Bergitka Roma

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Bergitka Roma or Carpathian Roma (also "Polish Highlander Gypsies" in some works) are a Roma ethnic sub-group, living mostly in Poland. They were one of the first, if not the first, group of Roma to migrate to Poland, mostly from the territories of the Kingdom of Hungary and Principality of Transylvania, through the Carpathian mountains, sometime during the 15th century. The name Bergitka (sometimes Bergare) is actually the term for the group used by other Roma groups, originating in German "berg" or "mountain". The members of the group refers to themselves simply as "Rroma" or "amare Roma".

Their dialect of the Roma language, Carpathian Romani, contains many loan words from Polish, Slovak and Hungarian and it has also preserved some grammar and tense structure of Hungarian. Unlike many other Romani dialects of Eastern and Central Europe, it lacks any influence from German.[1]

Bergitka Roma are non-nomadic and have lived a settled existence since at least the 18th century. For this reason, and because their interpretation of traditional Roma laws and customs, Romanipen, is regarded as lax by other groups of Roma, other Roma accord them a low social status. Bergitka Roma in turn regard non-Bergitka Roma as of low social status and as "inauthentic Roma".[1]

Traditional occupations of Bergitka Roma have been iron working and music.

Until World War II they lived mostly in the rural countryside of the Carpathian highlands, but after the war began moving to larger cities of Malopolska, such as Kraków, Tarnów, and Rzeszów. Many of them also moved to the Recovered Territories in the west of Poland. Currently they live mostly in the Subcarpathian, Lesser Poland, Silesian and Lower Silesian voivodeships.[1]

Some Bergitka communities also exist in Slovakia, close to the Polish-Slovak border.


  1. ^ a b c Adam Bartosz, "Nie boj sie cygana/Na dara rromesoar", Pograniczne, Sejny, 1994, pg. 71