Alfred Lessing writes about being forced to deny that he is a Sinto in order to avoid persecution under National Socialism. His sense of Germany as his home, a place where he lives and works and a landscape steeped in the tradition of his ancestors, clashes with this homeland’s rejection of him as “racially inferior” an “Zigeuner”.
The agony of the inner conflict he feels being a Sinto and German is evident in his description of the area bombings that he experiences as a member of the German public. Here, he witnesses and reports the destruction of Germany and of German lives, but because he successfully hid his Sinti identity and avoided the concentration camps, he cannot do the same for the devastation of Sinti lives there.
Source of text sample
Lessing, Alfred. 1993. Mein Leben im Versteck: Wie ein deutscher Sinto den Holocaust überlebte. Düsseldorf: Zebulon, pp. 129-131
Tebbutt, Susan, ed. 1998. »Sinti und Roma: Gypsies in German-speaking Society and Literature.« Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 136–38.
Zimmermann, Michael. »The National Socialist ›Solution of the Gypsy Question‹: Central Decisions, Local Initiatives and Their Interrelation«, »Holocaust and Genocide Studies« 15 3 (2001), pp. 412–427. Here, p. 414.