“Polish Police Investigator Handbook” from 1923 covers investigation procedures, policemen tools and teaches about various types of crimes. Below you’ll find translated chapter about dealing with Gypsies, or Romanis, as many people call them nowadays. Apparently, they perpetrated quite a bit of crimes then in Poland, so writer devoted chapter to gypsies. It is very interesting read for a historical reason – you can see how world looked before political correctness and what was acceptable to write in 1923 book. A word of warning – it might be not suitable for more sensitive readers, but it’s also quite hilarious. Read it below:
Gypsies have their own distinctive individuality. In criminal cases, you can only learn something from gypsy, when you know him well.
Gypsy in terms of manner is the most neglected man – he does not understand culture of settled people. We can not forget, that the gypsies are joined by various individuals, that wander around with them. Together, they conspire to steal and learn new tricks.
Before burglary takes place, Gypsy is fully aware of situation at home. To know whether the act was committed by Gypsies, you should carefully consider whether it was committed by the traits appropriate to Gypsy.
Gypsies have a great attraction to pork; so if after slaughter the pig meat is stolen, you should immediately check if Gypsies have not passed this way or were at home during slaughter? If so, then surely they were the perpetrators.
It was found, that gypsies steal horses in the area of horse market. As experience has shown, the victim typically goes to the market to search for his horses, meanwhile gypsy flees with stolen horses as far as possible, in opposite direction to market.
We often hear that Gypsies steal children, but these accusations are false, because the gypsies have enough children of their own. You can suspect them in some cases, eg. when it comes to redhead children, because gypsies are superstitious people and they believe that redhead child brings luck.
Between French, Hungarian and other gypsies there is almost no difference. According to the criminal counselor Liebich, gypsies are New Indians racial type, and they speak the same language.
Wistocki, who wandered with gypsies, says they present a special mixture of vanity and vulgarity, refinement, seriousness and frivolity, characterized by almost complete lack of judgment and reason; they are tricky and deceitful.
Then distinctive feature is their naivety and stupidity and the humiliating subservience (ie. sycophantcy), calculated to flatter and use someone.
Gypsies emit a peculiar stench, which always makes itself felt in places where recently they were. This way, if they come to a place, it is easy to tell if there were gypsies.
Gypsies usually steal in droves, that is, with companions, wives and children. They first sneak into the premises, and the companions and wives help them stealing things. Children are set up as sentries.
During the theft, gypsy ties the doorknob usually with wire. This knot is so clever, that it deserves recognition.
Religion in our sense, is foreign to gypsies. Englishman G. Borzow translated the Gospel of St. Luke to gypsy language and gave them the book to learn. Gypsies who commited burglary took the book with them, to assure that theft will be successful.
Police authority should apply for the disposal of gypsies, as long as they are threaten someone else or their property.
At the hearing gypsy always lies. In order to extract the truth from him, let him talk out, listen carefully and take notes. Gypsy then will become troubled, lose his mental balance, and this will give you the opportunity to prove his lies and various contradictions. Sometimes gypsy, seeing that the policemen has proof that he’s lying, is afraid of bad results and testifies the truth. Appeal to reason or threatening to arrest him as a punishment for perjury has no effect.
As for names, they usually pick a band name, familiar to them, for example “Lukatchi”. But they call each other different, for example: “bidangero” – it means without teeth, “bikanskero” – without ears, “matakierdo” – drunk, “gala minsh” – a black girl, and so on.
When you ask a gypsy about his companion, whom he only met few hours ago, he would only give you his official name, written in papers. Only when you ask him for real gypsy name, he will give you actual name. This name must be unconditionally written in the notes. You must also remember that in case of gypsies there are some facts that in case of normal people are absolutely excluded. For example: fast recovery, settling some matter being seriously ill, traversing vast space, etc.
You can read original text below:
Whole book is available on Polish National Library repository.