Online Module: The Holocaust and Fundamental Rights

Doc. 1: Picturing Roma and Sinti

About

Societal antiziganism and images of "gypsies" live on in people’s minds and government offices across Europe and are used to justify contemporary and future unequal treatment and exclusion of Roma and Sinti.

Assignments

1. Look at the picture gallery and try to work out who belongs to the Roma or Sinti and who doesn’t.

2. Which pictorial elements are necessary to recognise Roma and Sinti as such? And which comes first: the clichés and stereotypes that shape our perception or the pictorial representation that provokes resentments and prejudices?

3. In the rubric "Sources" you will find background information on the people in the pictures.

Sources

Captions and Sources of the photos

  • 1.  Spanish Romani woman, source: Austin A. Breed, Gitanos, National Geographic Magazine, March 1917. Source: WikiCommons.
  • 2.  A German Sinti family, © Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg.
  • 3.  Sinti basketmaker's family Winterstein from Würzburg, Germany, © Rita Prigmore
  • 13 members of the Winterstein family were deported to Auschwitz, amongst them six babies and little children. Only three adults came back. 
  • 4.  Roma during the pilgrimage at Saintes-Maries de la Mer, in the south of France. Source: Wiki Commons.
  • 5.  Joanna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska is a Polish Roma and the vice president of the Roma Community of Poland. Photo taken from http://czterystronybajek.blogspot.de/p/team.html.
  • 6.  Family members of the German Sinto Siegfried Franz (center first row, right next to him his wife and his son, left side: Jana Müller) became victims of the Nazi terror. At 1 February 2013 family Franz were guests of honor at the commemoration ceremony to remember the Sinti, who were expelled 75 years before from Dessau. Source: www.projektgegenpart.org.
  • 7.  The Roma girl Ceija Stojka (right), born 1933, survived as a child concentration camps Auschwitz Birkenau and Bergen Belsen, her sister Mitzi is on the left, the ethnic origin of the girls in the middle is unkown. Source: Ceija Stojka, Wir leben im Verborgenen. Erinnerungen einer Rom-Zigeunerin, Wien: Picvus Verlag 1988.
  • 8.  Roma Serbian boy in front of his home, in a Zigeuner-Unterbringungslager [temporary accomodation camp for Roma] in Serbia near Kosovo, photo taken by El capitan, summer 2003. Source: Wiki Commons.
  • 9.  Roma brothers Erich and Adolf Strauss from Germany, photo taken during a communion ceremony before their deportation to Auschwitz, where they were murdered ages of sixteen and seventeen, respectively. Source: Auschwitzhefte 7.
  • 10. Two Moldavian children: Anti-Gypsy propaganda. Title: Russia, ragged Sinti and Roma children in the mud. Original Caption: "Gypsy. Even in rainy weather and mud the little kids running around half naked. If they grew up, the wrinklies hang them their worn old rags around." ["Zigeuner. Selbst in Regenwetter und Schlamm laufen die kleinen Kinder halbnackt herum. Wenn sie grösser werden, hängen Ihnen die Alten ihre abgelegten Lumpen um."] PK 637, Film-Nr. 3475/6, Bildberichter Friedmann, Tiraspol [Sowjetunion] 6.4.1944, © Bundesarchiv 183-2004-0203-501, CC-BY-SA. 
  • 11. Roma boilermaker's family, photo taken in an atelier in Zalaegerszeg, before 1922, © Ethnographical Museum Budapest.
  • 12.  Pista Dankó (July 13, 1858 – March 19, 1903) was a Hungarian-born bandleader and composer belonging to the Romani people. He primarily worked in the folk music styles popular in Hungary in the 19th century, and is a rare example of a Rom that was born into poverty and then rose to relative fame and fortune. Source: Wiki Commons.
  • 13.  Otto Pankok and Sinti from Düsseldorf at the opening of his exhibition entitled “Zigeuner” [Gypsies] in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 1932. His art was defamed as "degenerate" by the Nazi regime. In the words of Romani Rose, Chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma: "There is no other German artist whose work gives such an immediate reflection of the Nazi genocide of the Sinti and Roma." Source: Otto Pankok, Sinti Portraits 1931 to 1949, 2008.
  • 14.  Several Slovakian children work on the same picture: Jan Sajko has become widely known because of his extraordinary success in awaking the artistic talent of his primary school students. The paintings and drawing of Sajko’s students have been shown in exhibits around the world, and have won many awards. Jan Sajko is employed as an art teacher in the all-Roma public school in Jarovnice, the largest and very poor Romany settlement in Slovakia. 
  • 15.  Emil Christ in his soldier's uniform, with his cousine in the time of World War II: Although many Roma and Sinti served in the First World War as soldiers, the National Socialists excluded all Roma and Sinti from the Wehrmacht for reasons of „racial politics“. Emil Christ was deported with his wife and two children to Auschwitz, © Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg.
  • 16.  Bob Siebert Sextett playing at the opening of the radio station RIAS. Oscar Siebert, a German Sinto, who survived forced labour and the concentration camp Mauthausen, is playing guitar (on the right). Source: Oskar Siebert: „"Ich spielte um mein Leben". Von der illegalen Musikkapelle in Mauthausen zum Berliner Tanzorchester, ed. by Constanze Jaiser, Jacob David Pampuch, Berlin 2008.
  • 17.  Members of the "Association of Gypsies Musicians" in front of the Hungarian National Museum, 1930ies. © Ethnographical Museum Budapest (Collection Kovás).
  • 18.  Two Holocaust survivors, the Sinto Franz Rosenbach (middle) und the Sinto Mano Höllenreiner (right) in dialogue with youth, Auschwitz 2011, © Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg.
  • 19.  In Serbia and Kosovo there are in all ethnic groups, many families who had to return from Germany in recent years, amongst them Roma. Under the guidance of the artist Ana Adamović and the photographer Jetmir Idrizi 14 young people in Serbia and Kosovo took pictures which show where they live now and how they feel. Source: Dirk Auer, Blick zurück nach vorn, Goethe-Institut. Belgrad 2008, p. 39, photo taken in Kamenic by Jetzmir Idrizi.
  • 20.  Zoni Weisz born 1937 is a Sinto Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands. Due to a Dutch police officer and member of the Dutch resistance Zoni Weisz was rescued, whereas his family was murdered in  Auschwitz. The photo shows him at the German Federal Parliament on 27 January 2011, at the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony – for the first time a person from the Roma and Sinti people was invited to speak. Source: Exhibition "Frankfurt – Auschwitz", Bernd Rausch

1. Look at the picture gallery and try to work out who belongs to the Roma or Sinti and who doesn’t.

2. Which pictorial elements are necessary to recognise Roma and Sinti as such? And which comes first: the clichés and stereotypes that shape our perception or the pictorial representation that provokes resentments and prejudices?

3. In the rubric "Sources" you will find background information on the people in the pictures.

 

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