Porrajmos: Through the Eyes of Children

April 2018

Porrajmos: Through the Eyes of Children

From left: Keen historians, James S, Shannon M, Melissa S and Adam H were on hand to guide visitors through the exhibition and provide additional information.

This month we hosted the Porrajmos (Por-ry-mus) Exhibition, which looks at the holocaust from the perspective of children and young people. The exhibition is designed to raise awareness about the issues of prejudice towards Gypsies and Travellers, a minority group often not considered when studying the holocaust.

Through a series of informative banner stands, the exhibition demonstrated historical racial hatred through powerful images and facts, telling the story of the Romany victims of Nazi persecution. Visitors learned about the origins of the Gypsy community, their customs and beliefs, and life before 1933, followed by the impact of Nazism on Romany Gypsies. They also learned about deportation and what life was like for Gypsies in the UK in the 1940s.

Under Adolf Hitler, in 1935, Gypsies were classified as ‘enemies of the state’, thereby placing them in the same category as the Jews. Historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romany people were subsequently killed by the Nazis and their collaborators in Europe, however there are some who believe the death toll could be as high as 1.5 million.

During the week-long exhibition, which was on loan from Durham County Council, groups of students from across all year groups visited the exhibition. They were encouraged to reflect upon the impact of unchecked discrimination and consider how it affects modern society. This helps to promote community cohesion. We were also able to share the exhibition with some of our local primary school pupils.

King James I Academy, South Church Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 7JZ