Gypsyjazz History (3/3) – The dark side of power
One of the darkest chapters in the german history and also within the history of the Sinti and Roma was and however still is, the time of the national socialism and the Nazis.
More than 700.000 Sinti & Roma were murdered in the KZs of the Nazis between 1939 and 1944.
[…]”Athough Sinti and Roma have been discriminated and pursued for centuries, but parallel with the politics of the exclusion at regional level there have been just varied forms of a normal and peaceful living together of minority and majority population.
Before 1933 the german Sinti and Roma were often integrated into the social life and into the local connections as neighbours or colleagues. Many had served in the First World War or already before in the imperial army and had been highly decorated. This is also valid for Sinti and Roma in other European countries.
With the national-socialist seizure of power this normality of the living together was destroyed systematically. On basis of the racial theory of the Nazis, the Sinti and Roma were deprived of rights gradually, as robbed off their life basis and were finally deported into concentration- and destruction camps through thousands.”[…](Source: Stadtmuseum Erfurt)
[…]”The pursuit of the Sinti and Roma also began long years before the assumption of power by the National Socialists.(Source: http://www.annefrankguide.net/de-AT/bronnenbank.asp?oid=3662)
However, among the NS it reached the awful climax. In the “National-socialist-race-discrimination-laws” the Sinti & Roma took a special position.
Though they were partially looked at as “Arians”, but still their life-style did not fit into the Nazi-ideology. Nevertheless, thus they were mostly delivered to concentration camps under the category “Antisocial individuals”[…]
Unfortunately, resentiments in general have a long (unlucky) tradition against any kind of nomads, especially like Sinti and Roma (however, also to other moving ethnic groups like Jenische or other travelling Circus-people) until today.
And, as well unfortunately, this so called “Antiziganism” basic position is also very widespread even today amongst a lot of germans and other european neighbours.
[…]”Antiziganism is a way of thinking which brandmarks these people as “foreign”, “lazy”, “musically” or “free living”, “primitively”, “archaically”, “without culture” or “criminally”, “nomadic” and “resistant to modernisation” just to mention only some of the terms used.
Antiziganism is directed against an ethnic minority (mostly against nomads, but to other groups of foreigners as well) which suggests that such a behaviour is subordinated as an invariable nature. In fact it is a basic subjective view, but regrettably, absolutely accepted till this day in the today’s society of many people worldwide especially against Sinti and Roma.
This basic position makes it impossible to recognise the real people and leads to massive discriminations of the minority. In fact this makes it falsely possible to (mis-)interpret the “Antiziganism” as a part of the cultural code of the German – and in general the western – society. Antiziganism often contains projections interpreted in which own wishes are subordinated to the “others”.
There is also is found the expression of own “foreign self” in “Antizganism” which may not be lived within the scope of the majority society. Antiziganism is a defensiveness towards own individual wishes. Old Gipsy’s pictures and imaginations of them are available for the projection, to those who used it. However, according to the social actual facts, new pictures can be found.”[…](Source: Zentralrat Deutscher Sinti und Roma)
On the website of the Zentralrat Deutscher Sinti und Roma (the central association in Germany of Sinti and Roma) a very detailed explanation is found to these and other prejudices. Anyway a visit on this website is a duty for one who like to know more about these devastating subjects.
To basically understand the music of the Sinti and Roma at all in general is crucial, and with it also the legendary swing-jazz of Django Reinhardt who united all mentioned influences inside his music.
As well as of his musical heritage (today’s Sintimusicians for example Bireli Lagrene, Stochelo Rosenberg or Tschawolo Schmitt and others until today). For that the interested musican should at least have read and know all about these mentioned above facts.
However, this knowledge (at least theoretically…) should be part of musical education. As well as also the knowledge about the different music-styles that are combined and part of this music-style of Jazz-Manouche or Gypsyjazz.
[…]”The historical facts, however, absolutely had and also even today still have a big influence on the general behaviour and thereby among other things also on the music of the Sinti and Roma.”[…](Wikipedia: Gypsyjazz)
The one who isn´t able to understand these mentioned facts or at least tries to imagine how it feels like to loose all of his family or a part of it inside a concentration camp (KZ) – the one will absolutely also not be able to understand the distance and restraint or refusal to us “Non-Gypsies” often practised by some Sintis, Manouches, Gitanos or Gypsies all the same.
But it often is just the mistrust of maltreated people, human beeings which cut-off themselfes absolutely from other social contact except their families or kinsman. And thus try to retain integrity as a whole with their language and traditions, at least with what has still been left of it.
Regrettably many young Gypsies even don´t speak their ancient language or “Romanes” anymore. Especially in France and also in Germany where Sinti tried to hide their origin from the NS-regime, the language almost has abandoned and vanished.
The sensitive contact with all these facts, to raise understanding and also tolerance against other human beeings in general and Sinti & Roma in special, to argue more intensely with these things, unfortunately, is absent also even still today by many people refusing many of these facts. Although this has become an obligation to act sensitive, at least by our own history in the German country (but nevertheless also worldwide) is nessesary.
Each one interested in playing Gypsyjazz should adapt to all this first of all, before he/she starts to work closer with this music-style. Respect is the first thing that we all should give to every person on this small planet that we life on – as we all are foreigners or strangers in one or another country, and in universe anyway...
But: only together one can find a way to a peaceful cooperation in mutual trust again – and here the MUSIC is able (and should perform) a valuable assistance.
Music is a universal language with which all human beeing can communicate directly without any deviations . . . wether which nationality, race or skin colour we belong.
Music can build bridges between the people. However, respect and tolerance to another person or another culture belong to it first of all and absolutely, without a doubt.
So let´s try to raise first of all – respect and tolerance with all of us and then to create music together that will overcomes all these obstacles!