Toxic Waste from the Family Line – Gypsies


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The consequences of generational sin pours like toxic waste into our lives.

“Toxic Waste from the Family Line” is a series of articles based on historical research.

These resources work in conjunction with our generational prayer model and are useful as references while you ask God to reveal generational issues in your life.


The following are taken from The Gypsies and Their Journey – Fonseca

Event

Generational Issue

 

Early on in their existence Gypsies held a curious position in society: they were at once more powerful and, by the nineteenth century, less free than they have ever been since…The Gypsies were wanted, and – Isabel detained – not for crimes, but for their talents. Tinsmiths and coppersmiths, locksmiths, blacksmiths especially, as well as the esteemed musicians among them, were valued and even fought over….In social and family life they stuck to their own – by exclusion, to be sure, but also (or eventually) as a matter of choice. Indeed their preferred lines of work have always enforced separateness and solidarity…They are culturally marginal and, as sojourners, they may be ill-at-ease both in their new place of residence and among other equally isolated “relations”, off at some other end of the Diaspora. p. 97

 

Isolation

Slavery

 

Gypsies, like Jews, have always been cast as “the enemy within”; they have also, like Jews, been traders working for themselves, whatever else they also were, and therefore scorned by people tied to the routine exigencies of agriculture, or by those who worked as employees, for wages. p 98

 

Persecution

…the word the Gypsies use to refer to themselves (and literally to mean man or husband): rom among European Gypsies; lom in Armenian Romani; and dom in Persian and Syrian dialects. Rom, dom, and lom are all in phonetic correspondence with the Sanskrit domba and the Modern Indian dom or dum, which refer to a particular group of tribes who may look familiar.

In Sanskrit domba means “man of low caste living by singing and music The Dom still exist in India; they are nomads who do a number of jobs: basket-making, smithing, metalworking, scavenging, music-making. Not surprisingly, many people have leapt on a Dom theory of origins for the Gypsies. P. 100

Poverty

Nomad

 

The Gypsy women in the Sibiu market were more expressive…more menacing and more fearful, with their hard mouths and timorous eyes – but all their faces, I thought, reflected centuries of unrelieved hate, the expression of the Roma’s deep “enemy-memory.”…This look is so much the norm. p. 173

 

Hate

…the systematic, broad-scale dehumanization of the Gypsies in these parts goes back at least to the fifteenth century, to Prince Vlad II – Dracul, father of the Impaler.

In September 1445 Prince Vlad Dracul (Vlad the Devil) captured from Bulgaria some twelve thousand persons “who looked like Egyptians” and took them home to Wallachia “without luggage or animals”; thus he became the first wholesale importer of Gypsies as slaves…the historical Dracula, Vlad Tepes, seems to have believed that the Gypsies were a particularly fearless (or foolhardy) class of warrior. In the epic poem Tiganiada, by Ion Budai-Deleany (1760-1820), it is recorded that Dracula led an army of Gypsies, distinguishable by their mottled cowhide uniforms, in battle against the ever-encroaching Turks. P. 174

Slavery

Murder

 

…the history of Gypsy enslavement, which spanned four centuries, remained unknown even among educated Romani’s. p. 176

 

Identity

 

In 1385, the lord of all Wallachia, Prince Dan I, reaffirmed a gift of forty Gypsy families made fifteen years earlier by his uncle to the monasteries at Vodita and Tismana. In 1388, the next Wallachian Prince, Mircia the Old, donated three hundred families to the Cozia monastery. In Moldavia in 1428, Alexandru the Good handed over “31 tigani tents” to the monastery of Bistrita-the same monastery, with its shaded streams and rising fields, where Kalderesh Gypsies today hold their annual festival, robustly ignorant of the taint on the sylvan setting. P. 177

 

Devaluation

 

Peasants could own land but Gypsies could not p. 178

 

Loss of Dignity

 

But only Gypsies were human chattels who could be separated and sold off at whim, like farm animals. Shopping lists, or records of exchange rates: one Gypsy for one pig; a team of Gypsies for a team of oxen or horses; a newlywed couple for a few barrels of wine; one man for a garden or for the use of garage space; one Gypsy girl fetched “a pair of copper pots,” and another, a defective one perhaps, went for a jar of honey. It was even possible to sell “half a Gypsy”, which meant a woman with half of whatever children she would bear: proof that, despite other laws that expressly prohibited it, Gypsy families were systematically divided…It seemed inescapable that the trade in Gypsies represented a turning point: from the moment that they were imported en masse, the prejudice against them was sealed. The term “Gypsy” (and its regional variations) no longer signified a broad ethnic group or race – or even, as it sometimes had, a particular profession, such as musician or metalworker. For the first time it referred collectively to a social class: the slave caste. p 79

 

Slavery

Separation

Abandonment

Rejection

Prejudice

 

Were the violence and hatred against the Gypsies today the legacy of slavery – along, perhaps, with their own difficulty in overcoming low expectations? The idea was certainly widely accepted in relation to others with a similar history, such as African Americans. But then how had the episode of Gypsy slavery been overlooked or dismissed by so many historians? The terms “Gypsy” and “slave” were interchangeable; they described a particular social caste. p. 180

 

Violence

 

…only 150 years ago, Gypsies were themselves dancing bears of a kind. Del Chiaro, the Italian secretary to Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, wrote in his memoirs about entertainment involving Gypsies: “In some courts they were painted with soot and with their hands behind their backs, standing before a bowl of flour in which a few coins were hidden, they were obliged to duck for the coins with their teeth…Or else they would be made to catch in their mouths, while running, an egg suspended in the air…or to remove from a candle a coin lodged in the wax, without extinguishing the flame. Naturally they burned their lips and hair.” Gypsy slaves were made into clowns, but they were also status symbols, and an essential part of any halfway decent dowry. p. 182

 

Humiliation

Torture

Torment

Quote from a German tourist’s diary in 1836:

“Gypsies are our property and we can do with them what we like.”

In Bucharest, Von Gauting (the tourist referred to above) saw many Gypsy beggars with their hands cut off and heard that their masters were responsible: “One of these told me that his father had killed his master who had wanted to cut off his hands and told me that his father was hanged.”

“Sometimes the boyars would allow their children some ‘fun’ by whipping these begging Gypsies,” Von Gauting concludes his Craiova diary, “and they claim that this is part of their daily education. Parents kill and maim as they please; children are taught to take their pleasures from very early on. The Gypsies are treated worse than animals.”

More than 150 years later, one still sees neatly maimed beggar children (not just Gypsies) in the streets of Bucharest. But now the police and the directors of the main children’s shelter in the capital routinely claim that it is the children’s parents, always Gypsies, who mutilate them in order to improve their earnings (or, as one policeman explained to me “to give them a profession”). The uniform ignorance among Gypsies, even in Romanian Gypsies, about their slave past was striking. p. 185-186

Torture

 

The absence of the elderly here had everything to do with the difficulty of Gypsy life: there just weren’t that many old Gypsies anywhere – their life expectancy was twelve or fifteen years below the norm. p. 188

 

Early death

Walls across Eastern and Central Europe are sprayed with Death-to-Gypsy slogans, p. 208

…twenty-one thousand Gypsies at Auschwitz were murdered. p. 241

Gypsy Holocaust memorial…500,000, “Don’t forget the 500,000” – the 500,000 murdered Gypsies.

Death

Murder

 

Gypsies have no myths about the beginning of the world, or about their own origins; they have no sense of a great historical past. Very often their memories do not extend beyond three or four generations – that is, to those experiences and ancestors who are remembered by the oldest living person among them. p. 243

 

Identity