17 March 2008

Gypsies, The Forgotten Holocaust

The women were sterilised as they were not considered worthy of reproducing. Later, began what was termed the “destruction of useless lives”. In all of occupied Europe the “gypsy hunt” was effected, first in 1939 and later in 1941 and 1943. The extermination of five to six hundred thousand nomads was carried out mostly in Polish camps.

In reality, the persecution of the Children of the Wind started before the Nazis came to power, with laws to control the “gypsy plague” from 1926. Two years later, the surveillance became permanent. “Eugenic sterilisation” was imposed in 1933, mixed marriages prohibited in 1934-35 and finally the first concentration camps of Dachau in 1936.

In the autumn of 1939, there were massive deportations. In February 1940 in Buchenwald, the Nazis tested Zyklon B on 200 gypsy children. In Ravensbruck, pseudo-scientific operations were carried out on the gypsies. That policy spread to all of occupied Europe. According to the Nazis, half the gypsy population of Europe was annihilated. And an additional tragedy: the gypsy victims were not even mentioned in the Nuremberg trials.

It is time to pay homage to the gypsy victims who were among the most implacable members of the Resistance. Very soon, this free and proud people understood the fate reserved for them. They immediately united with the clandestine fight which the Dutch historian, Jan Yoors called the “secret war of the gypsies”. Hardened and astute, they used a thousand stratagems to hoodwink the Nazis, carrying messages or transporting arms and explosives. Many fugitives were saved thanks to the gypsies. Many of the “terrorist” attacks against the Hitlerite enemy were carried out by them.

In 1945, the Nazis, cornered, still perpetrated multiple massacres against the gypsy prisoners in the German camps. On the night of 31 July 1944 alone, 20,000 gypsies were exterminated in Auschwitz. On August 1, an official of the SS in Auschwitz wrote, after sending the gypsies to the gas chambers, “mission accomplished, special treatment carried out”. In Dachau, they were killed the same day or the day after they arrived, simply because they were born gypsies.

The resistance members who survived did not get to enjoy, after the war, the promise of social integration made to them. Some European countries kept them imprisoned for months. They did not find anyone to defend them or even remember the disappeared. The gypsy people suffered in silence, crying through their flamenco songs.

France: Traditionally, the settled population distrusted the nomads. From 1912, the travelling population was assigned an anthropometric card that they had to produce while entering or leaving towns. The Vichy government hardened the policy and from the autumn of 1940, interned the gypsies in concentration camps in Argeles-sur-Mer and Barcares in the eastern Pyrenees, camps initially created to receive Spanish and Jewish refugees. About 3,000 gypsies were interned in the French camps between 1940 and 1946.

A single camp was created exclusively for the nomads in 1942, Saliers. Three hundred nomads had to pile up in small houses with electricity. The fate of the people was especially difficult and obviously could not go to school. With change of clothes, they were covered in rags. The camp was closed in July 1944. Those who survived the inferno kept the memory of the camp alive but there is no trace of it in the place where it was located.

Like the Jews, the gypsies were victims of the Nazi ideology, of a racist policy that tried to achieve pure German blood and create a space for greater Germany freed from impure elements. Not a voice to defend the cause of the discriminated, sterilised, persecuted, exploited and exterminated gypsies.

No memory, no compensation, no commemoration. Nothing. Absolute emptiness. Absolute ostracism.

Source: Vamos a Cambiar El Mundo

1 comment:

redjade said...

'Not a voice to defend the cause of the discriminated, sterilised, persecuted, exploited and exterminated gypsies.'

You make this sound like something from the past.

'Prosecution of Slovak Romany women's sterilisations halted

The Slovak Regional Prosecutor's Office has again halted prosecution in the case of alleged illegal sterilisations of Romany women in east Slovakia. The prosecution had already been halted once, but the Constitutional Court decided to re-open the case last year. "The new investigation confirmed that the sterilisations were performed with the women's free and informed consent," according to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office. The decision cannot be appealed, but the damaged women can turn to the Constitutional Court again. The Advisory Centre for Civic and Human Rights association pointed to some 140 cases of allegedly unlawful sterilisations performed in the hospitals in Presov, Gelnica and Krompachy, east Slovakia.'