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Roma artist, writer on Nazi atrocities, dies at 79

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 30, 2013 at 7:27 am •  Published: January 30, 2013

"If I could write down all my thoughts, they would surely be an endless book of suffering," she told an interviewer before embarking on her 1988 autobiography "We Live in Seclusion." ''But my thoughts race more quickly than my hands are able to put everything to paper."

Born in Austria to a nomadic family of horse traders, Stojka returned after the end of the Nazi era and made a living selling carpets. She started speaking out in the 1980s, as Austrian awareness of the country's complicity in Nazi crimes grew. And she started painting — dark somber pictures depicting the death camps that alternated with joyful images of pre-war life on the road in her family's horse-drawn wagon.

Despite those happier images, she never forgot the horrors of the Nazi era — and implored audiences not to let history repeat itself.

"How is it possible at the beginning of the new century that the Roma population ... is still humiliated and maltreated — and sometimes killed as it happened in Hungary — for the only reason of being Roma?" she asked a gathering of Hungarian university and high-school students three years ago after a spate of Roma hate killings there.

"Let my grandchildren live," she declared.