The Nazi Plan to Exterminate the Gypsies
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
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The Nazis’ plan, as far as I understand it, was to get rid of groups viewed as inferior or impure, or somehow socially undesirable. So, Communists and homosexuals were targeted for that reason. Gypsies were viewed as impure and undesirable people: inferior, lesser human beings. In fact, they were defined as people not worthy of living. They weren’t—they not only were not Aryan, they were unworthy people as a group, and so the whole group was targeted as something as society doesn’t need to have. They don’t contribute to anything; they’re useless; in fact, they’re detrimental. And so they were part of the overall plan: and because they were the earliest group targeted, in a way, they were kind of an experiment for the later extermination of the Jews.
The records on Gypsies from the Nazi period are not as good as the records on the Jewish extermination; also, the research done on that is not as thorough, so we know less about that. I think they were targeted as an early group because there are no records on them. They don’t appear in census data: as you know, the Germans keep good records, and they kept good records of Jewish exterminations. But they really—the records on the Gypsies are very, very patchy, and a number of researchers have been trying to find that information out. In fact, research is going on today on that, but we don’t have good information on that. And what we do know is they were very early in being targeted, and that a number were killed before even concentration camps were put together. So there are records from concentration camps, but records before the concentration camps are either nonexistent or we can only make sort of guesstimates.