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The archive comes from the collection of jhr. M.C.T. van Lennep (1885? – 1956), director of Dutch missionary organisation “Centrale Bond voor de Inwendige Zending”. It includes a typescript by Berlin “Stadtmissionar” Kurt Süsskind, letters and ephemera sent to Van Lennep by Süskind, Carl Füllbrandt, and Frieda Zeller-Plinzner (1889 – 1970), German author and “Zigeunermissionar”, as well as rare journals and booklets on the German Sinti and Roma.

 

Following Grellmann’s influential study Die Zigeuner (1783) and Herder’s Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (1784) Sinti and Roma came to be looked upon as “foreign”, “heathen”, “subterranean”, and “reprobate”. In the 19th century this led to the establishment of protestant missions to “civilize” and educate Sinti and Roma, ensuring their assimilation.

 

Both Süsskind and Zeller-Plinzner worked for the “Zigeunermission der Berliner Stadtmission”, founded in 1910. The archives of the Stadtmission were destroyed during WWII, so that the publications and letters of the missionaries represent an important historical source. The present material, almost exclusively in German, offers a rare insight into the history of the Protestant missions among German Sinti and Roma in the 1930s.

 

Much of the material has a stamp of the “Centrale Bond voor de Inwendige Zending” and most is very well preserved.

 

The collection includes:

 

Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Autograph letter signed [to M.C.T. van Lennep], dated “17. Nov.” [1930s]. 2 pp. A letter on several missions among the Sinti and Roma in Europe.

 

Two leaves (four pages) with notes in pencil on the Sinti and Roma, probably by Van Lennep.

 

K.[urt] Süsskind. Zigeuner in der Grosstadt. Typescript. 4 leaves, rectos only. Dated in pencil (by van Lennep?) “Berlijn 1932”. Folded horizontally, perforated. Together with the published text (4 pp.), apparently taken from a magazine, and a typed letter signed by Süsskind to Van Lennep, dated “Berlin, den 26. Juli 1932”. Apparently Süsskind had sent Van Lennep several books on Sinti and Roma.

 

A small envelope sent by Süsskind to Van Lennep, containing:

- a postcard showing a missionary surrounded by Sinti and Roma children with a text in German by Kurt Süsskind, published by the “Zigeuner-Mission der Berliner Stadtmission”.

- R.U. [=Reinhold Urban?]. Religionsbüchlein für die Zigeuner in Siebenbürgen. Herausgegeben von der Mission für Süd-Ost-Europa Hausdorf, Kr. Neurode. Diesdorf, Striegau, 1913. 8 pp. Stapled self-wrappers. In Romani.

- Kurt Süsskind. Ein Blick in unsere Missionsarbeit. Berlin, 1933. Folded broadside.

 

A small envelope sent by Frieda Zeller-Plinzner to Van Lennep, containing:

- A postcard showing Sinti and Roma in front of a wagon, below a text in German.

- Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Ein Zigeunerbrief. [Berlin, 1930s?]. Folded leaf, printed on both sides. Illustrated. 

- Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Ein Brief aus der Zigeuner-Mission. [Berlin, 1930s?]. Folded leaf, printed on both sides. Illustrated. 

- Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Ein Gruss an unsere lieben Zigeunerfreunde. [Berlin, 1930s?]. Folded broadside. Illustrated.

- Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Ein Zigeunerbrief. [Berlin, 1930s?]. Folded leaf, printed on both sides. Illustrated. 

 

Several issues of the Täufer-Bote. Monatsschrift der Baptisten-Gemeinden deutscher Zunge in den Donauländern relating to Sinti and Roma, 1931-1933. With a typed letter signed by Carl Füllbrandt to Van Lennep, dated “12. December 1933”. 1 page, with the letterhead of the “Donau-Länder-Mission”. Füllbrandt writes: “Ich sende Ihnen heute unter “Drucksache” eine Anzahl Nummern unseres Missionsblattes “Täufer-Bote” und habe ich in denselben unsere Berichte der Zigeuner-Missionsarbeit rot gekennzeichnet…”.

 

Der Freund der Zigeuner. Gratis-Blatt herausgegeben vom schweizerischen Komitee der Zigeuner-Mission | L’ami des Tziganes. Feuille gratuite éditée par le Comité Suisse de la Mission tzigane. Bilingual newspaper. 27,5 x 22,5 cm. Each issue 8 pp. Folded horizontally.

Nr. 17, Juni 1931. 

Nr. 18, November 1931.

Nr. 20, Mai 1938.

Nr. 20, Mai 1938.

Nr. 21, November 1933.

 

Der Zigeunerfreund. Bilder aus der Zigeunermission in aller Welt. Gratis-Blättchen in freier Folge.

XXI. Jahrgang, No. 22, Mai 1934. [4] pp. 

XXI. Jahrgang, No. 23, Oktober 1934. [8] pp. stapled.

XXI. Jahrgang, No. 24, März 1935. [6] pp.

 

Im Kreis der Zigeunerkinder. [Germany, 1930s?]. 16 pp. Stapled.

 

Heinrich Bourgeois. Kurze praktische Grammatik der mitteleuropäisch-zigeunerischen Sprache. Striegau, Hus-Verlag, 1911. 29 pp. Original stapled wrappers. Bookplate on inside front wrapper. Title-page with a small damage, otherwise in excellent condition.

Published as number 3 in the series “Hefte der Zigeunerkunde”. The back wrapper advertises other titles in the series.

 

Reinhold Urban. Die Herkunft der Zigeuner. Striegau, Huss Verlag, 1912. 16 pp. Original stapled wrappers. Bookplate on inside front wrapper. In excellent condition.

Published as number 4 in the series “Hefte der Zigeunerkunde”. The back wrapper advertises other titles in the series.

 

Reinhold Urban. Die Sprache der Zigeuner in Deutschland. Striegau, Huss-Verlag, 1911. 31 pp. Original stapled wrappers. Bookplate on inside front wrapper. In excellent condition. 

Published as number 1 in the series “Hefte der Zigeunerkunde”. The last pages and the back wrapper advertise other titles in the series.

 

Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Bilder aus dem Leben der Berliner Zigeunerkinder. Zweite Auflage. Berlin, Vaterländ. Verl.- u. Kunstanst, [1914?]. 16 pp. Originally stapled wrappers. Bookplate on inside front wrapper. In excellent condition.

 

Frieda Zeller-Plinzner. Zinna und Kurli. Eine Zigeunergeschichte. Zweite Auflage. Berlin, Vaterländ. Verl.- u. Kunstanst, [1914?]. 16 pp. Originally stapled wrappers. Bookplate on inside front wrapper. In excellent condition.

 

Cf. Vera Meier, “‘Neither bloody persecution nor well intended civilizing missions changed their nature or their number’: A Postcolonial Approach to Protestant ‘Zigeuner’ Missionary Efforts”, in: Critical Romani Studies, Vol. 1, Nr. 1, pp. 86-112.

Small archive relating to protestant missions among German Sinti and Roma, 1930s

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