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If You're Invisible Do You Matter?

By KJ Mullins     May 19, 2007 in World
They are the forgotten. The invisible. Scores died in the Holocaust and yet their very mention is brief. They are a timeless people.
The fact that there is little mention of their beginnings leads belief that they predated written word. DNA evidence shows that they started out in Asia, slowly migrating to Eastern Europe.
What we do know is there language is very much like Indian languages. They were likely to have been slaves of their conquerors moving into the Byzantine Empire between 1000 and 1050 A.D. That theory is based on their language and the Hindu words therein. They remained in the Empire until the Muslims expanded into the area. Again the Roma moved on.
Some say that they were the Atsinganoi that Saint Athanasia gave food to in 800 A.D. In 803 A.D. Theophanes the Confessor wrote of having the help of the Atsinganoi during a riot and that they used magic.
Constantine IX was visited by the Atsinganoi in the form of fortune tellers and wizards in 1054. They were on hand to rid the forest of wild animals threatening the farm animals. Later they were accused of being evildoers who poisoned his favorite hound.
Around 1360 the Atsinganoi had a community in Corfu. They were an important portion of the local economy at that time.
By the 14th century the Roma had made it to the Balkans. By the 16th century they were in England, Germany, Scotland, France, Spain and Sweden. They ventured to the New World during the colonial days of Virgina and French Louisiana. Larger immigration to North America happened around 1860 and 1900.
In Romania they were enslaved for five centuries. They endured the Holocaust as the Nazis murdered 200,000 to 800,000 trying to rid them from the Earth in what was known as the Porajmos.
Their language was banned from performances in Bulgaria. They have been forced to have sterilization from various European Countries.
They are a people with no country. They are the Gypsies.
This series will look at their culture, the Holocaust, where they are today, and the children.
More about Roma, Series, Brief history