This article traces the beginning of Romani literature. It focuses on the work of Alexander Germano in the context of the history of a unique Romani literacy project developed in the USSR before the Second World War. It shows the peculiarity of the Soviet Romani literature and in particular the personal activities and contributions of Germano, the man considered the progenitor of contemporary Romani literature (with works in all three main genres of literature: poetry, prose, and drama). The study is based on a number of years of archival work in a variety of archives in the Russian Federation and to a great extent in Alexander Germano's personal archive, preserved in the town of Orel (Russian Federation). The documents studied allow us to clarify the blurred spots in his biography, to reveal his ethnic background and identity, and to highlight the reason for the success of the Romani literary project. The example of Germano shows that the beginning of a national literature depends on the significance and public impact of the literary work of a particular author, and is not necessarily related to the author's ethnic origin and identity.