What do you personally think of gypsies

"Zwie Gypsies - Persecution of Sinti and Roma under National Socialism"

Ulrike Schneider-Müller

In the Villa tenHompel in Münster, 10 to 14 year old girls and boys can borrow a history backpack designed by museum educator Anne-Marie Avenarius, which was created as part of the “Kulturrucksack NRW” project, independently and independently of lessons.

The state program “Kulturrucksack NRW” aims to open up free cultural offers to children and young people, because “cultural education can make a significant contribution to the personal development of young people”, said Minister of Culture Ute Schäfer. The municipalities' offers are available on their own website.

The history backpack with the title “Z stands for Gypsies - Persecution of Sinti and Roma under National Socialism” aims to interest young people in the subject. You can find it in the backpack

  • a USB stick with 3 files (a short film, a knowledge quiz, an interview)
  • a painting by Vincent van Gogh
  • a photo album
  • a folder with documents and
  • the book "Else's Story".

The author has provided instructions for use so that the girls and boys can work independently with the material. The introductory questions are motivating and challenging:

Have you ever heard of the persecution of Sinti and Roma during National Socialism? Or asked you who actually are Sinti and Roma? Or thought about why gypsy is a dirty word? No?

Then you feel like many of your classmates.

We packed this history backpack so that schoolchildren could find out that Sinti and Roma were wrongly labeled, persecuted and murdered as second-class people under National Socialism. But even today, many Sinti and Roma are not accepted in our society and struggle with prejudice. This is also what this history backpack is about. "

An example:

The picture in the picture frame is a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). It bears the title "Gypsy camp with horse and cart" and dates from 1888.
Ideas and suggestions:

  • Look carefully at the painting and describe what you see.
  • Make a note of the thoughts that go through your head as you look at the picture.
  • What images do you have in mind when you think of Sinti and Roma? Make a collage.
  • Make a survey of your friends, siblings and parents with the following questions: What do you think of when you think of Sinti and Roma? Do you know the Sinti and Roma personally?
  • What options do you have to counter prejudices?

The fate of Sinteza Margot Krause from Greven, whose story is presented in a small photo album, plays a central role in the compiled material.

Presumably immediately after arriving in Auschwitz, Margot was tattooed with inmate number Z 4806 on her arm. The Z stands for gypsies.

The collection of materials is intended to encourage the reconstruction of history, e.g. to work out a timeline and thus to place the life story of Sinteza Margot Krause in the historical context. Contextualization can be done using the knowledge quiz available on a USB stick. An included glossary helps to understand unfamiliar words.

The questions encourage further work by encouraging the development of a questionnaire for classmates or the creation of a film sequence. The questions asked not only promote an expansion of subject, method and media skills, but are also particularly suitable for reflecting on one's own prejudices against Sinti and Roma and are therefore an important building block for democratic coexistence in today's multiethnic society. Thus, they also make a contribution to the expansion of the competence to act.

Depending on their personal preferences and existing skills, children and young people can freely choose their first access to the topic of persecution of the Sinti and Roma during the National Socialist era from the various materials or follow the suggestions in the instructions for use: sources, photos, documentary film, eyewitness talk, cartoon film , Children's book, picture, quiz ... The large selection takes into account the different approaches and learning preferences of boys and girls, for example.

In addition to the intended use by individual girls and boys, the history backpack can also be used as part of a project day in a school class. The material can be worked on using the “learning at stations” method or in group work with a subsequent presentation during a museum tour. The material can also be an excellent starting point and basis for presentations and specialist work.

In addition to expanding historical knowledge about the fact that Sinti and Roma were disenfranchised, persecuted and murdered during the National Socialist era, dealing with the topic is intended to raise awareness of how to perceive and critically question the situation of Sinti and Roma in Germany today .

In 2014, too, prejudices against Sinti and Roma are widespread in our society - Sinti and Roma are not accepted and are threatened with deportation. In this way, the history backpack can also make a contribution to education for democracy.

The history backpack can be accessed via the
Historical site Villa ten Hompel can be borrowed:
Kaiser Wilhelm Ring 28
48145 Munster
Phone: 0251 492-7101
Email: [email protected]

Ulrike Schneider-Müller is the moderator of the Münster district government at the historical site of Villa tenHompel and is also responsible for the teacher training project of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia "Education after Auschwitz".