ROMA LIFE ON THE EVE OF THE TRAGEDY

The Roma are a European tribe with Indian roots. This tribe is a diverse ethnic community, however, from a linguistic point of view, the “Indian root” in their origin can be traced in their language. Roma consist of different groups self-identifying themselves with certain ethnonyms of proper and external designations: Arlie, Calais, Gurbet, Kaale, Calderash, Lovara, Manush, Sepechides, Sinti, Ursari etc.; many of them also use the name "Roma". Usually, all these groups are generalized by the name “Gypsies”, which is sometimes used in texts for descriptive purposes and without negative connotations.

For a long time, the Roma overcame the difficult “path to Europe” through Persia (Iran), Armenia and Anatolia, as evidenced by numerous pieces of evidence (primarily language borrowings). However, due to the lack of documents, the path and course of Roma migration remains a matter of debate.

In the second half of the 19th century, a second wave of resettlement took place: Roma groups from Central and South-Eastern Europe moved to other regions of Europe. Political processes and social-economic changes at the turn of the 19 -20 centuries also had an impact on the Roma - they were discriminated against (the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and prejudiced (the USSR in the interwar period).

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The first mention of the appearance of Roma in the lands of modern Ukraine dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. Roma came here from Wallachia and Moldova, and until the 16th century they have relocated all over Ukraine.

The ethnonym “Gypsy” appeared in the Ukrainian language at the end of the 16th century. Well-known Roma groups on the territory of Ukraine: Vlachs, Servants, Hungarian Roma and others. On the eve of the World War II, 20-25 thousand Roma lived on the territory of modern Ukraine.

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The Nazi genocide culminated in a series of acts against the Roma population, which manifested itself not only in discriminatory measures, persecution, but also in deportations to concentration camps and death camps. As well as the Jewish population in Europe, the Roma were disenfranchised, imprisoned and killed by the Nazis and their allies.

According to various estimates, the victims of the Nazi program of extermination in the Third Reich and the occupied territories were from 220 to more than 500 thousand people. Of these, from 25 to 40 thousand were Roma, who until 1933 had German citizenship.

 

The Nazi policy of total extermination of Roma and Sinti is often referred to as a “Little-known” genocide. The lack of a written tradition of remembrance of the tragedy of World War II in the Roma environment played the important role in the emergence of this term. Researchers are literally accumulating crumbs of information about this terrible page of the past, drawing information from the documentation of the perpetrators of this crime, or from isolated memories of contemporaries of the destruction of Roma communities during the Nazi occupation.

May 16 is marked as Romani Resistance Day. On this day in 1944, Roma prisoners at the Auschwitz-II-Birkenau concentration camp set an example of organized resistance to Nazi plans to physically exterminate the Roma.