This study will introduce us to the Roma, with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. The first chapter will explore their history up to and including the twentieth century. Succeeding chapters will delve into the ways they are treated in contemporary European culture, introduce their lifestyle and spirituality, and investigate ways the church and other organizations are working alongside them. It will be an eye-opening journey that will, hopefully, offer a greater understanding of the Roma and opportunities for response and advocacy.
The Roma (sometimes spelled Rroma.) are often called “gypsies” by others. Many people who live in the United States know little or nothing about the Roma. In Europe, and especially in Eastern Europe, it is a different story.
Over the years, the Roma have been enslaved, shut out, shunned, and even shot. Their women have been involuntarily sterilized and their children forcibly removed from them “for the children’s own good.” Up to two and a half million of them were exterminated during Hitler’s reign of terror. People in other ethnic groups have seen the Roma as thieves, beggars, and fortune tellers.
The Roma are the single largest minority group in Europe. They deserve our attention.