Did you know?
- On July 14, 1933, the racial theory was finally adopted by the laws of the Third Reich. The notion of “unworthy life” had a significant influence in the Nazi race policy.The “Gypsies”, whose place in the system was not easy to determine because of their Aryan descent, were generally considered “asocial” and were consequently seen as an “asocial race”, in the absence of a better criterion.
- The systematic murder of Roma started in the summer of 1941, caused by the German assault on the USSR. As “accomplices” and “spies” of “Jewish Bolshevism” thousands of Roma fell victim to mass executions by the SS “Einsatzgruppen” (task forces) who, assisted by the army, murdered them behind the front. Contrary to the actions taken in Germany, the police’s main concern in most areas were the travelling, “racially pure” and “endogamous Gypsies” who, as a mobile population, corresponded best to the image of spies.
- Because of the ideological contradictions, the persecution of “Gypsies” was carried out in a far less coordinated way than that of the Jewish population. For instance, several Roma were still in the army in 1943, even though that very army was involved in the Roma genocide in the East, and even though thousands had already been killed in concentration camps. These members of the army were deported directly from the front to Auschwitz, sometimes even with medals of honour.
Consult the Roma history factsheets