Sinti and Roma – in poetry and prose
In Poland, the Roma poet Bronisława Wajs (1910-1987) is one of the most famous poets. In addition to her poems, the memory of her work lives in Documentary and Feature films fort.
The first work published by a Sinto in Germany was by Latscho Tschawo. In 1984 he wrote “The Liberation of Latscho Tschawo. A Sinto Life in Germany”. In it he criticizes the constant discrimination that Sinti and Roma experience in the Federal Republic: “I ask you: What do they consider us to be? In all cities where you have your sewage treatment plants, where you have your rubble dumps, you settle in their vicinity always Sinti. […] Why has it never occurred to anyone that we also want to live beautifully? Is that a privilege for you? “
The Austrian Auschwitz survivor Ceija Stojka (1933-2013) began writing several books since the 1980s (We live in secret, 1988; Travelers in this world, 1992; Do I dream that I am alive? Liberated from Bergen-Belsen, 2005). They were filmed under the titles “Ceija Stojka. Portrait of a Romni” (1999) and “Under the boards of bright green grass” (2005). The bilingual volume of poetry (Romanes, German) “Poems and Pictures. My choice to write; I can’t do it. O fallo de isgiri; me tschischanaf les” was published in 2003.
Writing in Romany
In addition to Ceija Stojka, other writers also write in Romani, the language of the Sinti and Roma. For example the Austrian writer Stefan Horvath. His son Peter Sárközi died in an antigypsy bomb attack in 1995. In addition, the explosive device killed Josef Simon as well as Ervin and Karl Horvath. In 2003 Horvath published the stories “I was not in Auschwitz”. In 2013 his book “Atsinganos. The Oberwart Roma and their settlements” was published. Horvath was awarded the Burgenland Culture Prize in 2019.
Nedjo Osman is a journalist and director. He is also head of the TKO / Choreodrama Theater – European Romano Theater in Cologne. In 2003 he was awarded the Yul Brynner Prize for directing his play “Medea”.
Translations into Romany
In the project Translation Romans publications are translated into Romani. Numerous interpreters compile texts from Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Czech and German in order to translate them into one of the more than 80 dialects of Romani. In doing so, they want to make the language of the Sinti and Roma more public.
Sinti & Roma: youth literature
Stephanie Bart describes in her novel “German champions” the story of the boxer Heinrich Johann “Rukelie” Trollmann, who fought as a Sinto in 1933 against the “Aryan” boxer Adolf Witt for the German championship. Although he won the German light heavyweight championship, it was stripped from him by the Nazi rulers. In 1935 Trollmann was forcibly sterilized. He fought as a Wehrmacht soldier on the Eastern Front until 1942, but was then arrested and taken to Neuengamme concentration camp, where he was presumably murdered in 1944. The young boxer’s life became 2013 filmed.
Farewell to Sidonie
Erich Hackl describes in his book the short life of Sidonie Adlersburg. The foundling grows up in Austria with a social democratic family. After Austria was annexed to the Greater German Reich in 1938, the social climate in the village deteriorated significantly. In 1943 the child was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp under the pretext of “family reunification” with other Roma. The ten-year-old girl dies there. The filming of the book was published in 1990.
In “Don’t think we’ll stay here – The life story of Sinto Hugo Höllenreiner” Anja Tuckermann tells the story of nine-year-old Hugo, who survived two years in various concentration camps. SS doctor Dr. Mengele carried out brutal medical experiments on him and his brothers in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was only able to talk about it when he was over 60. His goal is to educate young people by reporting what it really was like under the National Socialists.
Goodbye in heaven
Michail Krausnick draws on the basis of the Girl’s Angela Reinhardt how children from Sinti and Roma families were used for research on racial politics. Angela narrowly escaped the extermination in Auschwitz. The racial researcher Eva Justin, who used the Sinti girl as an object for her doctoral thesis, worked as a youth psychologist in Frankfurt am Main after 1945. In 1994 the event was as documentary worked up.
The Winterstein family from Würzburg
In the spring of 1940, the 18-year-old occurs Sintezza Theresia Winterstein in the Würzburg city theater in the opera “Carmen” as a dancer and singer. Her brother Kurt completed a training course to become a reserve officer candidate in the Wehrmacht. In “Same Eyes, Same Soul”, the historian Roland Flade traces the partial disenfranchisement and persecution of the respected Würzburg Sinti family. In 1943 a daughter of Theresa dies as a result of medical experiments in the university children’s clinic; she and her brother are forcibly sterilized. Eventually the family, including six babies and toddlers, is deported to the “gypsy camp” in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The odyssey of young Manos
In “Mano. The boy who didn’t know where he was” Anja Tuckermann tells the story of eleven-year-old Mano. As survivors of several concentration camps, the Sinto boys ended up in France with other “displaced persons” after their liberation. Following the urgent advice not to reveal his name or his origin, he withheld his identity. Meanwhile, his parents from the Höllenreiner family in Munich are desperately looking for a sign of their child’s life.
Anita Awosusi tells in “Our father” the life story of their parents and how they influenced their lives today and their activism. The focus is on her father’s survival story. At the age of 15 he was classified as a “gypsy” and deported to various ghettos and concentration camps. In the last days of the war he was forcibly recruited for the SS and had to fight against the Red Army. After years of being a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union, he finally returned to his hometown of Karlsruhe. Here he built up an existence as a violin maker and created a unique instrument for the birth of each of his five daughters.
Sinti & Roma: Films and Videos
Gibsy – The Story of Boxer Rukeli Trollmann (2013) is a documentary about the life of the boxer Rukeli Trollmann.
Goodbye in Heaven – The Sinti Children from St. Joseph’s Care (1994) is a documentary film about the children who were deported from the Catholic homes to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
The movie Django – A Life for Music (2017) illuminates the life of the legendary Sinti jazz musician Django Reinhardt at the time of the German occupation of France.
The film Swing (2002) tells the story of Max, who got to know the music and culture of a French family during his vacation.
The film Latcho Drom – Bon Voyage (1993) traces the centuries of migration of the Sinti and Roma in musical form. In eight stations, different styles of music are assigned to the respective countries and performed by professional or amateur musicians of the population group. The film begins in the desert of Rajasthan, the alleged place of origin of the Roma people. Via Egypt and Turkey it goes to Romania and Hungary to (then) Czechoslovakia. In the French part, Dorado Schmitt and his cousin Tchavolo Schmitt perform several gypsy jazz pieces. The film ends with Spanish flamenco.