Heinrich Grellmann

The Roma have been feared and shunned for centuries – but who exactly are they?

Published in German in 2011, this book was the high point of a 20-year-old tradition of ‘Anti-Gypsyism Studies’, which suggested that all previous histories of Roma by non-Roma represented a self-serving, defensive ideology of oppressors demonising the oppressed. Anti-racist scholars should therefore stand aside from such colonialist impertinence and leave the actual history of Roma to be written one day by Roma themselves. They should concentrate on chronicling the racism of their own people – Europeans, and especially the Germans. The book is not, therefore, a history of Roma, and was not intended as such. The original title was Europa erfindet die Zigeuner, which means ‘Europe invents the Roma’. It