Gypsy. The term paints images of bare-bellied women jingling as the beads and ornaments on their wrists and ankles rattle while they dance to the music made by old lazy men smoking pipes and laughing, causing the wrinkles in their dark-olive skin to grow, pushing back caps of colored yarn dyed in mason jars; or maybe it forces our hands to finger our wallets as we look suspiciously at the bronze faces of dirty little boys gaunt and tatterdemalion, hoping they don’t peddle us for our hard earned cash.
Rarely does it cause us to think of Auschwitz. Rarely does it cause us to think of the smell of once warm bodies, now cold and lifeless being shoved on carriers into blazing brick ovens as countless others, alongside Jewish friends, are strapped to the operating bench of men like Joseph Mengele to be tested, tortured, and touched.
But this is the reality for the Roma and Sinti people, a people uncared for, un-noticed, uncounted. The documentary by Aaron Yeger looks into the Porajmos, the Romani holocaust which killed about 90% of the Sinti-Roma people by it’s close. It shows the brutality of the Porajmos, and the equal brutality in the modern ignorance of the genocide. The film also shows how the “Gypsy” peoples are treated today: like the Jews, with disgust and inequity.
Chiefly sober in it’s effect, A People Uncounted wakes us up to the reality of our race, taking us from Romania and Ukraine to Germany and the U.S. to show how the holocaust was not some “extreme, outrageous event,” but was rather something that happened because we let it, and could happen again.
Indeed, the situation for both Jews and Gypsies is growing worse and violence specifically aimed at these groups has surfaced and increased over the past few years. Be sure of this, injustices are not simply trends in society but planted deep within us, and with out the focused redemption of people groups, will can again see what our grand parents whispered about when we were children.