Pavel Baloun: Research & CV

“The Gypsy Scourge!” Creation and Implementation of Anti-Gypsy Measures in Czechoslovakia and After, 1918-1942

Research Area 2 – Norms & Transgressions

Contact: (from 1st September 2018)

My PhD deals with the long-term process of criminalization of those inhabitants who were labelled as “Gypsies”. It focuses on exploring continuities and discontinuities in enforcing anti-Gypsy measures in relation to the Genocide of Roma and Sinti in the Czech lands during the Second World War. The main aim of the project is to reconstruct the ways how anti-Gypsy measures, understood here as a complex of diverse legal norms worked against a heterogeneous group of inhabitants labelled as “Gypsies”.

The research, though, does not concern solely the topic of exclusion. In relation to the foundation of several so-called Gypsy schools during the interwar Czechoslovakia as well as in first phase of existence of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the dissertation project also raises the question of the forms of assimilation and inclusion aimed towards “Gypsies”.

The research, firstly, strives to combine both the macro- and micro-perspective to capture the dynamic of anti-Gypsy measures between local and central authorities. Secondly, in order to stress the heterogeneity of the state as a non-uniform agent, the research concentrates on various state authorities such as courts, schools, forced labour penitentiaries, municipalities or gendarmerie. Thirdly, the project seeks to restore the agency of those individuals labelled as “Gypsies” by analysing their manifold defensive strategies. The process of creation and implementation of anti-Gypsy measures is, thus, grasped as a dynamic process of negotiation of specific norms of the particular nation state’s society which led to specific methods of exclusion or inclusion.



2014—: PhD, Department of General Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University (Prague)

2014: Masters – History (Modern Social History), Institute of Economic and Social History, Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Prague)

2012: BA – History, Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Prague)

Fellowships and Scholarships

  • 10/2017-07/2018: Vienna Wiesenthal for Holocaust Studies (Junior Fellow)
  • 10/2016-30/2017: Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic)
  • 09/2016: Department of Historical Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (DAAD)

Selected Publications and Conference Papers

  • “(Special) schools” and “(labour) camps”: On the question of (dis-)continuities in Czechoslovak anti-Gypsy measures and their practice, 1918-1958, The Legacies of the Romani Genocide in Europe: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives, 17-18/05/2018, Paris
  • “Let’s Slaughter the Gypsies!” Anti-Roma Pogrom in Pobedim in 1928, Střed/Centre. Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, 1/2017, pp. 55-88.
  • Von der „Landplage“ zur „fremden Rasse“ .Die Repräsentation der Zigeuner in der tschechoslowakischen Kriminalistik (1918-1939), Bohemia [peer-reviewed manuscript]

Research grants

  • 2015-2018: Charles University Grant Agency, No. No. 54216: “The Gypsy Scourge!” Creation and Implementation of Anti-Gypsy Measures in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1940

Work Experience

  • 09/2016-: Terezín Initiative Institute, Database of the Roma Holocaust Victims in the Czech Lands (consultant)
  • 09/2015-06/2016: Multicultural Center Prague, Prague Shared and Divided (project coordinator)