Porajmos
Overview
The Porajmos [ˌpɔʁmɔs] was the attempt made by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Under Hitler’s rule, both Roma and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 were defined as “enemies of the race-based state” by the Nuremberg laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

; the two groups were targeted by similar policies and persecution, culminating in the near annihilation of both populations within Nazi-occupied countries.

Because Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

an Romani communities were less organised than Jewish communities, Porajmos was not well documented.
Encyclopedia
The Porajmos [ˌpɔʁmɔs] was the attempt made by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the Independent State of Croatia
Independent State of Croatia
The Independent State of Croatia was a World War II puppet state of Nazi Germany, established on a part of Axis-occupied Yugoslavia. The NDH was founded on 10 April 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers. All of Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed to NDH, together with some parts...

, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Under Hitler’s rule, both Roma and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 were defined as “enemies of the race-based state” by the Nuremberg laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

; the two groups were targeted by similar policies and persecution, culminating in the near annihilation of both populations within Nazi-occupied countries.

Because Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

an Romani communities were less organised than Jewish communities, Porajmos was not well documented. Estimates of the death toll of Romanies in World War II range from 220,000 to 1,500,000. According to Ian Hancock
Ian Hancock
Ian Hancock is a linguist, Romani scholar, and political advocate. He was born and raised in England, and is one of the main contributors in the field of Romani studies....

, director of the Program of Romani Studies at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, there also existed a trend to downplay the actual figures. He surmised that almost the entire Romani population was killed in Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. Rudolph Rummel, a professor emeritus of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 at the University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii
The University of Hawaii System, formally the University of Hawaii and popularly known as UH, is a public, co-educational college and university system that confers associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment...

 who spent his career assembling data on collective violence by governments towards their people (for which he coined the term democide
Democide
Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the...

), estimated that 258,000 must have been killed in Nazi Germany, 36,000 in Romania under Ion Antonescu
Ion Antonescu
Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

 and 27,000 in Ustashe Croatia. (The Romanian government was not directly involved in the extermination of the Roma. However, it was responsible for deporting Roma to Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

 where many perished.)

West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 formally recognised the genocide of the Roma in 1982. The Roma were reluctant to acknowledge the porajmos, preferring to suppress such unpleasant memories.

Using the term

The term porajmos was introduced into the literature by Ian Hancock
Ian Hancock
Ian Hancock is a linguist, Romani scholar, and political advocate. He was born and raised in England, and is one of the main contributors in the field of Romani studies....

, in the early 1990s. According to Hancock, the term was invented by a Kalderash
Kalderash
The Kalderash are a subgroup of the Romani people, from the Roma meta-group. They were traditionally smiths and metal workers and speak a number of Romani dialects grouped together under the term Kalderash Romani, a sub-group of Vlax Romani.-Etymology:The name Kalderash The Kalderash (also spelled...

 Rom during an informal conversation in 1993 where several people were discussing what to call the Holocaust in Romani. Of the several suggestions, Hancock found this one particularly appropriate.

The term is used mostly by activists and is unknown to most Roma, including relatives of the victims and survivors. Some Russian and Balkan Romani
Balkan Romani
Balkan Romani is group of dialects of the Romani language spoken in various Balkan countries.-Dialects:The Balkan dialects are split into two main groups, a northern group and a southern group :...

 activists protest against using the word porajmos. In various dialects, "porajmos" is synonymous with poravipe which means "violation" and "rape", a term which some Roma consider to be an offensive. Balkan Romani activists prefer the term Samudaripen ("mass killing"), first introduced by linguist Marcel Courthiade. Hancock dismisses this word, arguing that it does not conform to Romani language morphology
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

. Some Ruska Roma
Ruska Roma
The Ruska Roma , also known as Russian Gypsies , are a subgroup of Romani people, the biggest Romani group of Russia. Initially were known as Xaladitka Roma...

 activists offer the emotive term Kali Traš ("Black Fear"). Another alternative that has been used is Berša Bibahtale ("The Unhappy Years"). Lastly, adapted borrowings such as Holokosto, Holokausto etc. are also occasionally used in the Romani language.

Linguistically, the term is composed of the verb root porrav- and the abstract-forming nominal ending -imos. This ending is of the Vlax Romani dialect, whereas other varieties generally use -ibe(n) or -ipe(n). For the verb itself, the most commonly given meaning is "to open/stretch wide" or "to rip open", whereas the meaning "to open up the mouth, devour" occurs in fewer varieties.

Recognition and remembrance

The German government paid war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

 to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but not to the Romani. There were "never any consultations at Nuremberg or any other international conference as to whether the Sinti and Roma were entitled like the Jews to reparations.” The Interior Ministry of Wuerttemberg argued that "Gypsies [were] persecuted under the Nazis not for any racial reason but because of an asocial and criminal record." When on trial for his leadership of Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

 in the USSR, Otto Ohlendorf
Otto Ohlendorf
Otto Ohlendorf was a German SS-Gruppenführer and head of the Inland-SD , a section of the SD. Ohlendorf was the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe D, which conducted mass murder in Moldova, south Ukraine, the Crimea, and, during 1942, the north Caucasus...

 cited the massacres of Romanis during the Thirty Years War as a historical precedent.

West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 recognised the genocide of the Roma in 1982, and since then the Porajmos has been increasingly recognized as a genocide committed simultaneously with the Shoah. The American historian Sybil Milton wrote several articles arguing that the Porajmos deserved recognition as part of the Holocaust. In Switzerland, a committee of experts investigated the policy of the Swiss government during the Porajmos.

Formal recognition and commemoration of the Roma persecution by the Nazis is practically difficult due to the lack of significant collective memory
Collective memory
Collective memory refers to the shared pool of information held in the memories of two or more members of a group, and was coined by the philosopher and sociologist Maurice Halbwachs. Collective memory can be shared, passed on and constructed by groups both small and large...

 and documentation of the Porajmos among the Roma, a consequence both of their oral traditions and their illiteracy, heightened by widespread poverty and discrimination that forces some Roma out of state schools. One UNESCO report put the illiteracy rate among the Roma in Romania at 30 percent, as opposed to the near universal literacy of the Romanian public as a whole. In a 2011 investigation of the state of the Roma in Europe today, Ben Judah, a Policy Fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations
European Council on Foreign Relations
The ' is the first pan-European think tank. Launched in October 2007, its objective is to conduct research and promote informed debate across Europe on the development of coherent and effective European values based foreign policy....

, traveled to Romania and Transylvania. Nico Fortuna, a sociologist and Roma activist, explained the distinction between Jewish collective memory of the Shoah
Shoah
Shoah may refer to:*The Holocaust*Shoah , documentary directed by Claude Lanzmann * A Shoah Foundation...

and the Roma experience:

There is a difference between the Jewish and Roma deportees...The Jews were shocked and can remember the year, date and time it happened. The Roma shrugged it off. They said, 'Of course I was deported. I'm Roma; these things happen to a Roma.' The Roma mentality is different from the Jewish mentality. For example, a Roma came to me and asked, 'Why do you care so much about these deportations? Your family was not deported.' I went, 'I care as a Roma' and the guy said back, 'I do not care because my family were brave, proud Roma that were not deported.'

For the Jews it was a total and everyone knew this - from bankers to pawnbrokers. For the Roma it was selective and not comprehensive. The Roma were only exterminated in a few parts of Europe such as Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and France. In Romania and much of the Balkans, only nomadic Roma and social outcast Roma were deported. This matters and has an impact on the Roma mentality.



Ian Hancock has also observed a reluctance among Roma to acknowledge their victimization by the Third Reich. The Roma "are traditionally not disposed to keeping alive the terrible memories from their history - nostalgia is a luxury for others." The impact of the illiteracy, the lack of social institutions and the rampant discrimination faced by Roma in Europe today have produced a people who, according to Fortuna, lack a "national consciousness...and historical memory of the Holocaust because there is no Roma elite."

Acts of commemoration

The first memorial commemorating victims of the Romani Holocaust was erected on May 8, 1956, in the Polish village of Szczurowa
Szczurowa
Szczurowa is a village in Brzesko County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Szczurowa. It lies approximately north of Brzesko and east of the regional capital Kraków....

 commemorating the Szczurowa massacre
Szczurowa massacre
The massacre in Szczurowa was the murder of 93 Romani people , including children, women and the elderly, by German Nazi occupiers in the Polish village of Szczurowa on August 3, 1943. Between ten and twenty families of settled Romani had lived in Szczurowa for generations, alongside ethnic Poles...

. Since 1996, a Gypsy Caravan Memorial is crossing the main remembrance sites in Poland, from Tarnów via Auschwitz, Szczurowa and Borzęcin Dolny, gathering the Gypsies and well-wishers in the remembrance of the Porajmos. Several museums dedicate a part of their permanent exhibition to that memory, like the Museum of Romani Culture in Czech Republic and the Ethnographic Museum in Tarnów. However some political organisations still try to block the building up of memorials near former concentration camps, as shows the debate around Lety and Hodonin
Concentration camps Lety and Hodonín
The concentration camp in Lety was a World War II internment camp for Romani people from the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on July 10, 1942.- Background :...

 in Czech Republic.

On October 23, 2007, Romanian President Traian Băsescu
Traian Basescu
Traian Băsescu is the current President of Romania. After serving as the mayor of Bucharest from June 2000 until December 2004, he was elected president in the Romanian Presidential Elections of 2004 and inaugurated on December 20, 2004...

 publicly apologized for his nation's role in the Porajmos, the first time a Romanian leader has done so. He called for the Porajmos to be taught in schools, stating that, "We must tell our children that six decades ago children like them were sent by the Romanian state to die of hunger and cold". Part of his apology was in the Romani language
Romani language
Romani or Romany, Gypsy or Gipsy is any of several languages of the Romani people. They are Indic, sometimes classified in the "Central" or "Northwestern" zone, and sometimes treated as a branch of their own....

. Băsescu also awarded three Porajmos survivors with an Order for Faithful Services. Before recognizing Romania's role in the Porajmos, Traian Băsescu
Traian Basescu
Traian Băsescu is the current President of Romania. After serving as the mayor of Bucharest from June 2000 until December 2004, he was elected president in the Romanian Presidential Elections of 2004 and inaugurated on December 20, 2004...

 was widely quoted after an incident on May 19, 2007, in which he insulted a journalist by calling her a "stinky gypsy." The president subsequently apologized.

On January 27, 2011, Zoni Weisz
Zoni Weisz
Zoni Weisz is a Sinto Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands working in the Dutch floral industry.Weisz was the oldest of four children of Jacoba and John Weisz from Zutphen, Netherlands. In May 1944, the family was ordered by the Nazis to be deported to the Westerbork concentration camp with...

 became the first Roma guest of honour at Germany's official Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day or Holocaust Remembrance Day may refer to one of several commemorations of the Holocaust.-See also:* United Nations Holocaust Memorial* List of Holocaust memorials and museums...

 ceremony. Dutch born Weiz escaped death during a Nazi round-up when a policeman allowed him to escape. Nazi injustices against the Roma were recalled at the ceremony, including that directed at Sinto
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

 boxer Johann Trollmann.

Depiction in films

In 2009, Tony Gatlif
Tony Gatlif
Tony Gatlif is a French film director of Romani ethnicity who also works as a screenwriter, composer, actor, and producer.- Biography :...

, a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 of Romani ethnicity, directed a film Korkoro
Korkoro
Korkoro is a 2009 French drama film written and directed by Tony Gatlif, starring French actors Marc Lavoine, Marie-Josée Croze and James Thiérrée. The film's cast were of many nationalities such as Albanian, Kosovar, Georgian, Serbian, French, Norwegian, and the nine Romanies Gatlif found in...

, which bases an anecdote by the historian Jacques Sigot. The film traces a gypsy, Taloche's, escape from the Nazis, with help from a French notary Justes, and later, his inability to lead an immobile non-nomadic life. While it is not known if the French notary, Justes, really existed, the character Théodore in the movie is inspired by him. The film's other main character, Mademoiselle Lise Lundi, is inspired by the schoolteacher Yvette Lundy, who used to work in Gionges, La Marne. The film was shot in Loire
Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

, Monts du Forez, Rozier-Côtes-d'Aurec
Rozier-Côtes-d'Aurec
Rozier-Côtes-d'Aurec is a commune in the Loire department in central France.-See also:*Communes of the Loire department...

 and Saint-Bonnet-le-Château
Saint-Bonnet-le-Château
Saint-Bonnet-le-Château is a commune in the Loire department in central France.-References:*...

. The 1988 Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 film And the Violins Stopped Playing
And the Violins Stopped Playing
And the Violins Stopped Playing is a 1988 movie depicting a real story about a group of Romani people who are forced to flee from the persecuting forces of the Nazis at the height of the Porajmos , during World War II.-Synopsis:...

 also has Porajmos as its subject, although this has been criticised for showing the killing of Roma as a method of removing witnesses to the killing of Jews.

The emergence of race pseudo-science and industrialization

In the late 19th century, the emergence of race pseudo-science and state-sponsored modernization sparked Germany’s anti-Romani policy. During this time, “the concept of race was systematically employed to explain social phenomena.” Scientific racial analysis and Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

 linked social difference to racial difference. This approach validated the idea that different races were not variations of a single species, but instead were of different biological origin. The emergence of race pseudo-science established a scientifically-backed racial hierarchy, which othered minority groups on the basis of biology.

In addition to race science, the end of the 19th century was a period of state-sponsored modernization in Germany. Industrial development altered many aspects of society. Most notably, this period shifted social norms of work and life. For Roma, this meant a denial of their traditional way of being. Janos Barsony notes that “industrial development devalued their services as craftsmen, resulting in the disintegration of their communities and social marginalization.”

Persecution under the German Empire and Weimar Republic

The developments of racial pseudo-science and modernization resulted in anti-Romani state interventions, carried out by both the German Empire and Weimar Republic. In 1899, the Information Services on Gypsies by the Security Police was created in the Imperial Police Headquarters in Munich. Its purpose was to keep records (identification cards, fingerprints, photographs, etc.) and continuous surveillance on the Roma community. Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas, and depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies. By 1926, this ‘racial panic’ was transmitted into law. The Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy was enforced in Bavaria. It stipulated that groups identified as ‘Gypsies’ avoid all travel to the region. Those already living in the area were to “be keep under control so that there [was] no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land.” Herbet Heuss notes that “[t]his Bavarian law became the model for other German states and even for neighbouring countries.”

The demand for Roma to settle in a specific region was often the focus of anti-Gypsy policy of German Empire and Weimar Republic. Once settled, communities were concentrated and isolated in one area within a town or city. This process facilitated state-run surveillance practices and ‘crime prevention.’

Public policy increasingly targeted the Roma on the explicit basis of race following the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy. In 1927, legislation was passed in Prussia that required all Roma to carry identity cards. Eight thousand Roma were processed this way and subjected to mandatory fingerprinting and photographing. Two years later, the focus became ever more explicit. In 1929, the German state of Hussen proposed the Law for the Fight Against the Gypsy Menace. The same year the Centre for the Fight Against Gypsies in Germany was opened. This body enforced restrictions on travel for undocumented Roma and "allowed for the arbitrary arrest and detention of gypsies as a means of crime prevention.”

Legislation prior to Hitler’s rise to power was propelled by a rhetoric of racism. Policy based on the premise of “fighting crime” was redirected to “fighting a people.” Targeted groups were no longer determined by juridical grounds. Instead, they were victims of racialized policy.

Aryan racial purity

For centuries, Romani tribes were subject to antiziganist
Antiziganism
Antiziganism or Anti-Romanyism is hostility, prejudice or racism directed at the Romani people, also known as Gypsies.As an endogamous culture with a tendency to practise self-segregation, the Romanis have generally resisted assimilation with the indigenous communities of whichever countries they...

 persecution and humiliation in Europe. They were stigma
Social stigma
Social stigma is the severe disapproval of or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society.Almost all stigma is based on a person differing from social or cultural norms...

tized as habitual criminals, social misfits, and vagabonds
Vagabond (person)
A vagabond is a drifter and an itinerant wanderer who roams wherever they please, following the whim of the moment. Vagabonds may lack residence, a job, and even citizenship....

. Given the Nazi predilection for “racial purity”, the Roma were among their first victims. However, In the early days of Third Reich, the Romanies posed a problem for Hitler’s
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 racial ideologues: the Romani language
Romani language
Romani or Romany, Gypsy or Gipsy is any of several languages of the Romani people. They are Indic, sometimes classified in the "Central" or "Northwestern" zone, and sometimes treated as a branch of their own....

 is one of the Indo-Aryan languages
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

, originating in northern India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Nazi anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 realized that Romanies migrated into Europe from India and were thus descendants of the Aryan occupants of the subcontinent, thought at the time to have invaded India from Europe. In other words, the Romanies are native speakers of an Aryan language.

Huttenbach argues that the Nazis planned to eliminate the Romanis, one way or another, from as early as 1933; they announced on July 14, 1933, the goal of preventing lebensunwertes Leben ( see Life unworthy of life
Life unworthy of life
The phrase "life unworthy of life" was a Nazi designation for the segments of populace which had no right to live and thus were to be "euthanized". The term included people with serious medical problems and those considered grossly inferior according to racial policy of the Third Reich...

) from reproducing. The Department of Racial Hygiene and Population Biology began to experiment on Romanis to reach criteria for their racial classification.

Nazi racialist Hans F. K. Günther added a socioeconomic component to the theory of racial purity. While he conceded that the Romanies were, in fact, descended from Aryans, they were of poorer classes that had mingled with the various “inferior” races they encountered during their wanderings. This, he explained, accounted for their extreme poverty and nomadic lifestyle. While he conceded that there were some groups that were "purely Aryan", most Romanies posed a threat to Aryan homogeneity because of their racial mingling.

To study the problem further, the Nazis established the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit (Rassenhygienische und Bevölkerungsbiologische Forschungsstelle, Department L3 of the Reich Department of Health) in 1936. Headed by Dr. Robert Ritter
Robert Ritter
Robert Ritter, Ph. D. was a German psychologist and physician best known for his work related to the Roma people, that contributed to repressive measures against them....

 and his assistant Eva Justin, the body was mandated to conduct an in-depth study of the "Gypsy question (Zigeunerfrage)" and to provide data required for formulating a new Reich "Gypsy law". After extensive fieldwork in the spring of 1936, consisting of interviews and medical examinations to investigate genealogical and genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 data, it was determined that most Romanies posed a danger to German racial purity and should be eliminated. No decision was made regarding the remainder (about 10 percent of the total Romani population of Europe), primarily Sinti
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

 and Lalleri tribes living in Germany, though several suggestions were made. At one point Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

 even suggested the establishment of a remote reservation, where "pure Gypsies" could continue their nomadic lifestyle unhindered. According to him:
...The aim of measures taken by the State to defend the homogeneity of the German nation must be the physical separation of Gypsydom from the German nation, the prevention of miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

, and finally, the regulation of the way of life of pure and part-Gypsies.


Nine representatives of the Romani community in Germany were asked to compile lists of pure-blooded Romanies to be saved from extermination. However, these lists were often ignored and some who were named on them were still sent to concentration camps.

Loss of citizenship

On November 14, 1935, The Law for the "Protection of Blood and Honour", a supplementary extension to the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

, was passed. This law forbade Aryans to marry non-Aryans. Criteria defining who is Romani were exactly twice as strict as those defining any other group. The second Nuremberg law, The Reich Citizenship Law, stripped citizenship from "non-Aryans". Blacks and Romanies, like Jews, lost their right to vote on March 7, 1936.

Extermination

The persecution of the Roma by the Third Reich government began as early as 1936 when they began to be transferred to municipal internment camps on the outskirts of cities, a prelude to their deportation to extermination camps. Notable internment and concentration camps include Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Marzahn
Berlin-Marzahn concentration camp
Berlin-Marzahn Rastplatz was a camp set up for Romani people in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn by Nazi authorities.At 4 a.m. on 16 July 1936, prior to the opening of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, police began arresting all Romani people in Greater Berlin and forcibly relocated them to Marzahn, an open...

 (which evolved from a municipal internment camp) and Vennhausen.
The Society for Threatened Peoples
Society for Threatened Peoples
Society for Threatened Peoples is an international NGO and human rights organization based in Göttingen, Germany. It seeks to create awareness of and protect minority peoples around the world who are threatened by oppressive governments. The group states on its website that it "campaigns against...

 estimates the casualties at 277,100. Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert
Sir Martin John Gilbert, CBE, PC is a British historian and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history...

 estimates a total of more than 220,000 of the 700,000 Romani in Europe, including 15,000 (mainly from the Soviet Union) in Mauthausen in January–May 1945. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum cites scholars that estimate the number of Sinti and Roma killed to lie between 220,000 and 500,000. Dr. Sybil Milton, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Research Institute, estimated the number of lives lost as "something between a half-million and a million-and-a-half".
They were herded into ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

s, including the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

 (April–June, 1942), where they formed a distinct subclass. Ghetto diarist Emmanuel Ringelblum speculated that Romanies were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto because the Germans wanted:
...to toss into the Ghetto everything that is characteristically dirty, shabby, bizarre, of which one ought to be frightened, and which anyway has to be destroyed.
Initially there was disagreement about how to solve the "Gypsy Question." In late 1939 and early 1940, Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

, the General Governor of occupied Poland, refused to accept the 30,000 German and Austrian Roma which were to be deported. For his "ethnic reservation," Heinrich Himmler "lobbied to save a handful of pure-blooded Roma," but was opposed by Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

, who favored deportation for all Roma. The debate ended in 1942 when Himmler signed the order marking the beginning of the mass deportations to Auschwitz.
The Nazi persecution of Roma varied from country to country and region to region. In France, between 3,000 and 6,000 Roma were deported to Dachau, Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, and other camps. Further east, in the Balkan states and the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen were SS paramilitary death squads that were responsible for mass killings, typically by shooting, of Jews in particular, but also significant numbers of other population groups and political categories...

, mobile killing squads, travelled from village to village massacring the inhabitants where they lived and typically leaving little to no records of the number of Roma killed in this way. In few cases, significant documentary evidence of mass murder was generated. Timothy Snyder notes that in the Soviet Union alone there were 8,000 documented cases of Roma murdered by the Einsatzgruppen in their sweep east. In return for immunity from prosecution for war crimes, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski stated at the Einsatzgruppen Trial
Einsatzgruppen Trial
The Einsatzgruppen Trial was the ninth of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone in Germany in Nuremberg after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S...

 that 'the principal task of the Einsatzgruppen of the S.D.
Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst , full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS, or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The organization was the first Nazi Party intelligence organization to be established and was often considered a "sister organization" with the...

 was the annihilation of the Jews, Gypsies and Political Commissars
Political commissar
The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

.' Roma in Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 were killed by the local collaborating auxiliaries. Notably, Roma in Denmark and Greece were not as intensely hunted as those in the Baltics. Bulgaria and Finland, although allies of Germany, did not cooperate with the Porajmos, just as they did not cooperate with the Shoah
Shoah
Shoah may refer to:*The Holocaust*Shoah , documentary directed by Claude Lanzmann * A Shoah Foundation...

.

On December 16, 1942, Himmler ordered that the Romani candidates for extermination should be deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

. To the Romani people of Europe, this order was equivalent to the January 20 decision of that same year, made at the Wannsee Conference
Wannsee Conference
The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews, that Reinhard Heydrich...

, at which Nazi bureaucrats decided on the “Final Solution
Final Solution
The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

” to the “Jewish problem”. Himmler then ordered, on November 15, 1943, that Romanies and "part-Romanies" were to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps.”

Sybil Milton has speculated that Hitler was involved in the decision to deport all Romanies to Auschwitz, as Himmler gave the order six days after meeting with Hitler and Himmler had prepared for the meeting a report on the subject Fuehrer: Aufstellung wer sind Zigeuner. Organized Jewish resistance
Jewish resistance
Jewish resistance may refer to:*Jewish Resistance Movement, a Jewish underground movement in Mandate Palestine*Jewish resistance under Nazi rule...

 occurred in nearly every large ghetto and concentration camp (Auschwitz, Sobibor
Sobibór
Sobibór is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Włodawa, within Włodawa County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It lies close to the Bug River, which forms the border with Belarus and Ukraine. Sobibór is approximately south-east of Włodawa and east of the regional capital...

, Treblinka, Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, among many others), and the Roma themselves similarly attempted to resist the Nazis' extermination. In Auschwitz, in May 1944, SS guards attempted to liquidate the gypsy family camp and were "met with unexpected resistance - the Roma fought back with crude weapons - and retreated." However, a few months later the SS succeeded in liquidating the camp, and ultimately 20,000 Roma were murdered in the camp.

Persecution in other Axis countries

Romanies were also victims of the puppet regimes that cooperated with the Third Reich during the war, especially the notorious Ustaše
Ustaše
The Ustaša - Croatian Revolutionary Movement was a Croatian fascist anti-Yugoslav separatist movement. The ideology of the movement was a blend of fascism, Nazism, and Croatian nationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the River Drina and to the border...

 regime in Croatia. In Jasenovac concentration camp
Jasenovac concentration camp
Jasenovac concentration camp was the largest extermination camp in the Independent State of Croatia and occupied Yugoslavia during World War II...

, along with Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 and Jews, tens of thousands of Romanies were killed. Yad Vashem estimates that the Porajmos was most intense in Yugoslavia, where around 90,000 Romanies were killed. The Ustashe government also deported around 26,000; Serbian Romanies are parties to the pending Class action suit against the Vatican Bank and others
Class action suit against the Vatican Bank and others
Alperin v. Vatican Bank is a class action suit by Holocaust survivors against the Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order filed in San Francisco, California on November 15, 1999...

 currently pending in U.S. Federal Court seeking return of wartime loot.

The governments of some Nazi German allies, namely Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, also contributed to the Nazi plan of Romani extermination, but this was implemented on a smaller scale and most Romani in these countries survived, unlike those in Ustaše Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 or in areas directly ruled by Nazi Germany (such as Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

). The Hungarian Arrow Cross
Arrow Cross Party
The Arrow Cross Party was a national socialist party led by Ferenc Szálasi, which led in Hungary a government known as the Government of National Unity from October 15, 1944 to 28 March 1945...

 government deported between 28,000 and 33,000 Romanies out of a population estimated between 70,000 and 100,000.

Similarly, the Romanian government of Ion Antonescu
Ion Antonescu
Ion Victor Antonescu was a Romanian soldier, authoritarian politician and convicted war criminal. The Prime Minister and Conducător during most of World War II, he presided over two successive wartime dictatorships...

 had its own concentration camps in Transnistria
Transnistria
Transnistria is a breakaway territory located mostly on a strip of land between the Dniester River and the eastern Moldovan border to Ukraine...

 to which 25,000 Romani people were deported, of whom 11,000 died. According to eyewitness Mrs. de Wiek, Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...

, a notable Jewish Holocaust victim is recorded as having witnessed the prelude to the murder of Romani children at Auschwitz: "I can still see her standing at the door and looking down the camp street as a herd of naked gypsy girls were driven by, to the crematory, and Anne watched them going and cried."

In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

, Romani internees were sent to the Lety and Hodonín concentration camps
Concentration camps Lety and Hodonín
The concentration camp in Lety was a World War II internment camp for Romani people from the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia on July 10, 1942.- Background :...

 before being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau for gassing. What makes the Lety camp unique is that it was staffed by Czech guards, who could be even more brutal than the Germans, as testified in Paul Polansky
Paul Polansky
Paul Polansky is an American author and activist working for the rights of the Roma people in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. He has also lived with Roma for the past ten years in Eastern Europe, collecting their oral histories and writing several books about their lives in the Czech republic and...

’s book Black Silence. The genocide was so thorough that the vast majority of Romani in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 today are actually descended from migrants from Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 who moved there during the post-war years in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. In Nazi-occupied France, between 16,000 and 18,000 were killed.

The small Romani population in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 was not subjected to mass killings by the Nazi occupiers, but classified as simply "asocial". Angus Fraser attributes this to "doubts over ethnic demarcations within the travelling population". The Romanis of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 were taken hostage and prepared for deportation to Auschwitz, but were saved by appeals from the Archbishop of Athens and the Greek Prime Minister.

Estimated losses by country

The following figures are from The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust.
Country Pre War Roma population Low Estimate High Estimate
Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

11,200 6,800 8,250
Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

600 350 500
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

(Bohemia & Moravia)
13,000 5,000 6,500
Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

1,000 500 1,000
France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

40,000 15,150 15,150
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

20,000 15,000 15,000
Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

? 50 50
Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

100,000 1,000 28,000
Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

25,000 1,000 1,000
Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

5,000 1,500 2,500
Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

1,000 500 1,000
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

200 100 200
Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

500 215 500
Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

50,000 8,000 35,000
Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

300,000 19,000 36,000
Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

80,000 400 10,000
Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

(Borders 1939)
200,000 30,000 35,000
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

100,000 26,000 90,000
Total 947,500 130,565 285,650



  • In a 2010 publication, Ian Hancock
    Ian Hancock
    Ian Hancock is a linguist, Romani scholar, and political advocate. He was born and raised in England, and is one of the main contributors in the field of Romani studies....

     stated that he agrees with the view that the number of Romanis killed has been underestimated as a result of being grouped with others in Nazi records under headings such as "remainder to be liquidated", "hangers-on" and "partisans". He notes recent evidence such as the previously obscure Lety concentration camp in the Czech Republic and Ackovic's revised estimates of Gypsies killed by the Ustashe as high as 80,000-100,000. These numbers suggest that previous estimates have been grossly underrepresented.

Medical experiments

Another distinctive feature of the Porajmos and the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 was the extensive use of human subjects in medical experiments. The most notorious of these physicians was Dr. Josef Mengele
Josef Mengele
Josef Rudolf Mengele , also known as the Angel of Death was a German SS officer and a physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He earned doctorates in anthropology from Munich University and in medicine from Frankfurt University...

, who worked in the Auschwitz concentration camp
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

. His experiments included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change eye color by injecting chemicals into children's eyes and various amputations and other brutal surgeries. The full extent of his work will never be known because the truckload of records he sent to Dr. Otmar von Verschuer at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute
The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science was a German scientific institution established in 1911. It was implicated in Nazi science, and after the Second World War was wound up and its functions replaced by the Max Planck Society...

 were destroyed by von Verschuer. Subjects who survived Mengele's experiments were almost always killed and dissected shortly afterwards.

He seemed particularly keen on working with Romani children. He would bring them sweets and toys, and would personally take them to the gas chamber. They would call him "Onkel Mengele". Vera Alexander was a Jewish inmate at Auschwitz who looked after 50 sets of Romani twins:

See also

  • Antiziganism
    Antiziganism
    Antiziganism or Anti-Romanyism is hostility, prejudice or racism directed at the Romani people, also known as Gypsies.As an endogamous culture with a tendency to practise self-segregation, the Romanis have generally resisted assimilation with the indigenous communities of whichever countries they...

  • Szczurowa massacre
    Szczurowa massacre
    The massacre in Szczurowa was the murder of 93 Romani people , including children, women and the elderly, by German Nazi occupiers in the Polish village of Szczurowa on August 3, 1943. Between ten and twenty families of settled Romani had lived in Szczurowa for generations, alongside ethnic Poles...

  • And the Violins stopped playing
    And the Violins Stopped Playing
    And the Violins Stopped Playing is a 1988 movie depicting a real story about a group of Romani people who are forced to flee from the persecuting forces of the Nazis at the height of the Porajmos , during World War II.-Synopsis:...

  • Korkoro
    Korkoro
    Korkoro is a 2009 French drama film written and directed by Tony Gatlif, starring French actors Marc Lavoine, Marie-Josée Croze and James Thiérrée. The film's cast were of many nationalities such as Albanian, Kosovar, Georgian, Serbian, French, Norwegian, and the nine Romanies Gatlif found in...


Further reading


External links

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