Memorandum of the Union of Gypsies-Roma on Essential questions of Roma Issues, 1970
Memorandum is the most important step of the Roma-Gypsy Union in the issue of recognition and the national status for the Roma. It was drafted on 17th April 1970, by the Society of Sciences of the Union. In the memorandum, the commission noted that the prior determination of who the Roma are is insufficient. The Memorandum states that when the SCR was made possible for Roma to sign up for their nationality. The authors did not only consider the Roma issue as a social problem, but they also realised the national definition and its needs. Ethnic identities understood as a stabilisation of the right to exist with their ethnic determination, self-identity. Differences of Roma understood on the basis of culture, language, music, folklore, behavioural norms and others. They accepted the objection of non-existence of their own territory, but they also argued that in the USSR Roma were recognised as nationalities. Roma were the second largest minority in Bohemia, right after the Hungarians. The Roma, according to the Memorandum, did not insist on separate schools or the introduction of Romani as an official language, but they understood the status of nationality as "a right, not a directive".
The Memorandum was not intended as political coercion, yet it was understood like that and was strongly challenged by party bodies. Memorandum initiator Dr. Milena Hübschmannová, a well-known Roma and a member of the Union Socio-Scientific Committee, was named. As a result, "the Department of Education and Science of the Central Committee of the Communist Party exercised influence on the examination of this issue and did not allow partial scientific knowledge to be transmitted to political practice to feed the wrong tendencies." In the autumn of 1970 the Central Committee of the SCR abandoned the promotion of the memorandum.
The Memorandum is located in the collections of the Museum of Romany Culture, where it was put together with the estate of Miroslav Holomek.
Brno, Czech Republic
- Vrtálková, Anna