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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 01 February 2018 > Remembering the Roma

Remembering the Roma

This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day, which took place on Saturday, was the power of words. Here, Jess Smith, pictured below, a researcher in Scottish traveller history and author of a number of books on the subject, sheds light on the ill-treatment of the Roma people down the centuries, which eventually led to their suffering at the hands of the Nazis.

THE ROMA people of Europe call it PORRAIMOS (the devouring).

It is believed that the Romany people of Europe emerged from north-west India more than 1,000 years ago. They travelled across the countries working as metal smiths, entertainers and traders. In the fifth century, they travelled to Persia (Iran) and began trading from northern India to southern Europe, living mainly in tents. The first official mention of the Romany people was in Serbia in 1345.

Little is known about them as individuals and, as they wandered from place to place, a lot of fear and suspicion followed in their footsteps.

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