Jews and Roma died side by side in the Holocaust, yet the world did not recognize their destruction equally. In the years and decades following the war, the Jewish experience of genocide increasingly occupied the attention of legal experts, scholars, educators, curators, and politicians, while the genocide of Europe’s Roma went largely ignored. Rain of Ash is the untold story of how Roma turned to Jewish institutions, funding sources, and professional networks as they sought to gain recognition and compensation for their wartime suffering.
Ari Joskowicz vividly describes the experiences of Hitler’s forgotten victims and charts the evolving postwar relationship between Roma and Jews over the course of nearly a century. During the Nazi era, Jews and Roma shared little in common besides their simultaneous persecution. Yet the decades of entwined struggles for recognition have deepened Romani-Jewish relations, which now center not only on commemorations of past genocides but also on contemporary debates about antiracism and Zionism.
Unforgettably moving and sweeping in scope, Rain of Ash is a revelatory account of the unequal yet necessary entanglement of Jewish and Romani quests for historical justice and self-representation that challenges us to radically rethink the way we remember the Holocaust.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the Ernst Fraenkel Prize, Wiener Holocaust Library
"An astonishing breadth of interviews of survivors and their relatives. . . . Of profound interest to serious students and readers of history."—Library Journal
"Joskowicz offers a fascinating and often heartbreaking account of the Roma struggle for justice and restitution in the face of persecution. . . . The great virtue of Joskowicz’s book, alongside the comprehensiveness of its research, is its refusal to reduce any of the weighty issues it discusses to abstractions, or to stray from the complex and often contradictory human experiences at stake. Instead, Joskowicz grounds his account in the lives of the people whose suffering and whose activism animate his scholarship."—Daniel Kraft, Slate
"A clear, flowing portrait of this understudied but deeply violated population that fundamentally alters our perception of the Holocaust, enlarging it to include the Romani victims and bringing to the fore their quest for historical justice and self-representation. . . . [An] illuminating new book."—Linda F. Burghardt, Jewish Book Council
"Remarkable. . . .At a time when Holocaust parallels have become once again contentious and politicised, Joskowicz’s book builds a refreshing case for careful and nuanced historical comparison."—Dr Christine Schmidt, BBC History Magazine
“Powerful and courageous. Rain of Ash is necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand the wartime experiences of Roma and Jews and their effects on financial, legal, political, and academic representation.”—Angéla Kóczé, coeditor of The Romani Women’s Movement: Struggles and Debates in Central and Eastern Europe
“A revealing and original book about an understudied aspect of the Holocaust. Highly recommended.”—Jan T. Gross, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
“A major contribution. This original and much-needed book shows how the experiences of Roma and Jews have always intersected, for good or ill, from the time of the Holocaust to today’s complex memory debates.”—Dan Stone, author of The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath
“Joskowicz’s book represents the best kind of entangled history. It is chock-full of insights, opening our eyes to the ways in which Roma have had to negotiate their place in the history and memory of the Holocaust.”—Mark Roseman, author of Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany
“Rain of Ash shows us that the Holocaust and the Nazi persecution of Roma and Sinti are entangled events in the deepest sense of the term. Joskowicz has written a stunning work of scholarship: erudite, even-handed, and human to the core.”—Yair Mintzker, author of The Many Deaths of Jew Süss: The Notorious Trial and Execution of an Eighteenth-Century Court Jew
“Rain of Ash is a brilliant and provocative account of Jewish and Romani efforts to document and commemorate the Holocaust. This is a landmark contribution to both Jewish and Romani history and essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Europe.”—Tara Zahra, author of The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World
“In this pathbreaking, innovative book, Joskowicz shows how Roma and Jews emerged from unequal histories but suffered next to each other during the Nazi regime’s murderous attack. In the postwar era, both groups—with vastly uneven resources—tried to recover, demand justice, and memorialize their dead. Eloquently written and imaginatively conceived, Rain of Ash highlights the entangled history of Romani-Jewish relations, scholarship, and memories. A must-read!”—Marion A. Kaplan, author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany