TrAIN & CCW Graduate School Open Lecture | Dr Ethel Brooks | Digging Through the Rubble: Romani Women's Holocaust Testimony and What it Tells us about History

Open Lecture


Romani (Gypsy) women and children interned in the Rivesaltes transit camp. France, spring 1942. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Jacqueline Levy.

TrAIN & CCW Graduate School Open Lecture | Dr Ethel Brooks |

Fullbright Visiting Distinguished Chair (in partnership with the Tate Gallery)

Digging Through the Rubble: Romani Women’s Holocaust Testimony and What it Tells us about History

How can we “see” a visual archive of genocide? What are the possibilities –and limits—of testimonial narratives and oral histories as they circulate visually? Is there a possibility for a counter-narrative that tells us something new, on the one hand, and disrupts hegemonic representations of the Holocaust, on the other?

This paper is part of a larger project that is attempting to excavate a longue-duree Romani history of the city. In it, I will focus on Romani women’s testimony found in the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education to explore that which is often left untold in what Walter Benjamin has described as the “rubble-heap” that lies at the feet of the “Angel of History.” Through an attention to testimony and the witness’s refusals, disputes, contention with interviewers expectations and questions, how do we –as viewers, and perhaps consumers, of testimony— take up the claims, the quest for recognition and the potential for disruption of our accepted understandings that are the challenges of the production and circulation of testimony?

This event is free and open to all but places are limited so please RSVP to the TrAIN Administrator, Nick (

Upcoming Open Lectures
Wednesday 8th February – Guy Brett and Chris Dercon – Remembering Hélio Oiticica’s 1992 Retrospective
Wednesday 7th March – Jacopo Crivelli – Just the Walking: drifting as artistic practice from the ’60s until today
Wednesday 25th April – Speaker(s) TBC
Wednesday 9th May – Speaker(s) TBC
Wednesday 23rd May – Speaker(s) TBC
Wednesday 6th June – Luis Camnitzer – Title TBC

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