Gusztáv (Guszti) Szendrei was born and raised in Budapest. In 1942 he was drafted to go to the front and did not return home until November 1945. When, in 1956, the Hungarian national uprising was suppressed, Gusztáv Szendrei, who had been politically active, was forced to flee to Austria. In Vienna he was received by Lovara families with whom he remained friends all his life. When, in 1957, he met his future partner, a concentration camp survivor from the group of the Burgenland Roma, he moved to Neustift bei Güssing in Burgenland and travelled to and from Vienna to work. Guszti Szendrei died in late 1987.

Viennese Lovara families praised Gusztáv Szendrei as a talented, powerfully eloquent narrator who captivated his audience with his fairy tales and stories and was a welcome guest and speaker. He described himself as a member of the group of Poxtanara (textile traders). The variant of Romani that he spoke belongs to the group of the so-called Northern Vlach dialects. In most of its linguistic characteristics, it corresponds to the dialect of those Hungarian Lovara who have been living in Austria since the 1950s.

(Translation Petra Cech)

Further Reading

Teichmann, Michael. 2012. Der Sprachzauberer: Zwei Seelen in der Brust des ungarisch-burgenländischen Rom und Sprachkünstlers Guszti Szendrei. In: d|ROM|a 35, Herbst | Terno dschend 2012: pp. 3–10.