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An insight into the very “little freedom” of the Yeniche

04.11.2015 – Marc Lettau

“Kleine Freiheit” (little freedom) is the title Michèle Minelli and Anne Bürgisser have given to their book about the Yeniche in Switzerland. They dedicate the carefully produced publication particularly to the minority who have not permanently settled. Minelli opts for very personal access to her subjects, but at the same time produces a comprehensive and well-founded portrayal of the 3,000 to 5,000 travellers whose “little freedom” sometimes really is very restricted when considered in the clear light of day. The book does more than paint an atmospheric picture. It also shows change. Minelli carried out her research right at the time when a change of mood was occurring amongst Yeniche travellers. Since their protests in spring 2014, a self-assured generation of younger Yeniche has emerged who are asserting their rights (also see “Swiss Review” 4/2014). Seen from this perspective, the book is an important and carefully compiled contemporary document.

“Kleine Freiheit – Jenische in der Schweiz”, Michèle Minelli (editorial) and Anne Bürgisser (photos); available in German; Verlag Hier und Jetzt, Baden; 2015, ISBN 978-3-03919-359-2; CHF 49, EUR 49