THE DESTINY OF EUROPE'S GYPSIES by Donald and Grattan Puxon Kenrick


Email this review


Despite the many romantic legends of colorful caravans, tireless fiddlers and black-eyed dancing girls, the Romani (or Gypsy peoples of Europe) have endured centuries of harassment wherever they have journeyed. During World War II the Nazis exterminated a quarter of a million of these traveling people, while at the present time industrial society threatens their unique culture by expulsion and assimilation. Kenrick (Director of the Institute of Contemporary Romani Research) and Puxon (Secretary of the World Romani Congress) have produced this carefully documented study of systematic defamation and persecution with the two-fold aim of arousing the conscience of European governments and igniting the dormant ""nationalism"" of Europe's storied nomads. Despite its obvious exhortatory intent the book provides a detailed and valuable statistical survey of gypsy oppression under the Nazis supplemented by the gruesome testimonials of those who survived the camps. The authors offer dear evidence that Nazi race theory ranked these ""Non-Aryan Aryans"" just above the Jews and that Himmler, Bormann and even the Fuhrer personally interested themselves in ""the gypsy menace"" and its containment via sterilization, deportation and mass murder. Pointing out that while the fate of the Jews aroused the fury of all the western democracies, the atrocities committed against the gypsies have generally been minimized or ignored -- Kenrick and Puxon further complain that attempts to exact indemnification from postwar regimes have generally met with failure and frustration. A preliminary section of the book covers early modern Europe when the stereotype of shiftless, dirty tinkers and horse thieves first took root and the concluding chapters are devoted to the contemporary proliferation of ordinances and injunctions which discriminate against ""the rubbish people."" An important introduction to a perishing culture and a much victimized, still quite mysterious tribe.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1972
Publisher: Basic Books