Friday, November 28, 2008


Yesterday I talked with a friend of mine who used to be a lawyer. We discussed the case of Ms. Dina Babbitt and her watercolors.

Her opinion was that Dina had received compensation for her work so it did not legally belong to her. The compensation she received was that Joseph Mengele spared the life of Ms. Babbitt and her mother in return for the watercolors of Rroma inmates of Auschwitz.

At first this argument floored me and I was speechless. Later I realized that to say Ms. Babbitt received compensation for her work in these circumstances is the same as saying that the victim of armed robbery who was not killed received compensation for their belongings. In the light of day, this argument seems ludicrous.

In today's Seattle Times, I read an article about France turning over a Matisse painting which had been looted by Nazis from a Jewish family in WWII. It was returned to the rightful owner, who had willed it be left to an Israeli charity organization. This seems relevant eh?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is the anniversary of the murder of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk by Dan White. White was later released after successfully pleading what came to be called, The Twinky Defense.

Yesterday, a judge in Florida threw out a long standing ban on adoptions by Gays or Lesbians. The ban was passed during the 70's heyday of Anita Bryant. Wonder if she'd use the Twinky Defense for her bigotry and hate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Oh my. In today's Seattle Times there was a picture of George W. Bush visiting the troops at Fort Campbell Kentucky. Across the page was an article about how the Bush administration has narrowed the definition of wounded in action concerning soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan. Many soldiers, including those injured by mortar fire and car collisions while under attack are denied the benefits allowed those wounded in combat.

How I wish George W. would just walk away now. Or, as demonstraters asked on election night,


On this date in 1883, Sojourner Truth died in Michigan. Truth, born into slavery, is well known for her "Ain't I a woman? speech given in 1851 at a women's convention in Akron. Ohio.

Monday, November 24, 2008


On this date in 1947, a group of writers, directors and actors, who came to be known as the Hollywood Ten, were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions of the committee investigating Communism in the film industry.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today I received a letter from Chairman Barloszewski of the Auschwitz Holocaust Museum. The board has decided, once again, to deny Ms. Babbitt the return of her watercolors of the Rroma/Sinti inmates of Auschwitz.
Ms. Babbitt is very weak and hospitalized. Needless to say, she is totally disheartened.

We are exploring avenues available to continue the struggle for the return of Ms. Babbitt's art.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I saw a very good film on PBS last night called March Point.
It was basically a documentary on Anacortes oil refineries and their effect on the Swinomish Indian Reservation and the Native Americans who live there. It was also the story of the growing awareness of three Native American teens.

By doing research, and interviewing elders, the teens learned about their history and discovered that the tribal traditions of crabbing and clamming have been jeopardized by years of corporate dumping of chemical waste.

The similarities between the treatment of Native Americans and the situation of Rroma in Europe are unavoidable.

For example, the UN administration in Kosovo set up camps for the Rroma after the war. These camps were built on the remains of the largest lead mine in Europe. The barracks were built with lead painted boards.

Many Rroma have died as a result of lead poisoning. There have been many spontaneous abortions and miscarriages due to lead poisoning.

According to medical experts who have visited the camps, EVERY CHILD CONCEIVED THERE WILL BE BORN WITH IRREVERSIBLE BRAIN DAMAGE.

The Rroma have nowhere to go should they try to leave the camps.

The weapons of oppression remain the same.


I've been waiting all day to hear the decision of the Auschwitz Museum Board of Directors concerning the return of Dina Babbitt's watercolors of Gypsy inmates. There has still no official notifications although I have been assured that a decision was arrived out. It's been at least three days since the annual board meeting.

I have to admit that my apprehension increases as time passes.

I acknowledge and appreciate the work of the Museum, I must wonder by what authority they keep Ms. Babbitt's artwork. I understand the rationalizations but feel an exception should be made in this case.

Who owns art and artifacts anyway?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


A decision has been made in the case of Ms. Dina Babbitt. We will be notified as soon as the decision has been translated and okayed for release. We continue to keep our fingers crossed and candles lighted.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


On Nov. 17, the board of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is meeting. One of the items on the agenda is the return of Ms. Dina Babbitt's watercolors.

Rromani groups have submitted letters in behalf of Ms. Babbitt. She is now 86 yrs old and suffering with stomach cancer. We feel it is important her artwork is returned to her now. Time is running out.

As Rroma, we are especially thankful to Ms Babbitt for documenting, through her art, the experience of Rroma/Sinti in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A supportive article appeared in the most recent edition of the AARP magazine. Interestingly, the article never mentioned the fact that the watercolors in contention are portraits of Rroma/Sinti prisoners of the Holocaust. This is a very important fact. That AARP chose to omit this is evidence of the invisibility of the suffering of the Rroma/Sinti and the importance of documentation such as Ms. Babbitt's watercolors.

We all owe her gratitude for her contribution to justice and fairness.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Below is a video from YouTube made by Sinti in Germany.

This is the tribe my mother was from. Most Sinti in Germany were murdered in the Holocaust/Porraimos, even those who were settled and citizens of Germany.

lolodiklo sent you a video: "Sintis from Germany"

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© 2008 YouTube, LLC

Monday, November 10, 2008


Miriam Makeba, Mamma Africa, died this morning in Italy after performing a concert in support of immigrants. The concert was also held to protest the Italian government's policies against Rroma, including fingerprinting of all Rroma in Italy. She was 76.

Miriam Makeba was banished from her country, South Africa, in the 60's because of her anti-apartheid songs. She did not return until Nelson Mandella was released from prison.
Sponsored by Harry Belafonte, she became a popular and respected singer in the United States.

I was lucky to meet her in 1972, at a school on Staten Island, New York. She was a courageous and gentle woman who encouraged us in our political struggles for the end of the VietNam War, and the rights of all people. She supported the struggles of people of color, women and gays everywhere.

Miriam Makeba was an inspiration to all who fight for human rights and dignity.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


With the election of Barack Obama America rejoiced. Every news program I watched featured people saying how now anyone could achieve anything in America. While I supported Obama, I am dumbfounded that the right for gay people to marry in California was denied. So, anyone except gays can achieve what they want.
Do you see the irony in this.
I personally am opposed to the concept of state sanctioned marriage,but I will fight for the rights of anyone to get married if that is their choice.
How dare others dictate what gay people can or can not do.
It made me feel invisible when everyone rejoiced in the "now Americans can reach the goals they aspire to" celebrations. Well everyone can't.
And let's be aware that minorities in this country still have lesser status, whether based on ethnicity, race or sexual preference.
The struggle continues.

Friday, November 7, 2008


1916---Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman in the US to be elected to Congress.

1917---Russia's Bolshevik Revolution began as forces led by Vladimir Lenin overthrew the provisional government.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


On this day, 1972, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting for President of the United States. She was arrested at her home the day after she voted. Her vote was purged.

She was convicted by a judge and fined $100. She said that she would never pay that fine, and she never did.

Happy Obama Day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

YMA SUMAC 1922-2008

Yma Sumac, the Peruvian born singer died Saturday night in Los Angeles CA.

Ms Sumac's spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950's.

If you are not familiar with her music, I strongly suggest you check her out. She was a unique performer with incredible skills. She released many albums in her career, and Mambo is my favorite. It gives full play to her incredible vocal range.

These photos are from the Los Angeles Times

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Studs Terkel died yesterday at the age of 96.
He really was a working class hero.

He wanted his epitaph to say
"Curiosity didn't kill this cat"