Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

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Your essential guide to Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Issue 4

June 2010

The 1000 Year

JOURNEY In this issue

Celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture


Highlighting the events for June 2010

Hidden History

How the Travelling communities have been persecuted throughout history

Talent Contest Your opportunity to shine in a nationwide contest

Revealing Exhibitions The Holocaust against the Roma and Sinti

Roma Beyond Borders: European Romany culture



Bari Radt★

Plus competitions, comment and more...


We Are The Nidi Foki by Damian Le Bas

More poetr y on page 8

Young we jinned And jelled in yesterdays. Once England wondered where we’d jelled out Over puvs and vesh’s ways. Had we driven old grais always, even through the Northern Seas? And penned our puri jib in whispers underneath a desert’s breeze? But kak, a bori rai-mush harked As chavis rokkered Romanes And in our muis jinned a jib From India, like ours they guessed. They dragged the bori panis wider, reaching puvs so far and broad And distant by long bersha’s miles from Nidi’s peerdos, Gypsies’ yawks. Some kommed in love to jin the puv A thousand bersha mored from mind. Their kalo skins and unloved yawks Dikked love through rain and perished tears, And proud that distant puvs brought cousins distant they might kom adui, And pogger mingri’s okkabins they spat through baulo’s loveless muis. But English kams and English panis, English bavals shrouding heaths Still warmed and soaked and whispered round The tickners born beneath its clouds, In divvuses our dads and dais have known, and theirs in winters past And Romanes will play upon our chavvies’ lips while England lasts. So Eastern words and Northern lives may meet Within the Gypsy’s chest. We’re what we are and what we’ll be Through un-jinned droms to future’s rest For like the Gorger foki we jel under kams that kakker rest And Nidis, English folk and all folk jin the the rati’s quietness.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Online Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month has a supporting website that explores every aspect of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture. It contains further features, films and information that can’t be squeezed into a 20 page magazine. Point your browser at: Whether you’re a teacher wanting to dispel ignorance about Gypsy and Traveller culture, a community member wanting to share something of their past or simply someone who has been to a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month event, simply go online and get involved.

Traveller Times Online To share and see reports, films and photos from many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month events you can also visit Travellers’ Times Online’s website at:

For an English version of this poem, please visit ß

SURREY COMMUNITY ACTION SUPPORTING GYPSIES & TRAVELLERS Surrey Community Action is proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. We currently host two community members as Community Development Workers who support Gypsies, Roma and Travellers to achieve a good quality of life in Surrey. We are committed to supporting equality and diversity in our business and are seriously committed to promoting and raising the profile for BME groups. Activities for History Month in Surrey include: • Travellers Got Talent competition. • Bourne Hall Gypsy Day on 19th June at Bourne Hall, Ewell, Surrey. Surrey Community Action provides a wide range of services to help Surrey’s communities and voluntary organisations grow and develop. Resources available include advice, training, funding and advocacy. There are over 6,000 voluntary and community groups and a mixture of urban, suburban and rural communities including Gypsies and Travellers, and we offer support to all of them, no matter how large or small. For more information contact Ann Wilson, Gypsy & Traveller Community Development Worker Telephone: 01483 459 292 Ext 202 or email:


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Shifting a Mountain of Misunderstanding

Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH

by GRTHM editor, Jake Bowers

Inside this issue

Gypsy Roma Traveller


urope’s 12 million Romany citizens possess no state and little territory, but are buried under a mountain of misunderstanding. With no land to call our own, Gypsy territory is always highly prized, if often bitterly contested. So when the Department for Children, Schools and Families offered Britain’s 300,000 Gypsies, Roma and Travellers the chance to celebrate our own history month in 2008, we grasped the opportunity with all our strength.

The London Gypsy Orchestra perform in London for GRTHM 2009 This June marks the third annual Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month. Three years on, hundreds of events have been organised leaving thousands of people better educated about us. Just as important is the fact that just as many of our own people are that little bit prouder and more public about who they are. But what really has changed? Racism against Gypsies, Roma and Travellers is still widely recognised as an enduring form of acceptable racism by bodies such as the Council of Europe and the Equality and Human and Rights Commission. News reports and academic studies endlessly come to the same conclusion that Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have the worst education, health, accommodation and reputation of any minority group in Britain. It’s been this way for hundreds of years and a cynic would say it always will be. But when did a cynic ever do anything to improve or change the world? The wise amongst us know that shifting the prejudice that blights our communities is a herculean task that requires ingenuity, positivity and resourcefulness. But most of all it takes time. And Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month is not just the time, but our time. It’s our time to shine. It’s our time to remember and our time to celebrate that whatever history may have thrown at us, we are the world’s most practised survivors. This magazine is designed to give you an introduction to the events and issues that make up Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. But the fact is

June 2010

We Are The Nidi Foki

Poem in Romani byHISTORY Damian Le MONTH Bas.

Celebrating Survival


June 2010


The highlights of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010.

O Porrajmos – The Great Devouring




Poetry in Motion


Travellers Got Talent/Bari Radt


Examining the Romani Holocaust.

Each year GRTHM holds National and International Competitions. that three years into the first coordinated national effort to confront prejudice against Gypsy, Roma and Travellers, the vast number of events within the month can no longer be contained within this magazine. For those and much, much more you’ll have to look online on our website at

Inspiration for the competition, or simply read for pleasure and insight.

A national talent contest for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Following the massive success of a talent ★★★★★★★★★★ contest in Hampshire as part of GRTHM 2009 the contest has Bari Radt★ gone nationwide to showcase the amazing abilities of the Travelling communities. TRAVELLERS GOT


Scroll on!


Fantastic images from Travelling Arts a new book on the visual impact of Gypsies and Travellers in the British Isles by Gordon Thorburn and Jon Baxter. And the publishers – The History Press – have a special offer for the readers of this magazine.

The Killing Stones


Pinnies and Pegs


Not to Trot


Joined in the Middle


Friendship in Unloving Times


Published by: The Gypsy Media Company Ltd., community producers of:

First for Knowledge


• Films, radio and publications about the Gypsy and Traveller community • Research with the Gypsy and Traveller community • Cultural awareness training about the Gypsy and Traveller community

All The World’s Our Stage


Djelem Djelem


The Knack of All Trades


Count Yourself Lucky


Best-selling Scottish Traveller author Jess Smith digs up the hidden history of her people. Competition award ceremony in Leeds So read this magazine and the hidden history it uncovers and join the party. Because we need all the help we can in rising to the challenge of shifting that mountain of misunderstanding. But you won’t find it hard work because you’ll be having so much fun.

An extract from Ryalla Duffy’s new book about her Gypsy childhood. An extract from Road Horse a children’s book by Caroline Binch.

Siobhan Spencer looks forward to June and offers some “Old Remedies for Modern Times”.

This year GRTHM brings two important exhibitions about the Romany Holocaust to Britain for the first time. Otto Pankok’s Sinti exhibition and the Holocaust against the Roma and Sinti exhibition (see pages 6 and 7) challenge us all to learn from our past.

See for up to date details on what’s happening around the country.

GRTHM Magazine

The Gypsy Media Company Ltd., PO Box 313, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 9EW 07966 786242

Ian Hancock, the first Romany Gypsy to be awarded a doctorate in the UK talks to Damian Le Bas about the state of Roma and Traveller affairs. Introduce yourself to three talented Gypsy, Roma and Traveller acts. Learn the words to the Romani Anthem. How the flexibility of Gypsies and Travellers has helped us survive.

Next March British Gypsies and Travellers will be recognised as an ethnic group in the national census for the first time. Jake Bowers considers why it is important to take part, stand up, and be counted. Choosing to keep quiet about your background may affect services for the next 10 years.

Edited by: Jake Bowers – Email: Design: Graham Alexander – Email: Part financed by: The Department for Children Schools and Families.

Cover Image: Painted Wagon from the book Travelling Art by Gordon Thorburn and Jon Baxter, published by The History Press. See page 10.

To advertise in the next edition of Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine contact the Gypsy Media Company Ltd. ß

Cove pictu r re

The Gypsy Media Company



Celebrating Survival The greatest antidote to hatred is pride. Jake Bowers reviews the places to go this June to celebrate yet another year in the 1,000 year journey of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

4 – 5 June, Surrey Epsom Derby One of the biggest horse racing events in Britain with a long Gypsy history and big Gypsy attendance. There is evidence that Gypsies lived in the woodland on Epsom Downs in the early 1500s. The day festival of horse racing dates back to 1780. Head past the grandstand and racetrack to see the stalls, the funfair and the Gypsy and Traveller community at play.

Britain has been home to nomadic people for thousands of years, but the majority of today’s Gypsies, Roma and Travellers can trace their ancestry back to times of great social upheaval which forced many people (such as Irish Travellers) to take to the road or to the various waves of migration of Romany people from the east. Here’s our pick of some of the best events, both ancient and modern on during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010.

3 – 9 June, Cumbria Appleby Horse Fair If you are looking for a single event that sums up Gypsy and Traveller culture head to the town of Appleby-in-Westmoreland in Cumbria. No other single event crams so much Gypsy and Traveller colour, chaos and character into such a short amount of time than Appleby Horse Fair. The Place: Appleby, Cumbria Online:

We are proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month And to offer you FREE fire safety advice and, where necessary, fit FREE smoke alarms giving you the earliest possible warning of fire, allowing you and your family to escape and call East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. Call us free on 0800 177 7069. East Sussex

Achieving safer and more sustainable communities

Fire & Rescue Service

The Travellers Aid Trust The Travellers Aid Trust is the only independent UK grantmaker specifically dedicated to supporting the Gypsy and Traveller community. We currently offer small grants of up to £250 under our Violet Clegg Fund programme for individuals and families experiencing exceptional hardship or individuals, groups and sites for community benefit. Give us a call, drop us a line or visit our website to find out more about what we do.

PO Box 16, Llangyndeyrn, Kidwelly SA17 5YT Telephone/Fax: 01269 870 621


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH

June 2010

7 – 26 June, London Sinti Exhibition See Otto Pankok’s moving portraits of Germany’s Sinti community before he HISTORY MONTH June went into hiding and they went to the gas chambers. Read more on page 16. The Place: Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Court, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9LS.

Get involv ed

12 – 13 June, Cambridge My Big Fat Gypsy festival Gypsy and Traveller communities from across East Anglia will gather in Milton Country 2010 Park, Cambridgeshire, CB24 6AZ. With wagons, rides, music and much, much more.

Gypsy Roma Traveller

12 June, Brighton Susex Gypsy Heritage Day Sussex Gypsy and Traveller communities are coming together with their local police force to celebrate their heritage. Featuring live music from across Europe, wagons, campfires, displays and films, the day will take over a community centre and park in the heart of Brighton. See page 18 to read about some of the acts that are appearing. The Time and Place: From 10:00am – 4:00pm The Brighthelm Church and Community Centre, North Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1YD

13 June, Worcestershire “Gypsies – who are ya!” Hartlebury, Worcestershire Enjoy a celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage and culture at Worcestershire County Museum. See one of the largest displays in the country of Gypsy Wagons including the famous Esmerelda, as well as folk music, Traveller historians, storytelling, displays and demonstrations of traditional crafts. The Time and Place: 11:00am – 5:00pm. Hartlebury Castle, Nr Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ Contact: Sue Pope or telephone the museum: 01299 250416

18 June – 13 Aug, Wolverhampton Roma Beyond Borders Nigel Dickinson has been photographing Europe’s largest ethnic group for decades. His exhibition is a revealing documentary and an insiders view of the Romany Gypsy diaspora throughout all of Europe. The Place: Light House, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer St, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT Contact: 01902 716055 19 June, Surrey Gypsy Day: Celebrating Gypsy Life in Surrey, West Ewell, Surrey See traditional Gypsy wagons around the campfire, cookery demonstrations, arts and craft activities, Gypsy musicians and much more! The Time and Place: 11:00am – 5:00pm Bourne Hall, Spring Street, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 1UF Contact: 0208 394 1734

22 June, Cheltenham Media, Memory and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities Symposium University of Gloucestershire

24 June, Gloucestershire Gypsy and Traveller Awards and Entertainment Evening Gypsy and Traveller young people from across Gloucestershire will be taking over the Picturedrome theatre to celebrate their achievements and talents. Featuring drama, live music and an awards ceremony. The Time and Place: 6:30 – 8:30pm The Picturedrome Theatre, Barton St, Gloucester GL1 4EU. By invitation only. Contact: Karen Steger 01452 427261

Enjoy Nigel Dickenson’s photographs of European Romany Culture at the Lighthouse in Wolverhampton from 18 June. Like this shot of the Catholic Gypsy pilgrimage to see the Gypsy patron saint Sara La Kali in the Camargue, France. This symposium brings together arts and media academics and practitioners researching Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities and representations. The Symposium will consist of presentations from speakers exploring arts, media and heritage projects related to UK and European GRT communities. The themes will cover archives, media and memory, mobility and media, social networking and family history, personal, collective memory and historical representation. The Time and Place: 10:00am – 4:00pm. University of Gloucestershire, Pittville Studios, Cheltenham, GL52 3JG Contact: 01242 714 975

23 June, London Gypsy History Talks: Inn on the Green, London Just one of a month long series of events, tonight’s Gypsy history talks feature historian and author Donald Kenrick, Romany Journalist Jake Bowers and Barrister Marc Willers editor of the Council of Europe’s handbook for lawyers defending Roma and Travellers. To see an entire list of films, bands and talks visit: The Time and Place: 7:00pm onwards, Inn on the Green, 3–5 Thorpe Close, London W10 5XL. Nearest Tube: Ladbroke Grove Tube – Hammersmith & City Line Contact: 020 8962 5757

26 June, Bradford Baildon Green Gypsy Fair There were Gypsy fairs on Baildon Green until 1937. Now it’s making a comeback thanks to Bradford Gypsy Voice with the support from Bradford Council. There will be a traditional Gypsy camp which will include bow top painted living wagons as well as traditional crafts demonstrations, services and information stalls. Throughout the day there will be entertainment provided by various community groups and a traditional palmist and celebrity guest.

To see all of the many events occurring across Britain, please visit our website: ß

Bourne Hall Museum’s Celebrating Gypsy Life 11.00am to 5.00pm Saturday June 19th.

It’s FREE! Come and talk about Gypsy Culture and enjoy the fun. See traditional Gypsy wagons around the campfire, cookery demonstrations, arts and craft activities, Gypsy musicians and much, much more! Bourne Hall is at Spring Street, Ewell, Surrey KT17 1UF. For further details telephone 020 8394 1734 For Travellers Got Talent contact Ann Wilson (01483 459292 ex 202) for an application form or download one from Entry forms must be with Ann by June 10th 2010 or you will not be able to perform.



O Porrajmos – The Great Devouring Those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes. Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month this year offers two chances to examine the Romani Holocaust in detail. Jake Bowers looks at the facts and figures behind the Nazis’ unsuccessful attempt to annihilate Europe’s largest ethnic minority community.


hey are just like any kids, full of potential and mischief. But the story of these Sinti children from Dreihausen near Frankfurt ended not long after their photo was taken. The country they lived in considered them to have “lives unworthy of life.” Shortly after their photo was taken in the summer of

1942, they were taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp where they became just 3 of the 1.5 million Romani people murdered during the Holocaust. Today they are remembered in a powerful exhibition about the Romany Holocaust that has toured the world. This month the exhibition and the man who created it are in London. Like the 6 million Jews who also died in the Holocaust, the Romani people were the only other racial group destined for complete annihilation under the Nazis’ “final solution”. A shocking 70% of both Romanies and Jews living in German lands were murdered. Yet most school children learn only of the Jewish Holocaust. Romani Rose, chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma Romani Rose knows all about the Holocaust, or porrajmos as it is known in Romani. “Thirteen members of my family were murdered during the Holocaust. My grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz and my grandmother in the concentration camp of Ravensbruck,” he says. Germany’s diverse Romany community are collectively known as the Sinti and Roma, but the Holocaust affected them all. “The Holocaust has profoundly shaped the identity of the minority and left its indelible mark on the memories of the Sinti and Roma,” he says. As chairman of the Central Council of Sinti and Roma, Rose tours the world to fight for equal rights for his community, and raise


Roma and Sinti Porrajmos Identity, Racism and Rights

A unit unit of lessons and resources A with a focus on identity and with diversity, racism racism and and rights. rights. diversity, The resources resources aims The aim totoencourage encourage students to explore these themes students through the Holocaust and parallel through Roma and and Sinti Sinti genocide, the Roma Porrajmos, and and make make connections connections Porrajmos, to contemporary contemporary issues to issues in in the the UK. UK. They support support citizenship They education in in KS3 KS3 and and are education are designed to designed to contribute contribute to to community cohesion. community cohesion. The resource resource pack consists of a The booklet, CD CD Rom Rom and and a a DVD. DVD. booklet,

This publication publication will will be be available available from from 31st 31st May May 2010. 2010. This To reserve a fromreturn names To reserve reserve a copy copy please please complete complete an theapplication applicationform form(available overleaf and and to the the To a copy please complete the application form overleaf return to below or download and return to:2SP. Publication Officer, from Lewisham LDC, Kilmorie Kilmorie Road, Road, London, London, SE23 Publication Officer, Lewisham LDC, SE23 2SP. the Publication Officer, Lewisham LCD, Kilmorie Road, London, SE23 2SP. Costs: Costs: Costs: LONDON BOROUGH BOROUGH OF OF LEWISHAM LEWISHAM SCHOOLS SCHOOLS £20.00 LONDON £20.00 LONDON BOROUGH OF LEWISHAM SCHOOLS £20.00 OUT OF OF BOROUGH BOROUGH SCHOOLS SCHOOLS £35.00 OUT £35.00 OUT OF BOROUGH SCHOOLS £35.00 If If you you would would like like further further information information please please contact contact us: us: Alice Washbourne Washbourne Hilary Dowber Alice Lewisham Cross Phase Phase Consultant Consultant Advisor Advisor Lewisham Traveller Traveller Education Education Service Service Coordinator Coordinator Cross Equalities Equalities and and Achievement Achievement


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

awareness of the fact that the Romany people of Europe have shared a common history with European societies for many centuries. It has been a long struggle. “A hunger strike at the Dachau concentration camp memorial in 1980 organized by the Sinti and Roma civil rights movement first raised awareness of the Holocaust and created an awareness of the Nazi crimes,” says Rose. Just 26 miles of water, and the efforts of the allied forces, saved British Gypsies and Travellers from a similar fate, but having avoided it so narrowly Rose is keen for us to learn its lessons. “At great sacrifice the allied forces freed Europe from Nazi dictatorship and its criminal ideology. Sinti, Roma and Jews were liberated and the barbarous genocide was put to an end. But while the Holocaust of the Jews was acknowledged by the allied forces, the Holocaust of the Sinti and Roma was widely neglected. It is our aim to raise a general awareness for this forgotten Holocaust.” “Britain was not occupied and was spared from the Holocaust,” he says. “But the Romanies in Britain should know about the fate they were proposed to suffer too.” When Rose comes to Britain he’ll be speaking at a Romani history seminar at Greenwich University and meeting representatives of the government to discuss the ongoing plight of Europe’s 12 million Romany citizens. His “Holocaust Against the Roma and Sinti Exhibition” has toured Europe and the United States. But its most powerful journey is clearly the one it takes its visitors on.

paid for by legal aid and provided by the Community Law Partnership

Travellers’ Helpline

Eviction, planning or site problems? We can help We can provide independent and confidential advice on • Evictions from roadside encampments • Official site possession actions • Planning cases • Homelessness For FREE advice if you live on a low income or benefits: Mon-Fri 9.00am-5.00pm

0845 120 2980 Text legalaid to 80010

The Travellers’ Helpline is run by the Travellers’ Advice Team and funded by Community Legal Advice. We also provide advice and assistance to Gypsies and Travellers on other legal issues affecting them.

The Holocaust Against the Roma and Sinti Exhibition in the European Parliament in Strasbourg The exhibition compares and contrasts the terror and organised persecution of the Nazi regime with the normality of everyday Romany life. Personal testimonies and family photographs unveil the victims to show the individuals behind each unique story. As a whole, within its 80 metre length its shows how everyday hatred can lead to a Holocaust. The first part documents the beginning of the exclusion of the German Roma and Sinti after the Nazis came to power. The second part covers the genocide of the Roma and Sinti in Nazi-occupied Europe. The third part documents the systematic killing of Romanies from virtually every European country in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Finally, the fourth part picks out the main developments since 1945 in Europe. One particular focus is on current forms of discrimination against the national Roma and Sinti minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. Using selected examples, the exhibition demonstrates that GRT ad1:Layout 1 12/5/10 Page Roma and Sinti are increasingly subject14:26 to open and violent racism and continued social prejudice.

Having shown that racism against Romany communities is never far from the surface, Rose dismisses the idea that another Romani Holocaust might happen anytime soon. “I do not dare to think of it and don’t think it is the case.” He says. “This would be a complete failure of the world and of the consciousness we should have achieved.” He’s also very appreciative of the way Germany has changed in his lifetime. “The Federal Republic today is a secure democracy which puts great emphasis on human rights. But this cannot be taken for granted. We have to protect it and to strengthen the awareness for it every day.”

The Holocaust Against the Roma and Sinti Exhibition is the Mile End Arts Pavillion, off Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London from 2–20 June. See for opening times.

Nazi Deportation of the Remscheid Sinti and Roma to Auschwitz in March 1943

ROMANI HOLOCAUST: FACTS AND FIGURES Estimates of the number of Romani people killed in the Holocaust vary. No pre-war estimate of the European Romany population exists because of their nomadic way of life. Many Romanies were killed where they were found and even those deaths that were recorded were often described simply as “remainder to be liquidated”.

Proof, if any were needed, that ‘once educated’ people can learn from the past and change the future. The fate of the two young girls who stare out from the exhibition’s main poster suggests a more hopeful end. Sinti sisters Sonja and Senta Birkenfelder were both in the Radom Ghetto when they were photographed; 1 the Romany people across Europe today they like survived the Holocaust.

Authorities now realise that the number killed is greater than previously thought. At the first US Conference on Romanies in the Holocaust which took place at Drew University in November, 1995, Sybil Milton, senior historian at the US Holocaust Research Institute in Washington, stated that “We believe that somewhere between half a million and a million and a half Romanies were murdered in between 1939 and 1945.” ß

Sussex Police are proud to support Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Gypsies,Who are ya? Sunday 13th June, 11am-5pm A celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller arts and culture.


Celebrating Surrey Festival

26th/27th June 2010

What is Celebrating Surrey? A two day arts festival celebrating culture in Surrey The Atchin Tan takes place in The Euphonic tent and will be dedicated to Gypsy arts and culture from 1-2pm on 26th Why? We know the Gypsy community is rich in talent, so let’s show the rest of Surrey! Where can I get more info? How do I book a 5-10min slot? to book your slot email or call 07969102367

Please call 01299 250416 for further information County Museum, Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, Nr Kidderminster, DY11 7XZ

54004 04/09

Family entry ticket just £12 Do you.........? TELL JOKES? PLAY AN INSTRUMENT? DANCE? DO ART? SING? TELL STORIES?



National and Regional

Get involv ed



Poetry in Motion Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people have always created powerful poetry. Be inspired by these three Gypsy and Traveller poets from Kent, Scotland and County Durham respectively.

GYPSIES by Janey Collins

Competition Celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month, By composing a poem if you have the time, Write about our culture, history and language, And win some great prizes for your rhyme. For details see: Entries for this competition must be received by 9 July 2010. Contest being administered by Kingston upon Hull TES.

Create a Gypsy Roma Traveller Portrait

? For enry details see: Entries for this competition must be received by 31 July 2010. Administered by Gypsy roma Traveller Achievement Service Leeds. Last year, children across Britain celebrated Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month by entering a national storytelling competition organised and run by the National Association of Teachers of Travellers and Other Professionals (NATT+). The successful winners and commended entries were published in a 48-page book (see This year’s competition is a poetry competition. It is for all children from the Foundation Stage up to Key Stage 4. Poems must be about the Gypsy, Roma or Traveller communities and can be


written or recorded. There are prizes for all age groups and an overall winner. The Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service (GRTAS) in Leeds holds an international competition as part of their celebrations and this year contestants of all ages are invited to create Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Portraits and submit them online or via the mail to GRTAS.

Sources of Inspiration NATT+ has an eshop on its website where resources produced by Traveller Education Services for use in or outside the classroom can be browsed and ordered. Many will be good sources of information and inspiration for this year’s competitions. Visit: /eshop

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

G is for the ground which we pulled our trailers on, Y is for you locking your doors until we were gone, P is for prejudice what you show every day, S is for sad because with our lives you made us pay, I is for ignorance you won’t understand the Traveller way, E is everyone, we all have a right to breathe the same air, S is for society that won’t let us pull anywhere.

On Speyside by Jimmy McPhee I’ve heard the auld folk tell a story and bring to life the scene before me how folk were wonderful content in a wagon or a humble tent when life was all uncomplicated and simple things were appreciated With an enthusiastic glow they unfold a time long ago and I listen with joy and pride of youthful days along Speyside Near a grove in a field of green beside a flowing purling stream the Travelling families are gathered their tents secured their horses tethered. No land no house to call their own being together they are at home for a household is not brick and mortar but husband wife and son and daughter And in some Scottish highland shire assembled at the common fire warmed against the evening air and happy everyone is there the tobacco and the stories go round and children sing with an angelic sound Until beneath the starlit sky they recede into a time gone by and will not walk these roads again but I will gladly go to them.

I am a Gypsy, Not a Liar, Nor Thief by Violet Burnside I am a Gypsy, not a liar, nor thief I seek not to insult Neither will I bow at your feet My word is my bond the truth lies within My culture is my shield that I wrap myself in Clothes do not make me, nor status or wealth Abuse cannot break me from it I gain strength Only goodness and kindness influences my soul From there will spring tears Reservoired through the years The floodgates will open and swamp over the dam If you just accept me just as I AM


The Dates

Put in your diar y

The National Final The Final: 9 June, 6:30pm onwards Held as part of the Gypsy Arts Festival. Entry £10. Museum of East Anglian Life, Crowe Street, Stowmarket, IP14 1DL


Bari Radt★ T

his summer Gypsies, Roma and Travellers across England will be competing in a nationwide talent contest. Travellers Got Talent, or Bari Radt (Big Night) in Romani, will feature 9 regional finals held across England, ending in a live national final at the Gypsy Arts Festival on 9 July 2010. The national final will be held in the grounds of the beautiful Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Suffolk. All regional finals are being financed as a key part of this year’s Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month celebrations to help combat the negative stereotypes which blight Gypsy, Roma and Traveller lives. From Plymouth to Wakefield, Britain’s diverse Gypsy and Traveller community will be coming together to show off their talents. Just like its namesake, Britain’s Got Talent, the competition is open to people of any age,

performing in any way they like. From singing to MCing, from flamenco dance to hip hop, anything that can be performed live is allowed. Everybody from stand-up comics to gymnasts, spoon players and magicians are welcome. The only restriction is that participants must be from traditional Romany Gypsy, Roma, Showman, Irish or Scottish Traveller families. And they must register with regional final organisers (see right column) in order to compete. The winner and runner-up from each of the regional finals will be invited to perform at the national final on July 9th. The winner of Travellers Got Talent/Bari Radt will receive £500. The act in 2nd place will receive £300 and 3rd place £200. Entrants must compete in the regional final where they live. The dates of the regional finals and their organisers are on the right:

Application form Return to your regional organiser (see right column) Name: ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Address: �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Postcode:................................................ Date of Birth (if under 18) ��������������������������������������������������������������� Telephone: ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Signature:......................................................................................Date: ������������������������������������������� Type of act: ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� (Example: Dance, Song, Comedy, Musical Instrument)

Tell us about yourself: ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� I give permission for my daughter/son to have their photo taken (if under 18): Parent/carer: ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Signature:......................................................................................Date: ������������������������������������������� Name of person supporting your application: ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Signature:......................................................................................Date: �������������������������������������������

London: The regional final for London is split into two. 1. London Regional Final for English Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers Final: 12 June, 5:00 – 8:00pm Gwenneth Rickus Building, Brentfield Road, NW10 8HE To register contact: Cassie Marie Mcdonagh Irish Travellers Movement, The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA 0207 607 2002/0792 0433 307 or Rocky Deans, 0208 937 3329 2. London Regional finals for Roma Final: 2 heats – 14 and 18 of June To register contact: Sylvester Huczko, Roma Support Group, PO Box 23610, London E7 0XB 0207 5117 343 South East Final: 19 June, 5:00pm Surrey Heritage Gypsy Day, Bourne Hall, Spring Street, West Ewell, Surrey, KT17 1UF To register contact: Ann Wilson Gypsy & Traveller Community Development Worker, Surrey Community Action, Astolat, Coniers Way, Burpham, Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7HL 01483 459 292 Ext 202 South West Final: 4 June, 6:00pm onwards Street Factory Studios, 35/36 Cobourg St, City Centre, Plymouth, PL11SP To register contact: Toby Gorniak, Street Factory Studios, 35/36 Cobourg St, City Centre, Plymouth, PL11SP 0777 553 3750 East Final: 12 June, 10:00am – 4:00pm Milton Country Park, Cambridgeshire, CB24 6AZ To register contact: Candy Sheridan, Gypsy Council. 01692 581 460/0791 999 7464 East and West Midlands 1. East Midlands heat Final: 30 June Venue not known at time of going to press. Check for latest information. 2. West Midlands heat and Midlands final Final: 8 July, Evening Holiday Inn Hotel, London Road, Ryton On Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3DY To register contact: Siobhan Spencer 01629 583300 Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, Ernest Bailey Community Centre, Office 3, New Street, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3FE North-West Final: 19 June – All day The Edge, Cheviot Square, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 1QS To register contact: Jane-Ann Hurn 0759 0690 607 Northern Network of Travelling People, The Edge, Cheviot Square, Winsford, Cheshire, CW7 1QS Tel: 01606 557085 North-East Final: 21 June, Wakefield. Venue not known at time of going to press. Check for latest information. To register contact: Violet Cannon Doncaster CVS, 5-6 Trafford Court, Doncaster, DN1 1PN 07969 056194



The Gypsies and Travellers of the British Isles can rightfully boast the most ornate horse-drawn wagons of all Travelling people in the world. Such palaces on wheels might have cost as much as a house in their heyday, but the tradition didn’t end with the coming of the car. The images on these pages are from Travelling Art, a new book from the History Press that celebrates the colour that we have always brought to the British countryside.


Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

Reader offer

Travelling Art is a beautiful book which presents the different types of caravan and the great variety of art which was carved and painted upon them and their brothers-in-transport, the old narrowboats. Travelling Art is by Gordon Thorburn and Jon Baxter. The cover price is £20.00 but is available to readers of this magazine for just £14.99 including free p&p (UK only) if you order direct. Don

To order a copy, phone direct sales on 01235 465 577 and quote the code: HPTravel or visit: and use the same code. The book can also be ordered from any good bookshop using the ISBN number 978-0-7524-5502-0 ß

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The Killing Stones Scottish Traveller and best-selling author Jess Smith has pleased readers with tales of campfire life. But as she dug deeper into the hidden history of her people she found the going far tougher.


s a Scottish Traveller I searched most of my adulthood for reasons why my people suffer so much discrimination and prejudice. When my family flew the nest I acquired a computer, took typing lessons and began to tell the world my story. From my hidden memories five books flowed without any problems with publishing. Although the books became best-sellers I still needed to know ‘Why Travellers are discriminated against?’ Jess Smith’s books have regularly topped the best-seller lists. Then one day a door opened for me – ‘freedom of information.’ I began to search and soon heavy envelopes fell through my letterbox packed with revealing info – for instance the Children’s Act of 1904-08. This supposed betterment of British children sent shivers down my spine as I read of the forced removal of babies from Gypsy/Travellers who were then handed to orphanages. More evidence exposed government rules to eradicate the so called ‘Pauper taint’ by removing original names like Townsley or Johnstone, replacing them with surnames like Smith or Brown.

Find out more about Jess Smith and her books by visiting

When children were given up for adoption their identity was eradicated. Australia, Canada and America took ship loads of Traveller/Gypsy children who grew up without any knowledge of their natural parents. I decided to write a new kind of book – one that would give a history back to all British Traveller/ Gypsies. There were several laws which targeted the lifestyle. The infamous ‘Land reform act’ was one which gave powers to land owners, farmers and councils to close off common grounds by placing massive stones to block entrances. Then police searched out Travellers who it was deemed were trespassing and burned tents and confiscated horses. Traveller counts came by way of a census – the church and state were apparently working together in eradicating the lifestyle by forcing children who still resided with their parents into school. This proved difficult because in certain areas ‘normal’ parents refused to send their kids to school if they were subjected to sit next to Travellers. An experiment funded by the church built a special school, one to accommodate Travellers. I phoned the local archives library and asked if they knew of this; yes, they had certain documentation. I was at their door next morning. This was a nightmare because not only was it true but the children situated in the area of Pitlochry were my own relatives. I’d no previous knowledge of this place. My mother’s youngest brother Nicholas was 13 when he began to attend Aldour Tinker School in October 1938. Nicky was excited – pens were to be issued. They never came. He left before they arrived.

In 1943 he enlisted as a soldier, in weeks he was dead. His ‘motherland’ didn’t give him a pen to write his name but gave him a gun to die for it. Heartbroken, I wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond for an apology for the continual maltreatment of the Travelling people. That was four years ago and to date he has ignored me. The church has spoken to me but that is where it ends. What this tells me is that the people who rule the land in Scotland are soulless. My publisher, too, turned their back refusing to publish 100,000 words of hidden history. The killing stones are still in place.

Nicky Power was sent to Scotland’s Tinker Schools. “His ‘motherland’ didn’t give him a pen to write his name but gave him a gun to die for it.”

Jess Smith has written a poem “The Traveller Boy” related to her research. Read it on our website ß

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Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine


Pinnies and Pegs: Ryalla Duffy A new book by Ryalla Duffy of the Lincolnshire Gypsy Liaison Group is a beautifully written recollection of a Gypsy childhood. It’s unusual because unlike so many it’s seen from the inside – Ryalla describes her life as a young child ‘on the road’, travelling in the family’s waggon from place to place, her parents earning a living on farms or by making and selling household items from the hedgerow. The book bursts with laughter, drama and wonderful characters. Meet Pow Pow, Mangle Tit, Nos Nos, Off and On and his runaway dray – not forgetting Jan Jan the chicken and a host of other Gypsies. Here’s a taste of it.


hifting usually evoked a conflict of emotions, regret at what was being left behind infused with anticipation for the unknown that lay ahead. In this case it was Barrow-on Trent. Our journey was to take us on a roundabout route through the shires of Gloucester and Derby, some two hundred miles of which Mam would walk, most of it as a pedestrian with a pram, the tyres on the wheels being markedly thinner when we reached our destination, as probably was my Mam. It was then I learned to walk, from one toddling step to another, holding onto lockers and bunks for support. At the age of nine months, I was finally ‘on the move’ and by and large have stayed that way ever since. Spring came early that year and I had a bird’s-eye view as it gloriously unfolded. It is still, without exception, my favourite time of year, full as it is of promise and reward after so much waiting and anticipation. I defy anyone not to feel delight at the first sign of snowdrops rising valiantly from frozen earth through a carpet of moss, to hang their green and white frilled heads like debutantes, pure yet hopeful. While my infant eyes beheld beauty, Mam and Dad’s beheld bounty – and profit. “See nature and pick it.” From our new stopping place ‘white-drop’ picking began. We were pulled with a handful of families, still at that time themselves in waggons, each united by the same purpose. Early each morning, armed with ‘chip’ baskets, lightly constructed of slivers of wood or hard card, with tin handles, the onslaught on the ‘white-drops’ began. Long stalks with budded heads were deftly bunched and banded to be packed upright in moist moss and Ryalla with her parents and at the top as she is today. hawked around the towns. For those far removed from rural signs of spring, they found a ready market at 6d a bunch or 3 bunches for a shilling, which was twelve old pence. Pickers with nimble fingers or able children would work crouched low amid a sea of snowdrops and celandines, ‘silver and gold’, jewels in the Winter’s dry leaves. Dog’s mercury and ‘lords and ladies’ with their furled spikes unfolding to shiny glossed spade-shaped leaves added splashes of green to nature’s palette. For those too far from towns to make door-to-door selling a viable option, the bunches were packed in wooden tomato boxes and sent on the morning milk train to the cities or Covent Garden to be collected by eager flower-sellers or wholesalers. Today, it would doubtless be considered

Great new book

‘desecration’ but back then it was classed as survival and nature’s offerings deemed freely available for the taking, much as blackberries still are today. In Gloucester, the county we were heading for next, the ‘Dymock yellowdills’, a small hardy native variety of daffodil, suffered a similar fate. Anyone wanting to find the whereabouts of the nearest Gypsy camp had only to follow the trail of discarded and wilting flowers to be directed to their desired destination. The woodland anemone that shared this blooming time was spared the picking of its delicate shell-pink flowers by dint of the fact they wilted so easily. As in life, an early wilter wouldn’t stay the course. After a dawn rise for picking and an early start for a day’s hawking with baskets of flowers, the women were all back at camp by early afternoon to check their fires were ‘agoing’ and cooking pots were on the simmer. Pinnies and Pegs by Ryalla Duffy is published by Robert Dawson and is available to order online. See the advert below. ß

Robert Dawson Publications

Pinnies and Pegs A Gypsy Childhood A new book by Ryalla Duffy

This is a book for all lovers of Gypsy literature, the countryside, nostalgia and the unusual. Times were hard in the late ’50s and Christmas was basic but traditional. One or two Gypsies did better for themselves – one had a handbag filled with astonishing mysteries, another a car, whilst Ryalla’s Mam aspired to, and ultimately achieved, an oven made from a biscuit tin! Had the Romany Gypsies but known it, it was the end of a traditional way of life and a difficult transition to a new one. Price £15.95. p&p £1.75 (UK), £3.25 (Europe) or £5.25 (elsewhere), OR local authority please quote order number. =144

Books on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture, education, children, language and much more …

Robert Dawson: 188 Alfreton Road, Blackwell, Alfreton, Derbyshire DE55 5JH. 01773 812 202



Not To Trot?

Award-winning children’s author Caroline Binch has written a children’s book inspired by Gypsies and Travellers. In this extract from Road Horse, Sammy’s dad takes him and his best friend Billy to buy a trotting horse of their own. But just when they think they’ve found the perfect horse, things get rough.


illionaires’ row, or ‘down on the corner’, was where all the action was going on this morning. Horses and ponies were tethered all around, while the owners and prospective buyers talked business. The boys followed Stan and Johnny as they threaded their way between animals large and small, and tight circles of haggling men. “Look! It’s that horse with blue eyes,” Sammy cried, quickly making his way to a group of three black-and-white horses. “How much for the wall-eye?” Sammy interrupted the two men who were standing there in deep conversation. They looked at him and smiled. Then one of them said, “Three thousand pounds.” Dad and Grandad did not say a word but each began to examine the horse, feet, teeth, legs. “Let’s see him in action, then,” said Stan. The younger man jumped up and trotted the horse as much as he could in the crowded area. “He’s perfect, ” Sammy said excitedly. Gypsy RomaDad, Traveller HISTORY MONTH June 2010 “Costs too much, ” said Grandad. “I’ll give you half your asking price and that’s being generous.”

Gypsy Roma Traveller HISTORY MONTH

June 2010

To advertise in the next oma Gypsy Rof Traveller edition Gypsy Roma June 2010 Traveller History Month Magazine, contact the Gypsy Media Company on: 07966 786 242 HISTORY MONTH

For a rate card see: magazine 14

Friends Families and Travellers

is proud to support the third Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month and wishes the event every success this year and in the future. We are a small national charity, based in Brighton, working on behalf of all Gypsies and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background. Join us if you want to help the fight against the racism and discrimination that Gypsies and Travellers experience as part of their everyday lives. Membership costs just £10 per annum (£5 unwaged) or £25 for organisations. To apply for membership just phone Suzanna on 01273 234821 or email to Friends, Families and Travellers, Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

“This is one of the best horses at the fair,” the man replied defiantly. “He’s already winning races and I’m selling him for that price.” Then he and Grandad began a long and animated haggle, with lots of backward hand-slapping. Sammy watched avidly, along with Billy, Dad and now Cosher too. The tension rose as both men reached the price they wanted to stick to. A crowd of onlookers had gathered to watch the drama and Sammy found he was holding his breath. Grandad, happy at last that he had got the best deal possible, gave the crucial forward slap of his hand complete with spit, which was matched by the seller. To finish the deal, Grandad said, “And what do you give me for my luck?” But just then another man whispered in the seller’s ear. He looked behind him, to where some men stood back, leaning on the fence. One of them had a bandage covering one eye, and both were watching the sale intently. “Oh hell!” groaned Sammy, recognising Jack and Seedy’s father under the bandage. “What’s the problem?” asked Grandad. The man selling was again quietly spoken to, and after a long pause he looked at Grandad, saying reluctantly, “She’s not for sale, as you don’t have enough money to buy this exceptional horse.” “What’s wrong? You agreed a price!” cried Sammy. “You can’t say no now!” He felt close to tears. “I jes change my mind, I’m not sellin’ the horse. FINAL!” He turned and walked away with the animal.

Publishing JUNE 2010 £5.99 Paperback Available from


Joined in the Middle The Gypsy Liaison Groups of the Midlands have ambitious plans for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010. Siobhan Spencer reveals what they have planned.


t’s going to be a month to remember in the Midlands, where Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group is again busy undertaking work for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010. This year the community groups across the Midlands decided to get together and organise two main events, one for the East and one for the West Midlands. The East Midlands event is in South Derbyshire so Leicestershire Gypsy Liaison Group Council volunteers can help with the Travellers Got Talent competition. Tracy and John Nedic along with Sharon and Alfie Kefford are

Eating one leaf (between two slices of bread as the herb may burn the mouth) has been successful in treating migraine headaches, which can be stress-related. • Do not use feverfew during pregnancy. • Does not suit everyone, may cause mouth ulcers or headache in sensitive people.

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looking forward to 30th June for the East Midlands heat and 8th July for the West Midlands heat and regional finals of the competition. The 30th of June is being supported as a health and wellbeing road show for the community because music and dance are very good for mind, body and soul. Muzelley McCready, Community Development Worker for Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group (DGLG), and Emmanuel Williams are looking for a venue that has both a stage or dance floor and a place that allows the cooking of traditional food outside on a fire with the cooking pots! There will also be flower-making and other displays through the day. Sticking with the themes of health, wellbeing and history, Community Development Worker Bridie Page has designed and hand-painted a herbal chart to be launched at the events. The poster, called ‘Old Remedies for Modern Times’ features the herbs our ancestors knew so well. From Feverfew to St John’s Wort, the hedgerows are still packed with remedies needed for everything from calming nerves to helping teething babies. This poster will help you to relearn how to find them. Events will come to a climax at a West Midlands event at Ryton on Dunsmore on the 8th July where the regional final for both the West and East Midlands for Travellers Got Talent will be held. The event will be held in conjunction with the Pride Not Prejudice 5 conference about policing and the Gypsy and Traveller community. The conference will look at ‘Where We are Now’ to reflect on what has

MAKE JUNE A MONTH TO REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE OUR CULTURE The National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups would like to take this opportunity to state its support for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. We wish everyone success in all their events, wherever this may be in the country. The Federation Committee happened in the last five years since DGLG won the Queens Home Office Award for Innovative Police Training with the Moving Forward project. The day will be jam-packed with theatre presentations as well as the 12 finalists from the talent competition and many displays of cultural and historical information. Ryalla Duffy

Good for aiding sleeplessness and nerves. Take no more than 3 cups a day. Tea: Put 1 teaspoon of dried flowers in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min. Available as teabags • Avoid in early pregnancy • Can cause allergic reactions in some people. • Do not use if you are taking blood-thinners. • Do not use with tranquillisers

Used for sleep by putting a handful of dried hops in a small cotton bag along with a handful of lavender, place it on your pillow. Tea: Put 2 teaspoons of dried hops in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 10 min. Hops can be a little bitter so honey can be added to the drink.

To Celebrate Roma Gypsy Traveller History Month June 2010 Camom

il e


Flowers can be used for sleeplessness.

• Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin, pregnant, or are on blood-thinning tablets for heart trouble.

Tea: Put 2 teaspoons of dried leaves in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min.

Has a calming effect. Can be used for exhaustion and depression. Tea: Put 1 - 2 teaspoons of dried thyme in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min.

Good for aiding sleeplessness and nerves. Take no more than 3 cups a day. Tea: Put 1 teaspoon of dried flowers in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min. Available as teabags • Avoid in early pregnancy • Can cause allergic reactions in some people. • Do not use if you are taking blood-thinners. • Do not use with tranquillisers

For depression, nerves, and headaches caused by stress, Lavender can be used as a tea, or mixed with hops in a small cotton bag and put on the pillow. Tea: 2 teaspoons dried flowers in hot water. Brew for 5 - 10 mins.

bena Lemon Ver

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is coordinating the West Midlands event with Dennis Latham who will be bringing along his finely painted Victorian hand cart. If that wasn’t enough, DGLG is also putting 3 books into every one of 46 static libraries and 11 mobile libraries including Fred Price’s The Romany Way and Bob Dawson’s Henry Drybread.

A calming and gentle sedative. Can also be used as a mild tonic, and helps to lift mild depression. Teabags are available

Tea: Pour hot water over a tablespoon of dried flowers, brew for 5 -10 minutes.

For the treatment of anxiety, and sleeplessness. Tea: Put 1 teaspoon of dried leaves in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 2 min. • Avoid in pregnancy. • Use with caution. • Avoid this herb if you have heart disease.

Chair Mr. Peter Mercer MBE

Hawthorn flowers can be used for depression, sleeplessness, and nerve troubles. Tea: Put 2 teaspoons of dried flowers/ leaves in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min. • Do not take if you are on heart medication, as hawthorn is also used for heart problems. Talk to your doctor.

A very refreshing and calming drink. Drink several times a day. Tea: Pour hot water on a tablespoon of dried leaves and brew for 5 – 10 minutes. Available in teabags • Not to be taken in pregnancy

• Not prescribed for pregnant women.

r Hawtho

©Artwork by Bridie Page 2010

r Lavende

Eating one leaf (between two slices of bread as the herb may burn the mouth) has been successful in treating migraine headaches, which can be stress-related. • Do not use feverfew during pregnancy. • Does not suit everyone, may cause mouth ulcers or headache in sensitive people.

Must not be taken if you are already taking antidepressants.


n Valeria lm Lemon Ba


Very good in treating depression. Available as teabags. A tea can be made from the plant but it may be easier to buy the drops or tablets from the health food shop.

Good for sleep problems, & teething babies. Use the root. Tea: 2 teaspoons of dried root in a cup of hot water, cover and brew for 5 - 10 min. It has a bitter taste so honey can be added. Teabags are available. • If you are going into hospital for an operation, tell the doctors. • Do not use Valerian if you are already using tranquilisers and sleeping tablets.

St John’s


w Feverfe

DISCLAIMER This chart is for information only and is not intended to replace medical advice. If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your doctor.

Bridie Page has designed and hand-painted a herbal chart to be launched at the Midland GRTHM events.

il e Camom Travellers Got Talent is a national talent contest for people from the Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities for all ages. The final is being held at the Museum of East Anglian Life on 9th July as part of the Gypsy Arts Festival. You can download Bridie’s poster from the history month website ß



Dangerous Friendship in Unloving Times Drawing the portraits of his Sinti and Roma friends was a dangerous act in Nazi Germany for artist Otto Pankok. Those he drew were later rounded up and killed by the Nazis, but the portaits that survived are being shown in London in June. By Moritz Pankok.


erman artist Otto Pankok (1893 – 1966) first encountered Romanies on a painting-journey he made through southern France. The Roma and Sinti he met had gathered in Saintes Maries de la Mer for their annual pilgrimage to see Sarah la Kali, the Gypsy patron saint. Intrigued by their liveliness and hospitality, he started to search for the community when he went back home.

The artist Otto Pankok and some of his Sinti friends He found a settlement of Sinti, the German Gypsies, in Düsseldorf in an area called Heinefeld. Otto went there and rented out a former chicken barn and became a small sensation in the settlement. He was someone who could pay a little rent, whereas the whole settlement had come into existence, because its inhabitants could not do so. He could also afford a little oven to heat his studio, whereas many of the Sinti were living in the cold. They often came to his studio simply because it was heated. Impressed by his respect and surprised to be well-treated and not bullied by a Gadje (non-Sinti) the Sinti became friends with the artist and he soon became their ‘molari’ – their painter. In February 1932 Pankok exhibited the new works he had created in Heinefeld in the Düsseldorf Art Hall. The Sinti entered ‘their’ exhibition in this huge museum with astonishment. Usually Pankok worked in large charcoal drawings, which he created in front of his models. During the early Nazi time the Sinti – already persecuted

Some of the Sinti inhabitants of Heinefeld where Pankok lived and worked. Only 2 of the entire community survived the Holocaust


by the regime – became models for a series of 60 large drawings depicting the story of the Passion of Christ. The exhibitions of the works became a political issue as the suffering of the persecuted became the story of Jesus. The Nazis realised the politically infectious power of this art. The exhibitions were closed down and the books were confiscated and destroyed. Pankok was branded a political artist and he was not allowed to work anymore. His works were slandered as ‘degenerate’ – because they were of Sinti and Roma. During the ‘cleansing’ of Germany’s museums, over 50 works by Pankok were confiscated and destroyed. Pankok had to hide in a remote partly derelict farmhouse in the countryside far from his Sinti friends. It’s here that he created smaller woodcuts of the Sinti, about whom the artist constantly worried. When Pankok returned to Düsseldorf after the war, he found that of his many former models and Sinti friends only two had survived the Holocaust. He wrote the only lists of that time with names of the Sinti Holocaust victims, (which can still be found in the Düsseldorf council archives today) and fought for compensations for concentration-camp victims.

The maiden and the moon. Much of Pankok’s work was destroyed by the Nazi’s for being “degenerate” because it showed the Sinti. Otto Pankok’s Sinti paintings are a testament to those who became victims of the Holocaust. They call for a more respectful treatment of people. When Sinti and Roma see the pictures exhibited they beam with pride. The Sinti and Roma community still desperately need this respect, their own institutions and space to unfold and develop their culture. Events such as Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month make the culture of Romanies better known in

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine

the world. They are a contemporary, minority culture whose strength has always been to incorporate other cultures and new ideas into their own way of living. Today Romanies are the only true European culture able to live up to the demands of a contemporary, digital and mobile way of life. Raklo (boy) in Spring is used on the exhibition poster. Most of Pankok’s friends were murdered in the concentration camps, but his work lives on. Today the Romany community is Europe’s largest ethnic minority.

See the work at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in the University of Greenwich, London 7 - 26 June 2010 ß

Citizens Advice supports Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010

citizens advice bureau

For free, confidential advice visit your local bureau or online at

Citizens Advice, registered charity number 279057


First for Knowledge

Ian Hancock was the first Romany Gypsy ever to be awarded a doctorate in the UK. Now a University Professor in Texas and leading voice in Romani Studies and Romany rights, here Ian speaks about the state of Roma and Traveller affairs, his latest book, and the need for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. Ian Hancock is interviewed by Damian Le Bas. “I remember when GRTHM was first announced the muskers went nuts; they called it ‘political correctness off the scale,’ and they asked what planet we were living on (S. Wright, ‘Police fury as bosses tell them to celebrate Gipsies,’ the Daily Mail, 15 July 2008). Well, that’s good; they need to know that we are here, we have been here for centuries, there have been many attempts to get rid of us but we are still here and we ain’t going nowhere. “Learning about our own history is essential. We should learn about the relationship British Romanies share with Romanies in other parts of the world. There is strength in numbers: Romanies outnumber the population of Wales four to one.

“We are just as smart and inventive as anyone. Smarter, perhaps, to have survived a history filled with persecution, without an army, a government, or an economy …” “The differences that divide us into many groups mostly originate from the gawja world; the similarities that unite us have been there from our first arrival in the West. Above all these are our language and our culture, and if we lose those what is left that makes us distinct?

“I’m always sad when I come back to England to see the poor state of our language. Even the word for who we are, Romanichal, is seldom heard now. Here in Texas both our name and our language are very much in use. I would love to see more British Romanichals visit the USA and reconnect with relatives. “We get our education as Romanies and Travellers from growing up in our families. But ‘education’ also means going to school and learning what the gawjas learn. Some people fear that we will lose our identity by becoming too gawjified, but I think that is nonsense. We have survived over the centuries by keeping one step ahead of the rest. And let’s face it, the new technology has empowered us. The Internet. This magazine. Things we never had before. “To me it is a colossal insult that the Holocaust Memorial Council refuses to include us, that journalists feel free to say the most inaccurate things about us, that the police feel free to bully and attack us. But in each case, it is because they know that we are insecure about our ability to speak up or fight back. I am proud of the stand-in at Dale Farm. I am proud of the resistance we’ve shown at Meriden. But these are isolated cases. “I get phone calls all the time from Romanichals and Travellers here in the US who need help with legal issues. In many cases a class action suit

could easily and successfully be filed by several families, but no one wants to put their name to paper for fear of reprisals, so we get nowhere. Simply knowing the law, and how all citizens are protected by it, and letting the police know that we know the law, would empower us. “We are just as smart and inventive as anyone. Smarter, perhaps, to have survived a history filled with persecution, without an army, a government, or an economy, and yet to still be here after a thousand years. Given a level playing field, we would shine. But I don’t see any profit in acting like victims. We can’t go back, only forwards. “When the gawjas went from horse-drawn waggons to driving cars they called it progress, but when we did it they called it a shame. We can’t allow the outside world to tell us who and what we are. We have to take their toys away, however irritated it makes them.”

Danger! Educated Gypsy: Selected Essays by Ian Hancock is published by the University of Hertfordshire Press priced £25. A paperback edition for £16.99 will be published in November 2010 ß

Come along and help the Travellers’ Liaison Service celebrate!

Drop-in session

Thursday 10 June 2010, 10am to 2pm Durham Room, County Hall, Durham DH1 5UL For further information please contact The Travellers’ Liaison Service e-mail: w 0191 370 8731 Get involved in a range of d activities an displays.



All The World’s Our Stage Damian Le Bas meets three British-based Gypsy, Roma and Traveller acts and artists who will be performing during Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month 2010.

Romany Diamonds


hree generations of Roma musicians make up the fast-paced orchestral sound of Romany Diamonds, including the renowned jazz bassist Vicktor Obsust. For London-based Diamonds member Ricardo Czureja, asking how he got involved in music is “like asking when a baby starts drinking milk”, as he was constantly surrounded by people either playing or listening to music. Ricardo was born on the mountainous border between Slovakia and Poland and both his father and his grandfather played the violin, so “the richness of Gypsy musical culture and their strong and beautiful heritage” surrounded him from his childhood. The Romany Diamonds are justly proud of their ability to weave other musical lineages into their sound, and they draw on Polish and Andalucian traditions as well as their own Romani jazz heritage.


Cristofe Sors

erieva’s unmistakable blend of Romani roots, electronica and experimental sound draws on her Manouche (French Romany) and Irish heritage, as well as her experience of living and performing in many parts of the world. Born into a musical family, she was just 8 years old when she began to perform in public. Kerieva is a skilled violinist and she often embroiders her soulful tales with the Romani language and others. Her first album was released last year and since then she’s been on the road from Scotland to Spain, taking in Eastern Europe where she hopes her music will inspire Roma youth to stand up to the growing surge of anti-Roma racism. When Kerieva sings that “The black legion has woken from a 60 years slumber and is conquering Europe”, it’s not just about history, but a shadow over the present that we all need to wake up to.

hose of you who attended the launch of GRTHM 2009 will hardly have forgotten Cristofe Sors, whose on-point Flamenco rhythms rang out around Westminster and pulled the crowds like magic. On his MySpace page he tells us a bit about his life. “Since I was very young growing up in Arles, capital of the Camargue, music has been a part of me. I have followed in the footsteps of the Gipsy Kings. Then when I was 19 I married the daughter of singer and founder Tekameli, one of the most beautiful voices North of Barcelona. Encouraged by my peers, including Brigitte Bardot, JP Belmondo, Jean Reno and Vincent Mc Doom, I continue to bring soul to parties. I travel all over Europe with my wife to learn more and more about music. I want to keep developing my own personal Gypsy Rumba sound: sometimes it’s melancholic but it’s such a true sound. Playing at the Houses of Parliament was a really wonderful experience. Thank you all!”


T All three artists will be performing at Sussex Gypsy Heritage Day, June 12th, Brighton which takes place from 10:00 am to 4:00pm at: The Brighthelm Church and Community Centre, North Road, Brighton ß

Djelem Djelem – The Romani Anthem Here’s a song that everyone should know to help celebrate GRTHM 2010. It’s the official Romani anthem written by Zarko Jovanovic in 1969 and adopted at the First World Romani Congress in April 1971.

Online Jukebox Visit the Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month website where you can hear songs by Kerieva, Ambrose Cooper and others on our web jukebox. And while you’re there, download the Romano Drom songbook a small collection of songs compiled with the help of Kerieva and Ambrose. Visit:

Djelem, djelem, lungone dromensa Maladilem baxtale Romensa Djelem, djelem, lungone dromensa Maladilem baxtale Romensa. Ay, Romale, Ay, Chavale, Ay, Romale, Ay, Chavale. Ay Romale, katar tumen aven Le tserensa baxtale dromensa Vi-man sas u bari familiya Tai mudardya la e kali legiya. Aven mansa sa lumiake Roma Kai putaile le Romane droma Ake vryama – ushti Rom akana Ame xutasa mishto kai kerasa. Ay, Romale, Ay Chavale, Ay, Romale, Ay Chavale.


English Translation by Ron Lee I have travelled over long roads I have met fortunate Roma I have travelled far and wide I have met lucky Roma Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth Oh, Roma, from wherever you have come With your tents along lucky roads I too once had a large family But the black legion murdered them Come with me, Roma of the world To where the Romani roads have been opened Now is the time – stand up, Roma, We shall succeed where we make the effort. Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth.

Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Magazine


The Knack of All Trades? For Gypsies, Roma and Travellers there are certain professions that have helped us survive and will always be close to our hearts.


ut are these the only things we’ve been good at over the years? If we look at the work our ancestors have done, and that our people are doing now, we might be surprised. Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are two of the most expensive footballers in the world. What unites them might be a mystery to some people, but to many readers of this magazine it’s no mystery at all. They both have Romany and Traveller roots, Irish Traveller and Roma respectively. When we think of Gypsies and Travellers at work, what comes to mind first? It might be making pegs, or going out dukkering, seasonal field work or dealing cobs and other horses. These have been mainstay jobs over the years that have kept us going through hard times and kept our culture alive when times aren’t so hard. But it’s flexibility and the intelligence to adapt to changing times that have kept us going. Through history, Travellers have filled any niche they had to, with as much, if not more, skill than anybody else. It’s been a love of working for ourselves and doing piece work, rather than wage work, that’s united us. Dick Harrison was alive in the early 20th Century, when many Travellers were hugely flexible with work.

Julie Jones selling flowers in Petersfield, Hampshire in the 1990s ‘January we sold firewood. And when we weren’t selling firewood, flowers or wool, there was the hens and the hoss trade. We used to break horses too’ 1. As the peg trade declined in the 1930s, scrap metal and motor dealing took off: many Travellers spotted the opportunity. Miles of railway line were dismantled up to and after the Beeching Report in 1962 and many Travellers did well out of the British Rail iron that went for scrap. And working on farms didn’t just mean bringing in the hops and strawberries. ‘Many farmers were agreeable to allowing us to live on their land, provided we helped with the many jobs which were needing done on the farm’, said Traveller Betsy White in her book ‘The Yellow on the Broom’. Plenty of Romanies and Travellers have served in the armed forces, too, despite lies to the contrary. In October 1939 the Daily Mirror reported that ‘The

Gypsies are rallying to the nation’s call … they are registering for military service’. Irish Traveller Nan Joyce wrote how ‘Some people gave us a welcome. If they were living on the side of a mountain, or in a real lonely place, they mightn’t get to town for six months, and they loved to see the Travellers coming ... We were sort of newspapers and radio as well as everything else’2. Since then we’ve had our own newspapers like GRTHM magazine and Travellers’ Times, our own Rokker Radio, and a big family of websites, all with Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers working for them. We’re a flexible lot these days and we’re continuing a long tradition by being that way. 1. From J Davies, Tales of the Old Gypsies, 1999 2. Nan Joyce, Traveller, 1985

NATT+ have produced a poster set featuring Famous Gypsy Roma and Travellers who excel at their work and features sportsmen, writers and performers. See for details ß

Home on the Road

Traveller Life Past and Present An exciting opportunity to learn from Travellers about their way of life, both past and present. All activities are led by Travellers, they include storytelling, crafts, music, dance and exploring beautiful wagons and trailers.

Gypsy Traveller Advisory Group Exhibition Saturday 12June 2010 10am-4pm Free admission Gypsy Caravan, Music,

Poetry, Childrenʼs Paintings, Photographs and Food. Brighthelm Church & Community Centre, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD

Sunday July 20th 10.30 – 4.00 at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse (Dereham) In partnership with Norfolk Traveller Education Service. For details please call 01362 860563 or 07979848200



Count Yourself Lucky!

general election, the estimated 300,000 Gypsies and health services for Gypsies and Travellers in Leeds. The only thing Kent Gypsy man Jack Hilden is Travellers in this country will finally have someone worried about is what will happen if his community to vote for – ourselves. Because for the first time in history the form all citizens must fill in will have a box fails to stand up and be counted. “Let’s face it this new lot in power would like to push us into the sea. marked Gypsy/ Traveller. I’ll go from here to Scotland to get Travellers to say Siobhan Spencer MBE of the Derbyshire Gypsy who they are,” he says. “I’m proud of whom I am and Liaison Group campaigned for the change to the I’m not frightened of nothing or nobody.” census form and is pleased to have succeeded. She n a world ruled by number crunchers and says. “It’s like we’ve finally arrived because it finally bureaucrats, size really does matter. The recognises our culture. But there’s going to be a lot of communities that are best treated earn that respect work to do to persuade people to say who they are.” by being big, loud and proud. Gypsy and Traveller She knows full well that many Gypsies and Travellers people may be all of those things in private, but are fearful that saying who they are will be used history has taught us to keep our heads down and against them. our mouths shut in public. With a new party in power Leeds based Irish Traveller Eileen Lowther says that has openly declared its hostility to Gypsies and the choice to tick the box is almost a matter of life Travellers, many have come to the conclusion that it’s and death. “If we don’t stand up for ourselves now, now time to stand up and be counted. we will be forced out existence,” she says. In 2002 Stand up and be counted she did her own census to find out many Gypsies and Helen Bray is Head of Communication & Travellers were living in her home town. What she Stakeholder Management at the Office of National found shocked her, because it proved how much help Statistics which carries out the census. She says: her community really needed. “We would like to hear from any organisations or “We found that nearly 20% of the settled people community representatives who would be willing to in Leeds are over 60, but only 2.33% of Gypsies and help us to get the message out within the Gypsy and Travellers in Leeds are over 60. Settled people live on Traveller communities. We can be contacted at: average to 78 years old, while on average we only” live until we are 50. Well I am 50 years old and I find Gypsy/Irish Traveller will be a census option in 2011 this very upsetting and frightening.” • There will be a 2011 Census stall on the Friday and “The census is the best way to show councils and Saturday at Appleby Fair in June – in the information On March 27th 2011, Britain will hold its next health people what is happening to us. They need to marquee at Salttip Corner – to explain the value of the census. On that day every person in the country will do something to help us, but we can help ourselves census and the benefits to Gypsies and Travellers of be counted and asked who about who they are. The taking part so that their needs for services and support results will decide who gets what in accommodation, by saying who really are on the census form.” She are collected through the census. ß health and education for the next 10 years. Unlike the says her own census has led directly to improved Census_194x139_GRTHM_ad_AW:Census_194x139_GRTHM 14/05/2010 11:33 Page 1

Next March British Gypsies and Travellers will finally be recognised as an ethnic group in the 2011 census. But why should we bother about taking part, asks Jake Bowers.


“We’ll do it for a better future for our family.” On 27 March 2011, Gypsies and Travellers will be recognised for the first time in the census for England and Wales. The census paints a picture of the population every ten years. It’s important that everyone takes part so that public services – like schools, hospitals, homes, roads and emergency services – can be planned and funded to meet everyone’s needs. All census information is strictly confidential. Failure to take part may mean a heavy fine.

27 March 2011 – your chance to stand up and be counted. To find out more, visit

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