Strassburg
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For centuries, gypsies have been more or less tolerated in Europe rather than welcomed. Attempts to “settle” them have always failed.  Because these nomads require constant movement, they’ve usually had to camp in less than ideal locations. The gypsies seen here, outside Strassburg, have found temporary accommodation under and beside an arched railway ramp.

In the door of the large caravan stands a woman whose favors can be attained through negotiation with the man who is seen offering her to a visitor from the great Alsatian city.  The hapless woman was stolen as a child, probably in Romania, and remains the “property” of the “gypsy baron” who controls her life. Note the shackle and chain around her left ankle.  Infamous as thieves, the stealing of children was not uncommon among the gypsies of eastern Europe before the First World War. The box of lettuces on the caravan’s outside shelf was, no doubt, stolen earlier that day from an open-air market.

 

At the other end of the caravan a small girl, daughter of the “baron-pimp”, watches and listens to the negotiation, wondering if her life will be the same as her “aunt”, the woman with no gypsy blood being offered to the gentleman who has just arrived in a motor car.

 

Gypsies at Strassbourg

Gypsy Girl

Girl Watching

The “Sarajevo 1914 Collection”, begun in 1979, has been and continues to be assembled
in partnership with Ingrid Bitter, Director MC W. Schueler, Stuttgart

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