Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Sinti and Roma

Sinti and Roma: Gypsies in German-speaking Society and Literature

Edited by Susan Tebbutt
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 196
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Sinti and Roma
    Book Description:

    According to opinion polls, Germans are less favorably disposed towards the Sinti and Roma than towards any other ethnic group, despite the fact that few Germans have any personal knowledge of them or even realize that the Sinti and Roma in Germany include both Germans and non-Germans. The image of the Sinti and Roma prevalent in German society and literature is one similarly founded on misconceptions and stereotypes. This volume deals in depth with the life of the Sinti and Roma in Germany and their representation in German literature, giving the background to the maltreatment, underlining the fact that the persecution of Gypsies during the Nazi period, which until the 1980s has been totally marginalized by historians, did not cease in 1945. The continuity of anti-Gypsyism is traced to the present day, and the efforts, achievements and aspirations of the Sinti and Roma civil rights movement are highlighted.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-187-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
    Susan Tebbutt
  5. Introduction Sinti and Roma: From Scapegoats and Stereotypes to Self-Assertion
    (pp. ix-xxiv)
    Susan Tebbutt

    People in both the west and the east of Germany were asked in 1990 to rate the extent of their affinity to members of various ethnic groups on a scale of +5 to –5. As can be seen from the results below, there are certain differences as to which nations are liked the most, but citizens in both west and east place Jews, Poles, Turks and the Sinti and Roma at the bottom of the list. It is striking how much stronger the antipathy to the Sinti and Roma is than that towards any other ethnic group. The average scores...

  6. Chapter 1 Piecing Together the Jigsaw: The History of the Sinti and Roma in Germany
    (pp. 1-16)
    Susan Tebbutt

    Hostility to Gypsies is not merely a twentieth century phenomenon, but is a recurring element during some five hundred years of European history, with persecution and discriminatory laws in many countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Britain. From the first arrival of Gypsies in western Europe it has been common practice for local dignitaries, and later even governments, to draw up demarcation lines between the indigenous population and the Gypsies, under the clear understanding that the lines did not represent a neutral, objective division but facilitated the perception of those classified as Gypsies as inferior,...

  7. Chapter 2 The Persecution of the Sinti and Roma in Munich 1933–1945
    (pp. 17-34)
    Ludwig Eiber

    On the morning of 8 March 1943 the police in Munich conducted a wide-scale series of arrests of Sinti and Roma families, as did police in other places in the Reich. Josef H., a Sinto from Munich, remembers the occasion:

    At five o’clock in the morning six men from the Gestapo were suddenly standing in front of the door of my flat. They ordered us all to get dressed immediately. My wife and six children were supposed to go too; the youngest was only three years old. The Gestapo apologised, claiming that it was an urgent matter, because we were...

  8. Chapter 3 Persecuting the Survivors: The Continuity of ‘Anti-Gypsyism’ in Postwar Germany and Austria
    (pp. 35-48)
    Sybil Milton

    Today, fifty years after the end of the great slaughter in Nazi-occupied Europe and almost a decade after the collapse of Communism, the old ethnic and racial hatreds, which we had thought banished, seem to have reappeared throughout Europe. In the former Yugoslavia, Serbs and Croats are once again locked in battle. In the Caucasus, Armenians are once again fighting for their survival. In German streets, bullies with swastikas are once again burning and killing. In Russia, men like Zhirinovsky are once again peddling the defamatory myth of a Jewish world conspiracy. And throughout Europe, the Roma and Sinti (usually...

  9. Chapter 4 The Development of the Romani Civil Rights Movement in Germany 1945-1996
    (pp. 49-64)
    Yaron Matras

    This chapter deals with the emergence of political organisation structures and the shaping of political ideology in the Romani community of Germany, beginning in the early postwar years, and taking into consideration as most recent developments the participation of German-based Romani associations in international events in the mid-1990s. It is a brief introduction, rather than a thorough survey, but it attempts nevertheless to provide an analytical descriptive perspective. Based on the nature of the issues dealt with throughout the period under consideration, the identity of the clients served by the movement, the formation of networks and their structural typology, and...

  10. Chapter 5 Aspects of the Linguistic Interface Between German and Romani
    (pp. 65-80)
    Anthony P. Grant

    A historical discussion of the contacts and influences of German and Romani is of necessity grounded in paradox. There are a number of Romani dialects spoken in Germany, as there have been for several centuries, yet although the one most typically associated with Germany is referred to as ‘rómanes’ (an adverb with the sense of speaking ‘in the Romani fashion’) by its speakers, they do not always describe themselves by using the term Roma. There are possibly as many speakers of non-German forms of Romani in Germany as there are of what we might call German Romani, and there are...

  11. Chapter 6 Anti-Gypsyism in German Society and Literature
    (pp. 81-90)
    Daniel Strauß

    In view of the threats, riots and attacks on Sinti and Roma, particularly the murderous attacks in Oberwart in Austria in 1995, we must call a spade a spade as far as the specific hostility towards the Sinti and Roma is concerned. We are dealing with a racism which is partly overt, partly covert, which develops in structures of prejudice. The breeding ground out of which acts of violence grow is the anti-Gypsy stereotype, which has been rehearsed, learned and handed down in a manner rivalled only by the anti-Semitic stereotype. It delivers ammunition and material for reporting in the...

  12. Chapter 7 On the Demonising of Jews and Gypsies in Fairy Tales
    (pp. 91-106)
    Wilhelm Solms

    The title of the chapter is designed to make us think, both as Europeans and as connoisseurs of the fairy tale. It places on a par two ethnic groups which have both lived as minority groups in our midst, and of which only a few have survived, but who apart from this common fate are totally different in terms of origins, language and culture. According to the title, what they have in common is extremely negative, namely that they were seen by the majority population not as human beings but as non-human creatures. The title also presupposes that this perception...

  13. Chapter 8 Images of Sinti and Roma in German Children’s and Teenage Literature
    (pp. 107-128)
    Michail Krausnick

    I would like first to declare my own vested interests: as a literary critic I consider myself committed to objectivity, as a supporter of the civil rights movement I stand up for people who are made into the objects of literature, and as an author I myself am in the glass house. Given these vested interests, I have three questions to ask with reference to the texts: what are the author’s intentions? What effect does this have on the reader? What consequences does this type of representation have for the Sinti and Roma? The interrelationship between intention, effect and consequences...

  14. Chapter 9 Challenging New Literary Images of Sinti and Roma
    (pp. 129-144)
    Susan Tebbutt

    There are many parallels between the treatment of black people by white people and the treatment of Gypsies by non-Gypsies. In the introduction to her study of race and representation, bell hooks, a leading American black feminist critic, argues:

    For some time now the critical challenge for black folks has been to expand the discussion of race and representation beyond debates about good and bad imagery. […] The issue is really one of standpoint. […] It is also about transforming the image, creating alternatives, asking ourselves questions about what types of images subvert, pose critical alternatives, and transform our worldviews...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 145-156)
    Susan Tebbutt

    In this volume issues relating to society, language and literature have been examined in turn. By way of conclusion, the three strands are pulled together with reference to the Gypsy/Gadzo relationship, centuries of marginalisation and persecution, and postwar developments.

    More than fifty years have passed since the ‘hidden Holocaust’, the genocide of half a million European Romanies, the culmination of over five centuries of persecution of the ethnic group, but the Gypsy/Gadzo relationship still remains far from harmonious. In common with Gypsies in other countries in Europe, Gypsies in German-speaking countries face many problems with respect to their identity and...

  16. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 157-159)
  17. Select bibliography
    (pp. 160-166)
  18. Index
    (pp. 167-168)