The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/auschwitz/gypsies.02

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: The Fate of the Gypsy 
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: gypsy

Archive/File: camps/auschwitz gypsies.02
Last-Modified: 1992/10/17

"Like the Jews, Gypsies were singled out by the Nazis for racial
persecution and annihilation. They were `nonpersons,' of `foreign blood,'
`labor-shy,' and as such were termed asocials. To a degree, they shared the
fate of the Jews in their ghettos, in the extermination camps, before
firing squads, as medical guinea pigs, and being injected with lethal

Ironically, the German writer Johann Christof Wagenseil claimed in 1697
that Gypsies stemmed from German Jews. A more contemporary Nazi theorist
believed that `the Gypsy cannot, by reason of his inner and outer makeup
(Konstruktion), be a useful member of the human community.'<70>

The Nurembuerg Laws of 1935 aimed at the Jews were soon amended to include
the Gypsies. In 1937, they were classified as asocials, second-class
citizens, subject to concentration camp imprisonment. <71> As early as
1936, some had been sent to camps. After 1939, Gypsies from Germany and
from the German-occupied territories were shipped by the thousands first to
Jewish ghettos in Poland at Warsaw, Lublin, Kielce, Rabka, Zary, Siedlce
and others. <72> It is not known how many were killed by the Einsatzgruppen
charged with speedy extermination by shooting. For the sake of efficiency
Gypsies were also shot naked, facing their pre-dug graves. According to the
Nazi experts, shooting Jews was easier, they stood still, `while the Gypies
cry out, howl, and move constantly, even when they are already standing on
the shooting ground. Some of them even jumped into the ditch before the
volley and pretended to be dead.' <73> The first to go were the German
Gypsies; 30,000 were deported East in three waves in 1939, 1941 and 1943.
Those married to Germans were exempted but were sterilized, as were their
children after the age of twelve. <74>

Just how were the Gypsies of Europe `expedited'? Adolf Eichmann, chief
strategist of these diabolical logistics, supplied the answer in a telegram
from Vienna to the Gestapo:

     Regarding transport of Gypsies be informed that on Friday, October 20,
     1939, the first transport of Jews will depart Vienna. To this
     transport 3-4 cars of Gypsies are to be attached. Subsequent trains
     will depart from Vienna, Mahrisch-Ostrau and Katowice [Poland]. The
     simplest method is to attach some carloads of Gypsies to each
     transport. Because these transports must follow schedule, a smooth
     execution of this matter is expected. Concerning a start in the
     Altreich [Germany proper] be informed that this will be coming in 3-4
     weeks. Eichmann. <74>

Open season was declared on the Gypsies, too. For a while Himmler wished to
exempt two tribes and `only' sterilize them, but by 1942 he signed the
decree for all Gypsies to be shipped to Auschwitz. <76> There they were
subjected to all that Auschwitz meant, including the medical experiments,
before they were exterminated.

Gypsies perished in Dachau, Mauthasusen, Ravensbruck and other camps. At
Sachsenhausen they were subjected to special experiments that were to prove
scientifically that their blood was different from that of the Germans. The
doctors in charge of this `research' were the same ones who had practiced
previously on black prisoners of war. Yet, for `racial reasons' they were
found unsuitable for sea water experiments. <77> Gypsies were often accused
of atrocities committed by others; they were blamed, for instance, for the
looting of gold teeth from a hundred dead Jews abandoned on a Rumanian
road. <78>

Gypsy women were forced to become guinea pigs in the hands of Nazi
physicians. Among others they were sterilized as `unworthy of human
reproduction' (fortpflanzungsunwuerdig), only to be ultimately annihilated
as not worthy of living. ... At that, the Gypsies were the luckier ones; in
Bulgaria, Greece, Denmark and Finland they were spared. <80>

For a while there was a Gypsy Family Camp in Auschwitz, but on August 6,
1944, it was liquidated. Some men and women were shipped to German
factories as slave labor; the rest, about 3,000 women, children and old
people, were gassed. <81>

No precise statistics exist about the extermination of European Gypsies.
Some estimates place the number between 500,000 and 600,000, most of them
gassed in Auschwitz. <82> Others indicated a more conservative 200,000
Gypsy victims of the Holocaust. <83>" (Laska)

<70> Raul Hilberg, "The Destruction of the European Jews" (Chicago:
     Quadrangle Books, 1961), p.641; quotation by Staatsrat Turner, chief
     of the civil administration in Serbia, October 26, 1941, in ibid.,
<71> Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon, "Destiny of Europe's Gypsies"
     (New York: Basic Books, 1972), p.72
<72> Jan Yoors, "Crossing, A Journal of Survival and Resistance in World
     War II" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1971), pp. 33-34
<73> Hilberg, p. 439
<74> Ruzena Bubenickova, et al., "Tabory utrpeni a smrti" (Camps of
     Martyrdom and Death)(Prague: Svoboda, 1969), pp. 189-190
<75> Simon Wiesenthal, "The Murderers Among Us" (New York: Bantam, 1967)
     pp. 237-238
<76> Kendrick, pp. 88-90
<77> Hilberg, pp. 602, 608; the doctors were Hornbeck and Werner Fischer
<78> ibid., p.489
<79> Julian E. Kulski, "Dying We Live" (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston,
     1979), p.200
<80> Kenrick, p.100
<81> Ota Kraus and Erich Kulka, "Tovarna na smrt" (Death Factory) (Prague:
     Nase vojsko, 1957), p.200
<82> Yoors, p.34; Bubenickova, p. 190
<83> Gilbert, Martin. "The Holocaust, Maps and Photographs" (New York: 
     Mayflower Books, 1978. p.22; Kendrick, p. 184
Laska, Vera, Ed. Women in the Resistance and in the Holocaust: The Voices of
Eyewitnesses. Wesport & London: Greenwood Press, 1983. LOC 82-12018, 
ISBN 0-313-23457-4

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.