Why did the Nazis persecute Roma?

0 0
  • image-0-thumb
Karl Stojka

Karl Stojka was born on 20 April 1931. He was the fourth of six children born to Roman Catholic Gypsy parents in a small village in eastern Austria. The family lived in a horse-drawn caravan.

In March 1938, the Germans marched into Austria. The Stojka family and all of the other gypsies were ordered to remain where they were. Karl’s parents converted their caravan into a wooden house. 

In 1943 Karl’s family were deported to the gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In August 1944, they were sent to Buchenwald. On arrival Karl was about to be sent back to Auschwitz-Birkenau. However, his brother and uncle insisted that he was 14, so he was allowed to stay.

After being deported to the Flossenburg, he was liberated by American troops on 24 April 1945.

Racially undesirable

Roma (Gypsies) had long been persecuted in Germany, as they were throughout Europe.

Nazi ideology judged Roma to be racially ’undesirable’. They  were not part of a well-ordered society as they were nomadic and did not have regular work. In addition, they had their own customs and dialect.

As early as 1935 the Nazis began rounding up Roma and holding them in camps.

In much the same way that the Nuremburg Laws formalised the Nazi treatment of Jews within Germany. Himmler issued, in 1938, ‘The Struggle against the Gypsy Plague’. As it’s name suggests, this directive was intended to formalise the Nazi treatment of Gypsies across Germany. By 1939 many thousands had been sent to concentration camps.

The Nazis saw Roma as a racial enemy who should be identified and killed. During the war hundreds of thousands from across Europe were murdered.  Ten of thousands were killed by during Einsatzgruppen aktions within eastern Europe, whilst many thousands more were rounded up and sent to the Nazi death camps within Poland.

The notorious Dr Josef Mengele selected many Roma twins for horrific experiments at Auschwitz-Birkenau.