Since at least the 14th century, Roma people (Called by others Gypsies) were treated in Europe as human chattel who could be separated and sold off at whim, like farm animals.
Shopping lists showed gypsy children were traded for cookware, or for a garden plot, and that prices were even paid for ‘half a Gypsy,’ meaning a woman and half of her children. The terms Gypsy and Slave were interchangeable. Girls were wrested from their screaming parents’ arms, to be used for sex and servitude. Young boys would routinely have their hands chopped off, which still allowed them to work as enslaved beasts of burden.
Sources of all subsequent photos and text: I. Forces. “Bury Me Standing”, 1995 & Martine Rothblatt, 1998.
Children and adults were put through every kind of humiliation and torture at the hands of their masters. A favorite” entertainment” was making gypsies ferret coins out of a candle’s molten wax inevitably burning their lips, hair and faces in the process. How many lost Roma souls from centuries of racist oppression are reflected in the Gypsy children of today that fill European train station undergrounds, addicted to glue and surviving through prostitution and begging?
In the course of trying to establish a racial basis for Gypsy deviance, Ritter’s team collected blood and hair samples, face masks, body measurements of all kinds, and more than thirty thousand genealogies
500,000 roma people were killed by the nazis from 1936, when hundreds were sequestered in Berlin’s Marzahn garbage dump for racial identification and death by disease, to 1941, when thousand became among the first “lives unworthy of living” to be gassed in the remote polish village of Chemno, to 1944 when 86 pregnant women at Auschwitz were killed during childbirth by Nazi injections into them of typhus fever to see the effect on the fetuses.
The Roma people never lost their souls from roaming; they have lost countless loved ones from racism — victimization as an “out-group” with purportedly “inferior” inherited characteristics.
In fact, the Roma people are a set of individuals like everyone else, with a unique set of cultural traditions that contribute beautifully to the quilt of human life.