In Spring 2019, 25 attacks against Roma people were recorded in France. The attacks took place primarily in underprivileged cities and towns around Paris.
According to initial reports, the attacks appear to have been organised and orchestrated
by locals, often from poor and immigrant backgrounds, in areas in which Roma people also live.
The attacks followed a series of rumours spread on social media alleging that Roma people were abducting children and planned to rape them or sell their organs.
After the attacks in the Paris metropolitan area, police and local authorities quickly debunked the false rumours, forcefully stating that the claimed acts or threats of child abductions were completely unfounded.
But what happened with the people after the attacks? How are they doing now? I was curious to find out.
It took me a while to find the place where the Roma people were supposed to be. I found it near a bridge between busy streets and facto- ries. But the place was abandoned. A new fence denied me entrance. Only some belongings left behind in a hurry could talk to me: memo- ries lying in the dirt.
The camp was totally removed. At the end, the other people had won. These pictures of mine tell a story of searching and finally finding.
The age-old myth of Gypsies stealing children
In several European countries, adults still scold children with expressions such as “Behave - or Gypsies will take you away”.
Literature is also nourished by such tales,
as shown in Victor Hugo’s classic 1831 novel Notre-Dame de Paris, transformed into numerous films under the title The Hunchback of Notre-Dame: One of the central characters, La Esmeralda, was a child who was abducted and raised by Gypsies.