Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gypsy Tattoos - Holocaust Survivors honored by the New Generation

Gypsy Holocaust Survivors tattoos by Daniela Stolfi-Tow

Many of my family members were killed in Auschwitz and Dachau.  One of my family members, Romani Rose, runs the Sinti and Roma Documentation Center in Manheim Germany that tells the histsory. He is one of many members of my family who have been activists for Sinti and Roma even building the first memorial site.

My surviving family members like my grandparents and Great Aunts/Uncles still have the tattoos. for them, tattoos had a very different meaning. 
My grandmother and brother comparing tattoos. 

My Grandmother was in Auschwitz. Her tattoo used to have a "Z" on it which was how Gypsies were identified in the camps. (Z for Zigeuner which means Gypsy in German) But for fear of discrimination she had it changed to an "A" which is how the Jews were identified. 

This is my Papu who recently passed away. He was a victim of Mengela at Auschwitz and underwent the water tests.

This is a tattoo the younger generation get to honor Sinti

The Romani Chakra wheel. 

This is the tattoo that we all wear now on our forearms, to honor those in our family who survived and those who didn' say we will never forget, your memories are alive in us. The wheel was adopted in 1971 at the First World Romani Congress as the official symbol of the Roma (“Gypsy”) people, and it resembles a Hindu Chakra wheel to honor our Indian heritage. It is meant to symbolize the wheel of a Vardo, or Wagon and has 16 spokes. (8 core values spreading outward toward fellow man and the 8 respective values being returned in kind to the Roman)

This is how we honor   those who have fallen by saying NEVER AGAIN!

-Daniela Stolfi-Tow (Bamberger family, Mannheim and Heidelberg Germany)

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