Why do we always forget the Roma?

In his absorbing and sometimes outrageous memoir The Way to to the Labyrinth: Memories of East and West the authority on Hinduism and Indian music Alain Daniélou makes the following thoughtful comment: 

I often wonder at the way people who speak of genocide always seems to forget the Gypsies, the homosexuals, and the German dissidents who died at the hands of the Nazis; by limiting their condemnations, they only weaken their argument. It is not just because the victims were Jewish that extermination camps were abominable. I never quite trust the sincerity of people who openly condemn anti-Semitism but conveniently forget the many other victims of Nazism. 

Back in 2006 in my post Roma - the forgotten Holocaust victims I explained how the fate of the millions of Jews murdered in Hitler's death camps is well documented and remembered, but less is known about the 500,000 Gypsies who also died. There are not many written accounts of the Roma or Sinti travellers who died in the camps, because their culture is traditionally oral, not literary. By contrast the majority of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust came from educated middle-classes, and left behind written records of their terrible fate.

Multi-instrumentalist Titi Robin's music has been part of my life for more years than I care to remember. An ardent champion of the music and culture of the Roma, for his 1993 album Gitans Titi was joined by Roma musicians from Spain to Rajasthan, including 'The Gypsy Queen of Rajasthan,' Gulabi Sapera who is seen above with Titi .


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