The Sinti (also Sinta or Sinte; masc. sing. Sinto; fem. sing. Sintesa) are a Romani people in Central Europe that number around 200,000 people. They were traditionally itinerant, but today only a small percentage of Sinti remain unsettled. In earlier times, they frequently lived on the outskirts of communities. The Sinti of Central Europe (mostly Germany) are closely related to the group known as Manouche in France. They speak the Sinti-Manouche variety of Romani, which exhibits strong German influence. They were first mentioned outside Sindh in 1100 by the Arab chronicler Meidani, and are an ethno-linguistic group that is one of the oldest Indian Subcontinent diasporas in Europe.
The origin of the name is disputed. Some, including many Sinti themselves, believe it derives from Sindhi, the name of a people of Sindh (a region in Pakistan), based on indications that Romani peoples originated in the Indian subcontinent. Others, including scholar Yaron Matras, argue that "Sinti" is a later term in use by the Sinti from only the 18th century on, and is likely a European loanword. A recent study by Estonian and Indian researchers found genetic similarities between European Romani men and Indian men in their sample. Linguist N. B. G. Kazi believes that Sinti are from Sindh.
Some other possible locations, where the name Sinti derived from are the Sindh River or the Sind River or Kali Sindh River. Maybe also derived from Sind Valley or the Indus River in Sanskrit named Sindhu, or the village Sinthee. Other Sinti groups claim their ancestors are the Sindi people came to Europe much earlier and appear as Sintians in Sintice now Sintiki, where their language Sintitikes derived from.
The Sinti are a subgroup of Romani people mostly found in Germany. They arrived in Austria and Germany in the Late Middle Ages as part of the Romani emigration from the Indian Subcontinent, eventually splitting into two groups: Eftavagarja ("the Seven Caravans") and Estraxarja ("from Austria"). They arrived in Germany before 1540. The two groups expanded, the Eftavagarja into France, Portugal and Brazil, where they are called "Manouches", and the Estraxarja into Italy and Central Europe, mainly what are now Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania,[dubious ] the Czech Republic and Slovakia, eventually adopting various regional names. In Italy they are present mainly in Piedmont region (where in Piedmontese they are called Sinto, although the word for Romani people is sìngher, as the Italian zingari), with some communities in Veneto and Emilia Romagna as well.
The Sinti migrated to Germany in the early 15th century. Despite their long presence, they were still generally regarded as beggars and thieves, and, by 1899, the police kept a central register on Sinti, Roma, and Yeniche peoples. The Nazis considered them racially inferior (see Nazism and race), and persecuted them throughout Germany during the Nazi period—the Nuremberg Laws of 1935 often being interpreted to apply to them as well as the Jews.
Adolf Eichmann recommended that the Third Reich solve the "Gypsy Question" simultaneously with the Jewish Question, resulting in the deportation of the Sinti to clear room to build homes for ethnic Germans. Some were sent to Poland, or elsewhere (including some deported to Yugoslavia by the Hamburg Police in 1939) others were confined to designated areas, and many were eventually murdered in gas chambers. Many Sinti and Roma were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were put in a special section, called the "gypsy camp". Dr. Josef Mengele often performed some of his infamous experiments on Sinti and Roma. On 2 August 1944 the "gypsy camp" was closed, and approximately 4,000 Sinti and Roma were gassed during the night of 2–3 August and burnt in the crematoria. 2 August is now commemorated as Roma and Sinti Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In the concentration camps, the Sinti were forced to wear either a black triangle, indicating their classification as "asocial", or a brown triangle, specifically reserved for Sinti, Roma, and Yeniche peoples.
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- Margalit, Gilad; Matras, Yaron (2007). "Gypsies in Germany-German Gypsies? Identity and Politics of Sinti and Roma in Germany". In Stauber, Roni; Vago, Raphael (eds.). The Roma: A Minority in Europe: Historical, Political and Social Perspectives. Budapest: Central European University Press. pp. 103–116. ISBN 978-1-4294-6253-2. OCLC 191940451.
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[U]p to the late 18th century the Sinti referred to themselves as ‘Kale’ (lit. ‘blacks’). The term ‘Sinti’ or ‘Sinte’ (see below) may be found in 18th and 19th century linguistic documentation alongside ‘Kale,’ and appears to have been borrowed from the secret vocabulary of the Yenish travelers, perhaps because of its usefulness in concealing ethnic identity. Only toward the late 19th century does the self-appellation ‘Sinti’ replace ‘Kale’ entirely in Germany.
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Individual groups can be classified into major metagroups: the Roma of East European extraction; the Sinti in Germany and Manouches in France and Catalonia; the Kaló in Spain, Ciganos in Portugal and Gitans of southern France; and the Romanichals of Britain.
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