1 Imagine: Nicolae Grigorescu, Laie de țigani, sec. XIX

1812 – through the annexation by the Russian Empire of Bessarabia, the Roma from this part of Moldavia were no longer slaves and became serfs working the land of the nobles that they belonged to;

1835-1836 – the Phalanstery from Scăeni, the egalitarian community organized by Teodor Diamant based on Charles Fourier’s ideas regarding the industrial-agricultural labor colonies, was developed on the estate of boyar Emanoil Balăceanu and included largely the Roma released by him. In a memo to the Moldavian Administrative Council, Diamant proposed that this model should be extended for all the state slaves;

1836 – writer Costache Negruzzi, member of the Parliament, received an anonymous letter supporting the Roma freedom, which made him act publicly, in the press and in the Parliament in favour of the Roma;

1837 – Mihail Kogălniceanu published in Berlin the study Esquisse sur l’histoire, les moeurs et la langue des Cigains, which is the first research on the Roma minority from the Romanian territories;

1839 – the Roma slaves in Moldova were granted the right to buy their freedom;

22 March 1843 – in Wallachia, prince Gheorghe Bibescu adopted the law for “the abolition of the forced workers belonging to the prison administration, moving them under the administration of the counties”, which marked the liberation of the state-owned slaves, who had since been assimilated to the normal villagers working partly for the land owners;

2 Imagine: Michel Bouquet, În curtea mănăstirii Câmpulung, 1843

31 January 1844 – in Moldova, prince Mihai Gh. Sturdza adopted the law on the “regularization of the Gypsies belonging to the metropolitan churches, to the bishops and monasteries”, which meant the liberation of the Roma belonging to the Church. In 1844 the princely Roma, who belonged to the State, were also released;

11 February 1847 – under the same prince Gheorghe Bibescu, Wallachia also adopted the law on the liberation of the Roma belonging to the Church;

11 June 1848 – the Proclamation of Islaz, programmatic document of the 1848 Revolution in Wallachia, stipulated under art. 14 the “emancipation of the Gypsies with compensation”. Because of the defeat of the Revolution, this provision was not applied immediately;

10 December 1855 – under prince Grigore Al. Ghica, based on a project by Mihail Kogalniceanu and Petre Mavrogheni, the local Parliament adopted a law on “the abolition of slavery, the regulation of compensation and the moving of those emancipated under taxation, with compensation,” which marked the formal liberation of all the Roma in Moldavia;

3 Imagine: Auguste Raffet, Horă valahă, f.a.

8 February 1856 – prince Barbu Ştirbei enacted the Law for the emancipation of all Gypsies from the Principality of Wallachia, with compensation, which marked the liberation of the Roma in Wallachia;

19 February 1861 – the peasants reform in Bessarabia, with regard only to the Roma serfs, made them small land owners in exchange for some work they had to do for the previous owner of their land. In 1868, with the general Land reform this obligation was eliminated;

4 Imagine: Carol Popp de Szathmari, Grup de țigani, 186-

14 August 1864 – through the general Land reform of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the Roma who after liberation remained in the agricultural field received small land parcels, becoming land owners;

1 April 1891 – Mihail Kogălniceanu, perhaps the most important promoter of the Roma cause in Romania in the 19th century, in the solemn session of the Romanian Academy delivered the discourse entitled The emancipation of Gypsies. Eliminating the boyar privileges. Emancipation of peasants;

27 April 1919 – The Roma National Assembly in Ibașfalău (today Dumbrăveni-Sibiu), representing the Roma in Transylvania, voted in support of the unification of Transylvania with Romania;

1926 – In Calbor-Brașov, at the initiative of Lazăr Naftanailă, an emancipated Roma, was established the “New-Rural Brotherhood” Association, with a focus on mutual help within the Roma community in the area;

1927 – Under the leadership of Iancu Panaitescu, was formed the “Musical Youth” Association;

1933 – At the initiative of Calinic I. Popp-Șerboianu was established the General Association of the Gypsies in Romania;

October 1933 – The first Roma Congress in Romania takes place;

5 Imagine: Willy Pragher, Țigănci vânzând flori, 1934

November 1933 – Was created by George A. Lăzărescu-Lăzurică, a Roma journalist, the General Union of Roma in Romania. In 1934, under the accusation of not being of Roma descent, Lăzurică was replaced by Gheorghe Niculescu, a flower seller. That same year, the Union starts to publish a newspaper, the Voice of the Roma;

1938 – In the Eugenics and Biopolicy Bulletin, under the signature of Iordache Făcăoaru, can be found the first calls for “racial purity” against the Roma;

1939 – George G. Potra published Contributions to the history of Gypsies in Romania, the second most important work about the Roma history in Romania after that of Kogălniceanu in 1837;

February 1941 – The Council of Ministers, under the leadership on Ion Antonescu, started to analyze the possibility of deporting certain Roma categories. In the first phase, the target were the Roma minority in Bucharest;

6 Imagine: Dr. Robert Ritter - Întâlnire cu voievodul țiganilor, Niculescu, 1938/1944

1941 – The work of Gheorghe Făcăoaru, Some data around the family and the biopolitical status, directly advocates for the extermination of the Roma. Făcăoaru asked that “the nomadic and semi-nomadic Roma to be put in forced labor camps. There their clothes should be changed, they should be shaved and sterilized. With the first generation we would get rid of them.”

May-June 1942 – The authorities conduct a census of nomadic and semi-nomadic Roma. This census will be base for the upcoming deportations;

June-August 1942 – The deportation of Roma in Transnistria started. The second phase would be in the fall of 1942, with smaller deportation up until December 1943. 25.000 Roma will be deported, out of which only 14.000 will survive and return home in the spring of 1944;

January 1949 – Communist authorities have abolished the General Union of Roma in Romania. The same year, a Romanian Communist Party study entitled The Roma problem in People’s Republic of Romania details the policy of the regime towards the Roma minority;

1961 – The entire edition of the book Roma fairytales, by Viorica Huber, was destroyed by the communist authorities, a proof of the assimilation policy;

1977-1983 – The Ministry of Internal Affairs implemented a Roma integration program based on a “platform of measures for social and work integration of the Gypsies”;

September 1982 – Radio Free Europe aired some of the first criticism of the regime’s Roma policy. The criticism came from two Roma intellectuals, Nicolae Gheorghe and Vasile Burtea, who spoke under a pseudonym;

September 1993 – following a scandal resulting in the death of a Romanian citizen in Hădăreni-Mureş, local Romanians and Hungarians, in the context of passivity by the authorities, set on fire a Roma home, which resulted in the deaths of three Roma people.

7 Imagine: Nicolae Gheorghe în 1990, sursa: nicolaegheorghe.ro


Viorel Achim, The Roma in Romanian History, CEU Press, 2004.

Delia Grigore, Gheorghe Sarău, Istorie și tradiții rome [Roma History and Traditions], Salvați Copiii România, f.a.

Irina Năstasă-Matei, Ligia Livadă-Cadeschi, Dan Drăghia, Alexandra Iancu, Caterina Preda, Romii din România: identitate și alteritate [Roma in Romania: History and Alterity], Textbook, 2016.

Mariana Sandu, Romii din România – Repere din istorie [Roma in Romania – Benchmarks from History], Centrul Romilor pentru Intervenție Socială și Studii, Editura Vanemonde, 2005.