Gypsy Romany, The Overlooked Survivors Of The Holocaust

Gypsy romany, one group that has been overlooked now as well as during the Holocaust.

Throughout most of the world the civil rights movement has neatly sidestepped one very notable group. For centuries, the Rom, commonly known as Gypsies, has been forced to endure more restrictive laws aimed specifically at their culture. As laws grew to protect other peoples the Gypsies were not ignored, but deliberately targeted.

The word "gypsy" itself has entered our language as a racial slur""hence the world "gyp" meaning to con or contrive an unfair bargain. "Gypsies" are universally known as thieves and con artists and have been accused of crimes ranging from baby-stealing to horse-theft. They prefer the terms Rom, Roma, or Romani.

Laws restricting the movement, education, and culture of the Rom have been in force for centuries. When Hitler swept them up into internment camps, this was little different than the sort of practice that had been going on in Europe for nearly as long as they had existed.

At various times the Rom have been barred from entering certain countries, the United States one of them. Many prospective immigrants of Romani blood were turned back at Ellis Island, simply for being "gypsies." They were considered a threat to the established order in most European countries, and the stigma of being Rom carried over even here into the States.

This persecution dates as far back as the 13th Century, when the church bans any member from displaying bears as entertainers or telling fortunes, punishable by a six year excommunication.

By the 15th Century the Rom were transported to various points in Europe as slaves. As a group they began to suffer expulsion from various European countries""branded as outlaws, traitors, spies, and sometimes, witches.

The origin of the Rom has been debated among scholars for ages, though now, through the use of language patterns and other similar devices, it is pretty much a standard theory that they originated in what is now India, some as traveling musicians, others as nomadic craftsmen. Most people have heard of them, but know next to nothing about them. They are an interesting people with a long and colorful history, well worth the time to research.

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