The Rromani Connection website
Rroma and Sinti Holocaust
Romanies were the only other population besides the Jews who were targeted for extermination on racial grounds in the Final Solution.
During the 1920s the legal oppression of Romanies in Germany intensified considerably, despite the egalitarian statutes of the Weimar Republic. In 1920 they were forbidden to enter parks and public baths; in 1925 a conference on "The Gypsy Question" was held which resulted in laws requiring unemployed Romanies to be sent to work camps "for reasons of public security", and for all Romanies to be registered with the police. After 1927, all Romanies, even children, had to carry identification cards, bearing fingerprints and photographs. In 1929, The Central Office for the Fight Against the Gypsies in Germany was established in Munich, and in 1933, just ten days before the Nazis came to power, government officials in Burgenland called for the withdrawal of all civil rights from the Romani people. In September 1935 Romanies became subject to the restrictions of the Nuremberg Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor, which forbade intermarriage between Germans and "non-Aryans," specifically Romanies, Jews and people of African descent. In 1937, the National Citizenship Law relegated Romanies and Jews to the status of second-class citizens, depriving them of their civil rights. Also in 1937, Heinrich Himmler issued a decree entitled "The Struggle Against the Gypsy Plague", which reiterated that Romanies of mixed blood were the most likely to engage in criminal activity, and which required that all information on Romanies be sent from the regional police departments to the Reich Central Office.
The first document referring to "the introduction of the total solution to the Gypsy problem on either a national or an international level" was issued under the direction of State Secretary Hans Pfundtner of the Reichs Ministry of the Interior in March, 1936, while the wording endgultige Losung der Zigeunerfrage, i.e. the "final (or `conclusive') solution of the Gypsy question", appeared in print in a directive signed by Himmler in May, 1938. Between June 12th and June 18th that same year, Gypsy Clean-Up Week took place throughout Germany which, like Kristallnacht for the Jewish people in November that year, marked the beginning of the end.
In January, 1940, the first mass genocidal action of the Holocaust took place when 250 Romani children were murdered in Buchenwald, where they were used as guinea-pigs to test the efficacy of the Zyklon-B crystals. later used in the gas chambers. In June the same year. Hitler ordered the liquidation of "all Jews, Gypsies and communist political functionaries in the entire Soviet Union."
On July, 31st 1941, Heydrich, chief architect of the details of the Final Solution, issued his directive to the Einsatzkommandos to "kill all Jews, Gypsies and mental patients." A few days later Himmler issued his criteria for biological and racial evaluation, which determined that each Rom's family background was to be investigated going back three generations. On December 16th that same year, Himmler issued the order to have all Romanies remaining in Europe deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau for extermination. On December 24th, Lohse gave the additional order that "The Gypsies should be given the same treatment as the Jews." At a party meeting on September 14th, 1942, Justice Minister Otto Thierack announced that "Jews and Gypsies must be unconditionally exterminated." On August 1st, 1944, four thousand Romanies were gassed and cremated in a single action at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in what is remembered as Zigeunernacht.
Extract from Ian Hancock's Afterword from the book, Settela.
Photos of Auschwitz by Marcel Courthiade
THE ROMANIES IN THE HOLOCAUST Ian Hancock
Light a candle for the Romani victims of the Holocaust
Never forget on the 2nd of August we light a candle for the Romani victims of the Holocaust where on the night of the 1st of August 1944, 4000 of our fellow Romanies where murdered in auschwitz. We'll always remember them.
I still remember as a kid walking in the forest with my Sinti grandmother and her pointing out old vardos scattered all around the area. She told me that these empty wooden vardos of the Sinti and Roma were now used by the German forestry workers to have their lunch and tea breaks in. Yet another sad reminder of the atrocities and crimes that happened to our people.
(All photographs and written material on this webpage have been published with the kind permission of the authors and copyright holders)
Click on the picture to read a Romani holocaust
poem by Janardhan Pathania
All the Romanies in the death camps were forced to wear these patches on their arms. The Z stands for Zigeuner.
(All copyrights reserved Romedia Foundation 2012 C)
Click on the picture to watch the trailer
For further information about the film or regarding purchasing go to FirstRunFeatures
A People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma (Documentary)
The Roma history is a tragedy of epic proportions and until this day enough has not been shown of what Romani people have gone through, and are still going through today. This documentary takes a big step forward in redressing this situation. It brings the Romani history to life through the rich interplay of their stories, poetry and music. The compelling and horrific first-hand accounts of Roma holocaust survivors from different places in Europe left me feeling numb with shock.
The film looks at Romani discrimination and labeling and how Romani rights are being eroded away in countries the world over. In Slovakia, up to 13 Romanies share two bedroom, one bathroom flats in a highrise block and have access to drinking water for only 4 hours a day. In Kosovo, the government has put Roma families on lead poisoned land where their children are falling sick and dying. Governments are lacking badly in protecting the vulnerable Roma communities. It portrays a cross-section of Romani people talking about life, Romani history and how the media and entertainment industry has misrepresented and stereotyped Roma in film and TV. A People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma is a profoundly moving documentary about a people who have endured too much pain, grief and suffering for far too long.
President Sinti Romani Community of Qld. Australia
Roma Genocide Remembrance Day 70th anniversary, 2nd August 2014.
Yvonne Slee spoke to Sydney radio station 2SER about this day and Romani culture and history.
Article in German Newspaper 9 October 2015, about the atrocities of WW2
My Romani uncle Freddy who was a mute, was one of the victims of the nazi era. This woman writes about the time when the nazis took all those defenceless vulnerable people away in grey buses and murdered them. It's another reminder of the atrocities committed during WW2 by the nazis.