ZORY LOVARI

b. 1918, Basel, Switzerland
d. 2004 Basel, Switzerland

 

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BIOGRAPHY


ZLport1Zory Lovari's real name was Lieselotte Müller. She saw herself as an adopted member of the Romani people and therefore gave herself the name Zory Lovari. The Lovara is a subgroup of Romani and Zory means "the strong one". She needed strength from birth: to survive, to defend herself, to fight for herself and later for others.

In the 1970s, with her association "Pro Tzigania Svizzera" she was one of the first to consistently and successfully support Sinti, Romani and Yenish people in Switzerland. Her own life was marked by great suffering and constant deprivation. In her childhood as well as in her marriage she was abused. She lost one child in pregnancy because her husband had kicked her into her abdomen. She was divorced. In bitter poverty and constant existential fear, she raised five children alone. Zory Lovari worked as a cleaning woman in middle-class households, later she set up her own laundry.

The children alienated themselves from their mother and eventually withdrew from her completely. She, who was herself affected by poverty, worked tirelessly with and for poor and stigmatized people.

In everything she did, Zory Lovari felt led by spiritual beings. They also inspired her patterns for her elaborate gypsy embroideries and under their guidance, she made mandala-shaped drawings on graph paper. She never knew what was going to happen. Zory Lovari understood the fragile geometric structures as patterns of order of a hidden reality. She also wrote gypsy fairy tales, but unfortunately, she was unable to publish them despite many promises. Zory Lovari died impoverished and completely lonely.

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