Doctoral Candidate (GRK-2840)Paula Simon

Contact Information

Paula Simon
Karl Jaspers Centre
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
Room 400.01.18
69115 Heidelberg

+49 (0) 6221 54 4306

GRK Ambivalent Enmity

Paula Simon


My research project „Between Fascination and Disdain. Roma in Interwar Yugoslavia” examines the relationship between the minority of Serbian Roma and dominant Serbian society in the interwar period (1918–1941), researching Antigypsyism as one example of ambivalent enmity. Through analysis of contemporary scientific discourses as well as media discourses on Roma, the project sets out to analyse the construction and composition of the “Gypsy” category in Serbia. By highlighting Romani self-organisation and emancipation and its effect on dominant discourses, the project acknowledges the relationality of processes of enemisation. Finally, by analysing personal and discursive continuities from the interwar period to the period of German military administration and the persecution and genocide of Roma (1941–1945), the project seeks to examine how ambivalent discourses and practices of inclusion and exclusion of Roma by the dominant society created the conditions for and informed the dynamics of their genocidal persecution.

My research interests include minority history, historical Antigypsyism research, the history of the Second World War and the Roma Genocide in Yugoslavia.

Curriculum Vitae

2023– Doctoral candidate in the research training group "Ambivalent Enmity", University of Heidelberg
2022– PhD student at the Department of History at Heidelberg University
2019 Semester abroad at the University of Belgrade, Serbia
2018–2021 M.A. Global History at the University of Heidelberg (graduated with disctintion)
2017 Semester abroad at the University of Birmingham, UK
2014–2018 B.A. English and History at Heidelberg University
2013 Abitur 
1993 Born in Backnang, Germany


Paula Simon, „Damals rettete ich meinen Sohn, indem ich ihn unter Kissen versteckte…“ Handlungsspielräume unter deutscher Besatzung, Selbstzeugnisse revisited, 11.12.2023. (Online publication, see link)

Awards and Honours

2023–2024 Doctoral scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation
January–December 2022 Romani Rose Fellow at the Antigypsyism Research Centre at the Department of History, Heidelberg University
2019–2020 “Metropolen in Osteuropa” scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation
2017–2021 Scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation



GfA Gesellschaft für Antiziganismusforschung

Research Team “Yugoslavia” of the Encyclopaedia of the Nazi Genocide of the Sinti and Roma in Europe.