To accompany our reading of Richard F Burton, we shall take a walk to Marzahn. Let us meet at the SBahn at 10:00 am. It is the S7. Since we discussed the eugenic/physiognomic reflections of Burton, the trip to Marzahn will allow us to walk to the Roma memorial. In 1936 Reich and Prussian ministry of Interior created a barbed wire camp where Sinti and Roma, arrested from all sites of Berlin, were kept under custody, and compelled to forced labor. Berenbaum and Peck note in their Holocaust and history that “anthropological measurements of the Roma and Sinti prisoners in Marzahn were made by Gerhard Stein, a student of the Frankfurt race scientist Otmar von Verschuer”. Stein used this research to finish his 1938 dissertation “The Physiology and Anthropology of Gypsies in Germany” in which he commented the the Gypsies were “dangerous hereditary criminals”.
Now, think about what we read in class from Burton’s Travel to Mecca & Medina :
The temperament of the Hijazi is not unfrequently the pure nervous, as the height of the forehead and the fine texture of the hair prove. Sometimes the bilious, and rarely the sanguine, elements predominate; the lymphomatic I never saw.
The voice is strong and clear, but rather barytone than bass: in anger it becomes a shrill chattering like the cry of a wild animal.
The ears are those of Arab horses, small, well-cut, “castey”//
The line from Burton – or von Humboldt – to Stein is a rather straight one. Neither is it over – read this account of a Roma camp site being burned in Italy this week. We shall discuss as we walk!
Tags: Richard Burton