Photos from the life of German gypsies in the 1930s before the start of the Nazi genocide
Photos from the life of German gypsies in the 1930s before the start of the Nazi genocide
Photos of the life of German gypsies before extermination in concentration camps

National Socialism saw it as its goal to improve the life of the high-spirited and pure-minded Aryan peoples. For this, it was supposed to be less Aryan, from the point of view of the ideologists of the Third Reich, the people either to thin out, or to completely destroy. The two largest national minorities in Europe were sentenced to destruction: Jews and Roma. The first victims of the fight against the Roma were the German Sinti Roma. Many of those captured in this collection of photographs from the thirties did not survive the forties.

Gypsies of Germany in the thirties It was in the thirties that the National Socialists came to power Initially, the National Socialists did not say that they intend to kill thousands and millions of people

In western Europe, the Gypsies ended up after the Ottomans conquered Byzantium - before that, the Gypsies had lived in the empire for a long time, which can be easily traced from the references in tax papers. The chroniclers of Europe mention that the gypsies were led by some gypsy dukes, people of remarkable education and manners. The famous gypsy scholar Nikolai Bessonov believed that these were representatives of the Byzantine nobility who tried to survive the resettlement and, moreover, remain at least some kind of elite. Of course, in order to go exactly to the "gypsy dukes" and then wander all over Europe, a certain amount of adventurousness was required, so it is not surprising that there were not so many dukes. But there were enough gypsies, they were removed from the places with whole settlements and villages.

And before Hitler, there were times in Germany when gypsies were killed on the basis of their ethnicity Anti-Roma laws swept across Europe in the late Middle Ages and lasted long enough To explain the persecution of the Roma, they were called pagans and cannibals, but the Catholic Church never stopped considering Roma Christians

In Europe, Roma lived partly by charity, partly by performing tricks and dancing, and partly by traditional crafts.

German gypsies played music at weddings in the villages and showed circus performances with dogs, jugglers, and simple acrobatics Nowadays, Roma in Europe are trying to revive the traditional nomadic circus

This did not last very long. A protracted crisis began in Europe, the roads were overflowing with vagabonds, and the authorities of different countries passed laws against representatives of roving castes: professional beggars, musicians, artisans without a guild, and separately gypsies, who combined all three seditious signs. It must be understood that in those days, such laws were not limited to deportation: gypsies and gypsies were branded, their ears cut off, and they were executed by death. Europe consisted mainly of very small states, so that gypsies, moving from one to another, acquired a large collection of stamps. Death was supposed if the gypsies entered the principality or county a second time (during the search, this was evident by the stigma).

Gypsies were persecuted by secular authorities, but the church never Even when the appearance of gypsies in German lands was illegal, the priests did not refuse to secretly baptize children However, the priests did not stop fighting the custom of fortune-telling In addition, the priesthood has always found Roma to be very superstitious people

Laws were enforced unevenly in different countries. The French killed all the Roma in the country. In Spain and Germany, plenty of them survived. When in Europe there was a softening of morals - in the nineteenth century - it was the German Gypsies who basically re-colonized the territories of France. These gypsies are known as Sinti.

Ordinary Germans, apparently, sympathized more with the Roma than the authorities, and rarely turned them over to the authorities

I must say that the word "rum" is known to Sinti gypsies. They use it towards their men. Nevertheless, they call the people "Sinti", and ethnographers argue about the origin of this name. It can come, for example, from the Sindh River (which the Europeans call the "Indus") or from the name of one of the first leaders.

The gypsies had no written history for a very long time. The first memories of the nomadic gypsy life were left by the English gypsy Rodney Smith, a priest, in the nineteenth century English gypsies borrowed from the German idea of ​​caravans

In any case, Sinti became the ancestors of the Roma of France, Poland, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The dialects of the Gypsies of these countries are still so similar that Russian Gypsies can listen to Swedish Gypsy radio without any problems, and German Gypsies can sing songs of Polish Gypsies without difficulty.

To legalize themselves, Roma were hired by the Germans as soldiers or saddlers The ancestors of the Russian Gypsies were those German Gypsies who served in the army

In the nineteenth century, when the attitude towards the Roma in Europe softened everywhere, the Roma artists in Germany were able to legalize, in the summer many Roma began to be hired for seasonal work or to manufacture (or purchase) and sell small, necessary objects in everyday life. By the thirties, German Roma had already made up a lot and were noticeably integrated into the community. Many settled down. Some continued to wander.

In many countries, from Greece to Scandinavia, in the nineteenth century, gypsies were hired to harvest crops

From among the gypsies, their own German star, the popular boxer Johann Trollmann, has emerged.He was known not only for a large number of victories, but also for his special manner of movement in the ring, which was called the Trollmann dance. To the Nazis who came to power, he was like a thorn in the eye. Johann was stripped of his champion title, sterilized and eventually sent to a concentration camp along with other German gypsies. There he was killed.

Nothing could save the German gypsy from the camp: neither people's love, nor achievements, nor an honest work or entrepreneurial biography

Before collecting gypsies in concentration camps, and then exterminating them there, the Nazis meticulously examined their anthropometric data and rewrote them. This is a valuable material for ethnography, but scientists of the world would prefer never to receive such an array of information - if it is collected under such circumstances and for such purposes. From many German gypsies, only these records remained: anthropometry, name, age, occupation.

The purpose of the Nazis' research was specific. Everything in which the Roma differed from the Germans was declared degeneracy

As with Jews or Slavs, the persecution and murder of Roma was explained by the fact that they were not fit for life in a normal society. Nazi brochures broadcast stereotypes that became obsolete by the thirties, claiming that Roma were unteachable, unable to work and deeply asocial due to their natural inclinations.

According to the Nazis, there were naturally lazy or naturally uneducated peoples

In the Third Reich, Roma were also forbidden to marry Germans and participate in elections, their citizenship was taken away. Some of the mixed families were able to save the children by the fact that the parents divorced and the children left with their German mother or German father into the wilderness to the other end of the country. Some of the half-breeds were destroyed in concentration camps. To kill the Roma, they were taken to the territory of Poland, to Auschwitz (Auschwitz).

The Kelderar gypsies, who also roamed Germany at that time, were famous as tinkers and repairmen. This did not save them

At first, some Roma tried to redeem their families' lives by going to the front. In 1943, all Gypsies in Germany were arrested, including the recipients of military awards and their relatives. In concentration camps, Sinti were not massacred in gas chambers, like other Gypsies, for example, the Calderars who also roamed around Germany after the abolition of slavery in Romania, but under the conditions created they themselves died of hunger and disease. The genocide severely threw the Sinti community back in development, they developed a distrust of the state, until recently Sinti tried to avoid schools and hospitals, and this hit education and living standards.

Rock 'n' Roll, Napoleonic Wars and the Pushkin Museum: It's hard not to notice how the gypsies were noted in world culture.

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