"And the Violins Stopped Playing"

Romani Musicians and the Artistic Representation of the Romani Holocaust





And the Violin Stopped Playing, Romani Holocaust, film music, stereotype


There are a relatively small number of feature films that openly and exclusively address the Romani Holocaust. However, it was arguably the 1988 film And the Violins Stopped Playing that marked the major breakthrough in the tradition of representing the Romani Holocaust, for its plot focuses entirely on the Roma and their plight during World War Two. This article examines this cinematographic representation of the Holocaust, focusing on depictions of Romani culture while taking into account the assumption of the privileged position of Romani musicians among the Roma. The film, which is an adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same title by Alexander Ramati, shows the Romani Holocaust from the perspective of Romani musicians. It can be argued that not only the plot or the visuals, but also actual sounds heard throughout the film, offer meaningful insights into the reading of this work. The article claims that the film approximates the Romani Holocaust by equally involving visual and musical aspects, which, like the story shown onscreen, are not devoid of stereotyping.

Author Biography

  • Anna Piotrowska, Jagiellonian University

    Anna G. Piotrowska is Professor of Musicology in the Institute of Musicology at Jagiellonian University in Poland. She studied musicology at Durham University in the United Kingdom and at Jagiellonian University in Poland. She specialises in the sociological and cultural aspects of musical life, with a focus on the intersection of musical culture and concepts of race and ethnicity, and on the role of music in shaping, impacting, and mirroring cultural and political contexts. She is a prolific author of several books, chapters, and articles published in English and Polish. She has held many internationally renowned fellowships and awards, and has taken part in several international academic projects, such as the “Toward a Global History of Music” Balzan research project, and the HERA-sponsored BESTROM project.




How to Cite

“‘And the Violins Stopped Playing’: Romani Musicians and the Artistic Representation of the Romani Holocaust”. 2024. S: I.M.O.N. Shoah: Intervention. Methods. Documentation. 11 (1): 23-45. https://doi.org/10.23777/sn.0124/art_apio01.