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A History of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia [Paperback]

David M. Crowe

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Book Description

15 Jan 1996
Drawn from traditional sources, this history explores the life, history and culture of the gypsies, or Roma, from their arrival in the Eastern European region in the Middle Ages until the present. Their past reflects the diverse traditions of every part of Eastern Europe and particularly Russia, where they have exerted a profound influence on literary and musical elements. Balkan Roma were affected by the region's Ottoman past, while Central European gypsies were influenced by Habsburg traditions. Crowe also reviews the tragic and virulent prejudice and mistreatment of gypsies, epitomized by their losses during the Nazi holocaust. He concludes by examining the rebirth of prejudice and the plight of the Roma as they struggle to redefine their role in the new post-Communist world.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful history of Eastern Europe Roma 2 Sep 2002
By Amber Hansford - Published on Amazon.com
Though for my research this book was a bit slim (dealing in pre-1600's) this book is wonderful for anyone interested in the Roma people who populate Eastern Europe. Dealing with both the beautiful and the ugly side of human nature, this book captures how the Roma live and have lived in Eastern Europe and Russia throughout history.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing history 24 Mar 2008
By Seth J. Frantzman - Published on Amazon.com
This fascinating survey of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia offers histories of all the important communities in the East including in Bulgaria, Czechslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Russia and Yugoslavia. Obviously other Gypsy communities are left out, such as those in Greece, Albania and Turkey. But such is life, the book stands alone nonetheless.

Each chapter is a veritable encyclopedia of Gypsy life. For instance on Bulgaria the book describes how Gypsy women refused to don the Muslim veil forced upon Muslim women after the Turkish colonization of Eastern Europe. The book is packed full of data and demographics. For instance we learn that in 1910 there were 120,000 Roma listed on the census and in 1930 the estimate was 140,000. Muslim Gypsies were forcibly expelled from Bulgaria after the war. The book details the various anti-Gypsy laws that existed from Turkish times to the era of fascism and Communism. Usually disguised as `anti-nomadism' laws the target was obvious.

In Czechslovakia the Roma worked as castle musicians and metal workers in the 16th century. In 1780 there were 43,000 Roma in Slovakia. In addition the Gypsys of Slovakia survived the war because of the intervention of the Slovak leader Jozef Tiso and his desire, despite being an ally of Hitler, to have his country free of Nazism. Roma in enighbouring lands were not so luck and the Holocaust destroyed many communities.

In Rumania, long home to one of the largest concentrations of Roma they totaled according to estimates almost half a million or 2% of the population in 1977. In 1992 some claimed there were 2.2 million Gypsies a total of 10% of the population of the country.

In Yugoslavia the Gypsies were part of a patchwork of nationalities that hated one another. One time they were viewed by Serbs in the 1920s as being allied to the Muslim Albanians but later the reverse would happen when the Croatian Ustasha Nazi collaborator Catholic government would exterminate the Gypsy population of Croatia and after the Nato `liberation' of Kosovo the same would happen in 1999 when Muslim Albanians cleansed the land of Gypsies (there had been 14,000 in Kosovo in 1971). In Macedonia the largest Gypsy community was constructed in the 1960s called Suto Orizari. In 1991 there were 200,000 Roma in Macedonia.

This is simply a fascinating book that anyone with an interest in minorities, European history of Gypsies should get. One unfortunate fact: the book does not mention if there were any contacts between Gypsy communities and Jewish ones.

Seth J. Frantzman
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding must read book. 16 Dec 1998
By EyeSpy122@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
This book is the most comperhensive work on Gypsies today. Anyone intrested in Gypsies and their origins should check this out.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historic European and Nazi Intolerance Examined 5 Jun 2008
By FYI - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent overview and introduction to the traumatic history of the Gypsy, or Roma, population. This volume is more of a demographic study than an anthropological examination of Gypsy beliefs, culture, or spirituality. Sadly, many of the exhaustive and extensive sources that the author translated contain racist aspersions and ugly stereotypes of the Gypsies. The Roma were actually bought and sold as slaves throughout Eastern Europe and Russia, and even churches participated in this, as these refugees, originally from Northern India, were viewed complete outsiders, damned.

If there was ever a people who suffered at least as badly for centuries as Jews did in these countries before, during, and after World War II, it was this population, which Crowe exhaustively documents here. This book is a good source for initial research, and as a way to access obscure and previously untranslated materials. For scholars, or someone who shares Gypsy heritage, like myself, researching this culture, heritage, and belief systems from the inside, this is a good and necessary beginning.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars informative 23 May 2011
By discriminating damsel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A really good history but a little lacking in the cultural aspect of their way of life. It would have been nice to have a bit more on this.
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