Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bury Me Standing

For more than four hundred years, until 1856, Gypsies were slaves in Wallachia and Moldavia, the feudal principalities that with Transylvania now make up modern Romania. Some Transylvanians also owned Gypsies, but only in the principalities was slavery an institution, at first guided by the "custom of the land" and eventually enshrined in a complete legal framework...

They were brought over in large quantities from south of the Danube specifically to be used as forced labor--a practice that alone explains why Romania is still home to by far the greatest number of Gypsies (some 2.5 million) in any single country.

--Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca

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