16 May - Romane Resistance

What happened on 16 May 1944? In the extermination camp of Auschwitz II – Birkenau, section BIIe was called the "Gypsy Camp" (Zigeuner Lager).

Some of the Romani people transported into the hell of Auschwitz by the Nazis were not gassed immediately upon arrival, but were placed in the Zigeuner Lager. BIIe was a "mixed" camp, which meant children, men and women were imprisoned there together. 

The Romani prisoners were forced into slave labor, observed and subjected to medical tests, and tortured. Dr Josef Mengele of the SS, a sadistic psychopath known as the "Angel of Death", chose Romani individuals, most of them children, to subject to perverse experiments. 

During the night of 2 August and the early morning of 3 August 1944, all of the prisoners of the camp, without exception, were murdered in the gas chambers. Because of this known, official history, 2 August has been commemorated as Romani Holocaust Day.

The Nazis had actually wanted to close BIIe and murder its Romani prisoners in the gas chambers earlier than that, on 16 May 1944. At the time there were more than 6 000 Romani prisoners there. 

On 15 May, the underground resistance movement in the camp warned the Roma of what the Nazis were planning. On the morning of 16 May, the Romani prisoners did not show up for the usual morning roll call and ceased cooperating with the SS guards.

The Roma barricaded themselves into their shanties. They had broken into an equipment warehouse and armed themselves with hammers, pickaxes and shovels, taking apart the wooden sections of the bunks they slept on to make wooden stakes.

The children collected rocks. When the SS guards entered the camp in the late afternoon to take the Roma to the gas chambers, they began to fight for their lives. 
The Roma fought to the death. Children, men, and women all fought.  
Auschwitz had never experienced anything like it before and would not experience it again. There were losses on both sides. 

The SS were in shock because they had completely failed to anticipate this resistance. Concerned they might lose more men and that the uprising might spread to other parts of Auschwitz, they retreated from camp BIIe.

No Roma died in the gas chambers that day. The Nazis subsequently put the prisoners of BIIe on a starvation diet.

On 23 May 1944, the Nazis moved 1 500 of the strongest Romani prisoners to Auschwitz I, many of whom were then sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. On 25 May 1944, 82 Romani men were transported to the Flossenburg concentration camp and 144 young Romani women were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp.  

Less than 3 000 Romani prisoners remained in the family camp at BIIe, most of them children. On 2 August 1944, the Nazis gassed them all to death in gas chamber V, although the Roma fought back on that dark night as well.

Glory and honor to the memory of these Romani heroes!

The History of Spanish Gypsies—The Romani and Gitanos in Spain

The history of Spanish Gypsies is more complicated than one of traveling beggars—they were an essential part of the development of modern Spanish culture..

When Did the Gypsies Arrive in Spain?
As the tight-knit family groups wandered, they came to Spain. Like all the travelers before, some came across the Pyrenees and others across the Mediterranean.

The earliest known document relating to Gypsies in Europe dates from January 12, 1425. Alfonso V of Aragon issued a safe-conduct through his kingdom, which extended from the Pyrenees south to Valencia, encompassing northeastern Spain.

The safe-conduct was issued to “Sir John from Little Egypt,” though of course, he wasn’t from Egypt at all. The pass included his band, and it was good for three months. But they weren’t the last band to be welcomed into Spain.

For the next several decades, records show that various bands of Gitanos were welcomed into Spain and received safe-conduct. By the 1470s, new waves came from the Mediterranean. These groups called themselves Greeks and claimed they were fleeing from the Muslim Turks, seeking sanctuary in Christian Spain




Herdelezi - "Ederlesi"

Herdelezi - "Ederlesi" is a popular traditional folk song of Roma in the Balkans.

The song was named after the Spring Festival, which celebrates the return of the spring, and especially celebrates Roma in the Balkans, Turkey and elsewhere around the world.

Edelszi is a Roma name for the Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian holidays Gjurgjovden. It is celebrated on May 6 after an old style or April 23 after a new style (or approximately 40 days after the spring equinox).

Various pronouncements of the term (Herdeljez, Erdelezi) are variants of the Turkish Hıdırellez, a holiday that marks the beginning of the spring.

Otherwise, the known version is also a lighter motif in the cult film Emir Kusturica "House of Hanging" where she meets Vaska Jankovska

The song is on the 1988 album Bijelo Dugme, Chiriribibela entitled "Djurđevdan" (Đurđevdan). Goran Bregovic, wrote the lyrics in Serbo-Croatian.

The text in Romani Language

Sa me amala oro khelena
Oro khelena, dive kerena
Sa o Roma daje
Sa o Roma babo babo
Sa o Roma o daje
Sa o Roma babo babo
Ederlezi, Ederlezi
Sa o Roma daje
Sa o Roma babo, e bakren chinen
A me, chorro, dural beshava
Romano dive, amaro dive
Amaro dive, Ederlezi
E devado babo, amenge bakro
Sa o Roma babo, e bakren chinen
Sa o Roma babo babo
Sa o Roma o daje
Sa o Roma babo babo
Ederlezi, Ederlezi
Sa o Roma daje


Was Charlie Chaplin a Gypsy?

Newly discovered letters written to Charlie Chaplin suggest he may have been born into a Gypsy community in the West Midlands
In a bomb-proof concrete vault beneath one of the more moneyed stretches of Switzerland lies something better than bullion. Here, behind blast doors and security screens, are stored the remains of one of the greatest figures of the 20th century.

You might wonder what more there is to know about Charles Spencer Chaplin. Born in London in 1889; survivor of a tough workhouse childhood; the embodiment of screen comedy; fugitive from J Edgar Hoover; the presiding genius of The Kid and The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator.

His signature character, the Little Tramp, was once so fiercely present in the global consciousness that commentators studied its effects like a branch of epidemiology. In 1915, "Chaplinitis" was identified as a global affliction.

On 12 November 1916, a bizarre outbreak of mass hysteria produced 800 simultaneous sightings of Chaplin across America.


FaLang translation system by Faboba


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