

Rauschenberger, J. (2024). Niches of Agency: Romani Voices and Romani Allies in Compensation Procedures after 1945. Critical Romani Studies, 5(2), 4–26. https://doi.org/10.29098/crs.v5i2.167
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Keywords

Romani History, German History, Compensation of Nazi Injustice, Romani agency

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