Philomena Franz’s autobiographical narrative, Zwischen Liebe und Haß: ein Zigeunerleben (1985), is significant as the first survivor account of the atrocities that were inflicted on Roma during the Second World War.
For the past forty years, Franz has been active as a speaker at schools, universities, and community meetings, emphasizing the importance of remembering the Holocaust and its victims. The prizes and honors she received in subsequent years, including the Bundesverdienstkreuz (1995), underscore the groundbreaking nature of Franz’s work in educating the German public about the victimization of Roma during the Third Reich.
Franz’s works are, however, original beyond this important message. She uses her writing to illustrate moments of connection with non-Roma and, through descriptions of her family’s place in the German landscape, works towards claiming safe spaces and a sense of belonging for Roma in Germany. Her collection of fairy tales published in 1980, and the tales included in the new edition of Zwischen Liebe und Hass (2001) show a bold crossing of traditional genre boundaries.
Moreover, as a Sinti woman taking the step to write and publish in German, she inspired and encouraged other Roma survivors to record their own memories of persecution
Franz, Philomena. 1985. Zwischen Liebe und Haß: Ein Zigeunerleben. Freiburg: Herder.
Franz, Philomena. 2001. Zwischen Liebe und Hass. Köln: Books on Demand. ISBN: 3-8311-1619-9.
Zwicker, Marianne C. 2009. Journeys into Memory: Romani Identity and the Holocaust in Autobiographical Writing by German and Austrian Romanies. University of Edinburgh: Ph.D. Dissertation. [https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/6201/1/Zwicker2010.pdf