Gypsy Prisoners in the Holocaust
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Yes, the Gypsies were held prisoner in the usual camps, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. They were—we have records of Gypsies being exterminated there. There were also special camps for the Gypsies. In Czechoslovakia, for example, there is a camp—it’s a memorial site today, but it’s a—there was a camp that the Czech government used specifically for Gypsies. So Gypsies were rounded up and put in a separate camp, and we really don’t know how many Gypsies died in that camp; but when Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, the Czech authorities set up a camp for Gypsies, under German orders, and many, many Czech Gypsies were exterminated in the thousands. So that existed in some areas, and then they were—Gypsies were in some of the regular camps. They often were put segregated into their own quarters, though; and they were used for medical experiments, so they would go to the medical section and be used as experiments of a separate race. They were viewed as a separate race, which is not really true, but they were viewed that way. And so the medical experiments that went on were—they had photographs of them, front and side, and you know, measuring cranial and that kind of stuff, that the medical—German Nazi doctors were doing on a number of groups.
They were given diseases. They were the same medical experiments that were used with other prisoners, you know, homosexuals and Jews. So, you know, that was one section of the concentration camp program was to actually do some sort of physical measurement and looking at disease and doing surgery, experimental surgery and so on. Gypsies were subject to that.