We encourage, “Never Forget” when we discuss the atrocities of the Holocaust. Yet, how many know about the Pharrajimos when the Hungarian Romani were mass-murdered by the Third Reich? Historian Ian Hancock estimates between 220,000 to 1,500,000 Romani were massacred during WWII. The fact that we don’t even know the actual number is disturbing, as if this cultural minority was not worth counting.
Remember the Romani Holocaust. Learn about it. Write about it. After all, we need more diverse books.
Why Romani at Carrot Ranch? When my children were young they were happily subjected to my interests in music (as they’ve grown, that role has reversed). Before we would meet and welcome into our lives an American-Romani, my children would spin and dance in the large living room we had in Boulder, Montana, singing along with Cher from a cassette tape: “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”
Although Cher popularized the culture, the title and story reflect strong prejudices against Romani people, even in the US. Another song would make me curious about the history of gypsies in the American western expansion, a time period of which I write. That song, “Hurry Sundown” by The Outlaws captivated my imagination with these lyrics:
Gypsies danced around the campfire, shook their tambourines/
They were waiting for the ghost of an outlaw, Sundown was his name.
The song ties Romani mythology to western gunfighter mythology, something I hope to work on as a project in the future. In the meantime, I hope to spread awareness to others to remember the Romani Holocaust. Author and book reviewer, Anne Goodwin, reviews one of the few literary novels on the subject of the Pharrajimos at Annecdotal: “The Devouring: Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawdon.”
The Bunkhouse Bookstore recommends the following books to learn more and thanks the authors for giving voice to a complex, vibrant and misunderstood minority culture, the Romani People.
A non-fictional account of the Romani Holocaust through the tales of 12 survivors.
A non-fictional account by an author who is both Romani and an authority on Roma identity and culture.
Described as a heart-breaking and tender novel, this book is a fictional account of a Romani boy during the great devouring.
This novel tells the story of two Coppersmith Gypsies of central Europe, leading up to WWII.