32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide

32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide

Jacob Miller - July 28, 2017

The Romani genocide, known as the Porajmos, was the planned and attempted effort, during World War II by the Nazi German government to exterminate the Romani, Gypsy, people from Europe.

In 1899, the Imperial Police Headquarters in Germany established the Information Services on Romani by the Security Police, purposed to keep records and continuous surveillance on the Roma community. Romani were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas. They were considered criminals and spies.

In 1926, the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy were enforced in Bavaria and became a national norm three years later. The law forbade Gypsy clans from traveling to the area, and those already living there were to be “kept under control so there [was] no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land.” Those unable to prove regular employment could be sent to forced labor camps.

When Hitler rose to power in 1933, the anti-Gypsy laws remained in effect. Many Romani were arrested under the Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals. Legislation based on ‘fighting crime’ became redirected a racialized policy of ‘fighting against people.’ A supplemental decree to the Nuremberg Laws, the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor and the Rich Citizenship Law, was issued on November 26, 1935, defining the Romani as “enemies of the race-based state,” in the same category as the Jews.

Nazi persecution of the Romani began in 1936 when they began transferring the people to municipal internment camps on the outskirts of cities. The Nazis then sent them to the concentration camps Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Marzahn and Vennhausen. Initially, there was disagreement about how to solve the “Gypsy Question.” Heinrich Himmler, commander of the Schutzstaffel (SS), ‘lobbied to save a handful of pure-blood Roma,’ as established by the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit, whom he believed to be an ancient Aryan people fit for ‘ethnic reservation.’ He was opposed by Martin Bormann, the Chief of the Party Chancellery, who believed that all the Romani should be deported. The debate ended on December 16, 1942, when Himmler signed the order to begin the mass deportations of Romani to Auschwitz and Treblinka. They were given brown/back triangle identification patches.

The Nazis in France, the Balkan states, and the Soviet Union sent Einsatzgruppen, Mobile Killing Squads, from village to village, massacring the Jews and Gypsies.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Research Institute estimates that between a half-million and a million-and-a-half, 50% of the entire Romani population, were murdered by the Nazis.

32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Roma (Gypsies) in front of their tents. Romania, 1936-1940. Bundesarchiv
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
A photographer with a group of nomadic Roma (Gypsies). Probably Czechoslovakia, 1939. — US Holocaust Memorial Museum
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Nomadic Roma (Gypsies). Czechoslovakia, 1939. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Roma (Gypsies) near Uzhgorod, Slovakia. Czechoslovakia, 1938. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) family near Craiova. Romania, probably 1930s. Library of Congress
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) women and child. Romania, 1930s. Library of Congress
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Two Roma (Gypsies) photographed near Craiova. Romania, probably early 1930s. Library of Congress
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Two Romani (Gypsy) artisans. Ploesti, Romania, 1930s. Library of Congress
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
German troops round up Romani in Asperg, Germany in May 1940. Wikipedia
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani woman with German police officer and Nazi psychologist Dr. Robert Ritter. Wikipedia
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
A man works outside his family’s dwelling in a Roma encampment in the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands. October/November 1940. Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) women boil laundry and hang it to dry in the middle of the caravan camp at Marzahn. Germany, June 1936. Landesarchiv Berlin
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
German police guard a group of Roma (Gypsies) who have been rounded up for deportation to Poland. Germany, 1940-1945. — US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lydia Chagoll
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) families in Belzec labor camp. Poland, 1940. — Archiwum Dokumentocji Mechanizney
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) women march to work in the Lackenbach internment camp. Lackenbach, Austria, 1940-1941. — Bundesministerium fuer Inneres, Wien, Archiv des Oeffentlichen Denkmal

32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
View of barracks in the Lety internment camp. Lety, Czechoslovakia, wartime. — Museum of Romani Culture
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
1) Romani (Gypsy) children play outside at the Jargeau internment camp. The camp was established in response to a German order in October 1940 calling for the arrest and confinement in camps of all Frenchmen or foreigners in the Loiret region who did not have a permanent residence. Jargeau, France, 1941-1945. – Centre de recherche et de documentation sur les camps
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
1) Roma (Gypsies) remove bodies from the Iasi-Calarasi death train during its stop in Tirgu-Frumos. Two trains left Iasi on June 30, 1941, bearing survivors of the pogrom that took place in Iasi on June 28-29. Hundreds of Jews died on the transports aboard crowded, unventilated freight cars in the heat of summer. Romania, July 1, 1941. — Serviciul Roman De Informatii
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
A Serbian gendarme serving the Serbian puppet government led by Milan Nedia escorts a group of Roma (Gypsies) to their execution. Yugoslavia, ca. 1941-1943. — Muzej Revolucije Narodnosti Jugoslavije
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
View of the entrance to the Gypsy camp on Brzezinska Street in the Lodz ghetto. Lodz, Poland, 1942. Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
A Romani (Gypsy) victim of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater safe to drink. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, 1944. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
A Romani (Gypsy) victim of Nazi medical experiments to make seawater safe to drink. Dachau concentration camp, Germany, 1944. National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Deportation of Romani (Gypsy) families from Vienna to Poland. Austria, between September and December 1939. Dokumentationsarchiv des Oesterreichischen Widerstandes
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Forced-labor camp for Roma (Gypsies). Lety, Czechoslovakia, wartime. Sovfoto: Eastfoto
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Marzahn, the first internment camp for Roma (Gypsies) in the Third Reich. Germany, date uncertain. Landesarchiv Berlin
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Nazi police round up Romani (Gypsy) families from Vienna for deportation to Poland. Austria, September-December 1939. Dokumentationsarchiv des Oesterreichischen Widerstandes
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Roma (Gypsies) being deported to Kozare and Jasenovac, both Croatian concentration camps. Yugoslavia, July 1942. Muzej Revolucije Narodnosti Jugoslavije
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) inmates at forced labor in Ravensbrueck concentration camp. Germany, between 1941 and 1944. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) prisoners line up for roll call in the Dachau concentration camp. Germany, June 20, 1938. KZ Gedenkstaette Dachau
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Romani (Gypsy) women and children interned in the Rivesaltes transit camp. France, spring 1942. US Holocaust Memorial Museum
32 Photographs of Porajmos, the World War II Romani Gypsy Genocide
Identification pictures of a Romani (Gypsy) woman interned in the Auschwitz camp. Poland, ca. 1944. Federation Nationale des Deportes et Internes Resistants et Patriots

 

Sources For Further Reading:

European Roma Right Center – Germany’s Policies Toward Sinti And Roma: Living Apartheid?

European Roma Right Center – Being A “Gypsy”: The Worst Social Stigma In Romania

Yesterday UK – Outsiders In Nazi Germany

National WWII Museum – The Bavarian Precedent: The Roma in European Culture

Encyclopedia Britannica – The Einsatzgruppen And Their Fellow Mobile Killers

Richard Rhodes – Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust – Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month

Time Magazine – The Persecution of the Roma Is Often Left Out of the Holocaust Story. Victims’ Families Are Fighting to Change That

Aljazeera – Roma Holocaust: Amid Rising Hate, ‘Forgotten’ Victims Remembered

United Nations – Forgotten Victims: The Nazi Genocide of the Roma and the Sinti

History of Yesterday – The Holocaust Victims We Don’t Talk About

DW – Himmler’s ‘Auschwitz decree’ to exterminate Roma and Sinti

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