The persecution of he Roma and Sinti in the Netherlands.

The biggest group of Holocaust victims were the Jews, an estimated6 million were murdered between 1933 and 1945.

The second biggest group were the Gypsies (Roma and Sinti).

During World War II, it is estimated that more than 500,000 Sinti and Roma from all over Europe were murdered by the Nazis in what has come to be known as the Porajmos. Before the Second World War, approximately 4,500 Sinti and Roma lived in the Netherlands. From July 1943 Sinti and Roma were no longer allowed to travel in the Netherlands. On 16 May 1944, raids took place: 578 Sinti, Roma and were arrested by mainly Dutch police officers and taken to camp Westerbork.

Three days later, on 19 May 1944, 245 Sinti and Roma were deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Most had yet to turn 18. Only 31 of them would survive the war.

But as with the Jewish population, the persecution of the Roma and Sinti was gradual.

In addition to the compulsory registration of Jews in 1941, all Roma and Sinti also are requited to be registered. On March 29, 1943, the situation for the Roma and Sinti changes completely. The head of the SS and German police in the Netherlands, Hans Alvin Reuter, wants to put an end to ‘nomadic life’ in the Netherlands. About 335 Roma and Sinti horses are confiscated during roundups. The horses come into the ownership of the Wehrmacht or are sold by the Nazis to farmers.

Sinti and Roma had to live in assembly camps outside cities from 22 June 1943, such as near The Hague or Eindhoven. Ordered by the Nazis , the caravans were pulled together here and the Sinti and Roma concentrated. From that moment on, the Sinti and Roma were forced to live in the assembly camps or in a house.

The travel ban for Sinti and Roma , or the towing ban, was introduced on 1 July 1943. The wheels of the caravans were confiscated or had to be removed.

On May 14, a telegram arrives at the police presidents in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Arnhem and Groningen. According to the report, “all persons residing in the Netherlands, who possess the characteristic of gypsies, must be immediately transferred to camp Westerbork by personnel of the Dutch police”.

The national raid took place on 16 May 1944, carried out by members of the Marechaussee, land guards and the Dutch state police.

From all over the Netherlands, Roma, Sinti and caravan dwellers come by train to the Judendurchgangslager Westerbork. Registration takes place until well into the evening. Of the 578 arrested men, women and children, some are lucky. About 200 Roma and Sinti turn out not to meet the characteristics of a gypsy and are released. Also, 50 Roma and Sinti are allowed to leave the camp, because they are in possession of a neutral passport from Switzerland, Italy or Guatemala.

All property, money, jewelry, is taken under the guise that everything will be returned. Then follows the ‘medical examination’, ‘delousing’ and their hair is shaved off. About 245 Roma and Sinti, including at least 123 children, are locked up in a secluded barracks, destitute, bald and dismayed.

On Friday 19 May 1944 the 96th train transport with overcrowded wagons leaves Westerbork. This outgoing transport, which also includes the Roma and Sinti, was filmed by the Jewish filmmaker Rudolf Breslauer (1903-1945) on behalf of the camp commander Albert Gemmeker (1907-1982) and this recording is known as the ‘Westerbork film’. From this film comes the well-known photo of Settela Steinbach, the girl with the headscarf.

The long train consists of three parts. The front section with Jewish ‘prisoners’ has Bergen-Belsen as its destination, the rest of the train Auschwitz. In the rear carriages, the 245 Sinti and Roma are locked up with one bucket of water and one bucket to relieve themselves.

On May 21, 1944, the train transport arrives in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Dutch Roma and Sinti are registered, tattooed and brought to Lagerabschnitt B II, the Zigeunerlager. It is remarkable that the families in the Zigeunerlager are allowed to stay together. People quickly become aware of the mass murders, because the Zigeunerlager is located next to the crematorium. In the gypsy camp unimaginable unsanitary conditions prevail and many people die of typhoid fever, diarrhea or of starvation. Selections take place in the gypsy camp between the end of May and the beginning of July 1944 and many men and women are transferred to other concentration camps.

In connection with the expected arrival of large numbers of Hungarian Jews, all Roma and Sinti who remained behind with their children were taken from the Zigeunerlager in the night of 2 to 3 August 1944 and driven into the gas chambers. It is chaotic. The people, including children, understand what awaits them and yell “murderers” and “traitors” at their German guards. Their dead bodies are burned in the open, because the furnaces are out of order.

sources

https://www.brabantserfgoed.nl/page/11339/de-vervolging-van-brabantse-roma-en-sinti-tijdens-de-tweede

http://www.meeroverdeholocaust.nl/woordenlijst/sinti-en-roma

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Porajmos-The Roma Holocaust.

On 15 November 1943, Himmler ordered that Romani and “part-Romanies” were to be put “on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps”.

Between 1933 and 1945, Roma and Sinti in Europe were targets of Nazi persecution. Building on long-held prejudices, the Nazi regime viewed Roma as “a-socials” (outside “normal” society) and as racial “inferiors.” During World War II, the Nazis and their collaborators killed hundreds of thousands of Roma men, women, and children across German-occupied Europe.

Mass killings of Roma reached their pinnacle on July 31–August 2, 1944, when the Germans began the liquidation of the Zigeunerlager (“Gypsy camp”) at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Almost 3,000 Roma were put to death in this single operation.

Under the rule of Nazi Germany, the Roma were persecuted, detained and executed as part of the Holocaust. Roma call the Roma Genocide the Porajmos, which means the ‘Devouring’ in Romani language.

Drawing support from many non-Nazi Germans who harbored social prejudice towards Roma, the Nazis judged Roma to be “racially inferior.” The fate of Roma in some ways paralleled that of the Jews. Under the Nazi regime, German authorities subjected Roma to arbitrary internment, forced labor, and mass murder. German authorities murdered tens of thousands of Roma in the German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Serbia and thousands more in the killing centers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The SS and police incarcerated Roma in the Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, and Ravensbrück concentration camps. Both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in the so-called Generalgouvernement, German civilian authorities managed several forced-labor camps in which they incarcerated Roma.

Under Adolf Hitler, a supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued on 26 November 1935, classifying the Roma as “enemies of the race-based state”.

Under the July 1933 sterilisation law, many Roma were sterilised against their will.

August 2nd is assigned Roma Holocaust Memorial day because on the night of 2nd August 1944, the remaining 2,897 Roma women, old men and children from the so called “Zigeunerlager” or “Gypsy” camp were killed in gas chambers. There were no Roma and Sinti survivors from Auschwitz concentration camp.

SS medical researchers assigned to the Auschwitz complex, such as SS Captain Dr. Josef Mengele, received authorization to choose human subjects for pseudoscientific medical experiments from among the prisoners. Mengele chose twins and dwarves, some of them from the Gypsy family camp, as subjects of his experiments. Approximately 3,500 adult and adolescent Roma were prisoners in other German concentration camps; medical researchers selected subjects from among the Roma incarcerated in Ravensbrück, Natzweiler-Struthof, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps for their experiments, either on site in the camps or at nearby institutes.

German military and SS-police units also shot at least 30,000 Roma in the Baltic States and elsewhere in the occupied Soviet Union, where Einsatzgruppen and other mobile killing units killed Roma at the same time that they killed Jews and Communists. In occupied Serbia, the German authorities killed male Roma in shooting operations during 1941 and early 1942. The total number of Roma killed in Serbia will never be known. Estimates range between 1,000 and 12,000.

In France, Vichy French authorities intensified restrictive measures against and harassment of Roma after the establishment of the collaborationist regime in 1940. In 1941 and 1942, French police interned at least 3,000 and possibly as many as 6,000 Roma, residents of both occupied France and unoccupied France. French authorities shipped relatively few of them to camps in Germany, such as Buchenwald, Dachau, and Ravensbrück.

Robert Ritter was a German racial scientist doctor of psychology and medicine, with a background in child psychiatry and the biology of criminality. In 1936, Ritter was appointed head of the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit of Nazi Germany’s Criminal Police, to establish the genealogical histories of the German Gypsies, both Roma and Sinti, and became the architect of the experiments Roma and Sinti were subjected to. His pseudo-scientific “research” in classifying these populations of Germany aided the Nazi government in their systematic persecution toward a goal of “racial purity”.

Roma woman with German police officer and Nazi psychologist Robert Ritter

Sometimes known as the “Forgotten Holocaust,” the Roma Genocide was excluded from the history of World War II for decades after the end of the war. There were no Roma witnesses at the Nuremberg Trials.

The genocide of Roma people wasn’t formally recognised until 1982. Until then, the West German government denied that Roma were subjects of racially motivated persecution. Instead, it was insisted that Roma were imprisoned for their ‘asocial’ and ‘criminal’ characteristics, allowing the government to avoid responsibility for racial discrimination and compensation for genocide.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/genocide-of-european-roma-gypsies-1939-1945

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/victim-of-nazi-medical-experiments

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-medical-experiments

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/what-roma-genocide

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Arthur Nebe—Responsible For At Least 45,000 Deaths

There are some in Germany and in other countries who portray all of those involved in the 20 July plot as heroes. I believe this is a misinterpretation. Firstly they are not heroes because they did not succeed, and secondly, there were quite a few of them who had no issues with the Nazi policies but had more of an issue with Adolf Hitler.

Arthur Nebe was one of the plotters. He was to lead a team of 12 policemen to kill Himmler, but the signal to act never reached him. After the failed assassination attempt, Nebe fled and went into hiding.

Prior to this part in the plot, Nebe rose through the ranks of the Prussian police force to become head of Nazi Germany’s Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizei; Kripo) in 1936, which was amalgamated into the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) in 1939.

In an August 1939 speech, he defined crime as “a recurring disease on the body of the people.” This disease was supposedly passed hereditarily from criminals and “asocial individuals” to their children. In the Nazi state, asocials were people who behaved in a way considered outside of social norms. The category included people identified as vagabonds, beggars, prostitutes, pimps, and alcoholics; the arbeitsscheu (work-shy); and the homeless. This category also included Roma. The Nazi regime viewed Roma as behaviorally abnormal and racially inferior. Defining crime as a disease connected to certain groups radicalized Kripo’s practice.

Kripo officials from the KTI developed early techniques to gas people en masse. In October 1939, Nebe instructed the KTI to experiment with methods of killing people with mental and physical disabilities. This effort was conducted in cooperation with the Euthanasia Program. A KTI chemical engineer and toxicology expert, Albert Widmann, tested possible killing methods. He ultimately suggested carbon monoxide gas. In the fall of 1941, Widmann helped create gas vans. The vans used carbon monoxide gas generated from exhaust fumes.

Planners of Operation Reinhard killing centers adopted this development. At Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, large motor engines were used to generate carbon monoxide gas for the gas chambers.

In 1941 during operation Barbarossa, Nebe volunteered to serve as the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B, one of the four mobile death squads of the SS. During Nebe’s tenure, this deadly unit was responsible for the mass murders of 45,000 people in the areas around Bialystok, Minsk, and Mogilev. Many of these victims were Jews. Nebe was not forced to take control of this Unit, he volunteered.

In July 1941, Arthur Nebe reported that a “solution to the Jewish problem” was “impractical” in his region of operation due to “the overwhelming number of the Jews”, as in there were too many Jews to be killed by too few men. By August 1941, Nebe came to realize that Einsatzgruppe’s resources were insufficient to meet the expanded mandate of the killing operations, due to the inclusion of Jewish women and children since that month. This mean, seem to some as a person with a conscience, but the only reason he said these things, is not because he didn’t want to kill more Jews, he said it because he did feel he didn’t have enough men to do the job. Just let that train of thought sink in for a minute.

In late 1941, Nebe was posted back to Berlin and resumed his career with the RSHA. Nebe commanded the Kripo until he was denounced and executed after the failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

Nebe was arrested in January 1945 after a former mistress betrayed him. He was sentenced to death by the People’s Court on 2 March and, according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on 21 March 1945 by being hanged with piano wire from a meat hook, in accordance with Hitler’s order that the bomb plotters were to be “hanged like cattle.”

sources.

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-july-20-1944-plot-to-assassinate-adolf-hitler

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-nazi-kripo-criminal-police-1

Painting for Mengele.

Painting

When you look at some bizarre connections in History, you cannot escape the fact that life sometimes has a ironic way of weaving a tapestry of coincidences.

One of Hitler’s favourite movies was the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” released in 1937.

Disney

One of the main animators of the movie was Art Babbitt. an animator who joined the Disney studio in 1932. He  was born to a Jewish family in Omaha, Nebraska.

But that’s not where this tapestry of coincidences,or even fate, stops.

Dina Gottliebová was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia on January 21, 1923 .She was raised by her Mother, Johanna Schawl, a lone parent . Her mother had left Dina’s father when she was only 4 months old.

When Snow white and the Seven dwarfs was released, Dina must have seen the movie at least 7 times.

In 1939, when the Germans invaded her homeland, Dina was living in Prague, where she had enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1942  Dina’s mother received a summons that the Jews were being moved. Dina  left school and volunteered to be shipped out with her mother to , Theresienstadt, in Czechoslovakia.

Thersien

She was actually sent to Theresienstadt on Jan. 21, 1942, her 19th birthday. Dina and her mother stayed there until Sept. 7, 1943 when they were among 5,000 people transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

In 1944, while in Auschwitz, Dina was chosen by Mengele to draw portraits of Roma Gypsy prisoners .Mengele wished to capture the Roma’s skin coloration better than he could with camera and film at that time. Dina agreed if her own mother’s life were spared as well,Mengele agreed.

One of the people she painted was called Celine. Dina says of painting her muse back in 1944.

“She was very sad and I said, ‘Are you sick?’”  “Celine  said, ‘My baby just died.’ It was a 2-month-old baby and she couldn’t get anything to feed the baby and didn’t have any milk. And Celine couldn’t eat anything. We had black bread with something in it—too much bran or something that made people sick—and I said, ‘Well, can I help with something?’ She said, ‘You can get some white bread.’”

Dina asked Mengele for some white bread. He delivered and Dina sneaked it to Celine, but unfortunately Celine did not survive the death camp. (I believe the portrait below is of Celine but I could not verify it, But it is definitely one of Dina’s paintings)

celine portarit

Both Dina and her Mother survived the Holocaust.Dina moved to the US after the war.

However this is not where this tapestry of life stops. There was to be one more twist to Dina’s life. On April 27,1949, Dina married Art Babbitt. The man who was the main animator of the movie she had watched so many times.

Their marriage didn’t last though. They got divorced in 1963. Dina died aged 86 on July 29,2009, in Santa Cruz California

Donation

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Sources

Goodtimes.sc

The Jewish News of Northern California

IMDb.

 

 

 

The Sea water experiments-Evil Science.

sea water

In 1798 the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was published by he English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The most famous line of the poem is “Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.”

There are several theories in relation to the inspiration of the poem but the above mentioned line refers to the fact that one or more sailors were stranded in the ocean without any fresh water. Indicating that although there was an abundance of water, it was not fir for human consumption. Because drinking sea water can lead to dehydration among other ailments and eventually to death.

This knowledge did not stop Dr. Hans Eppinger and Dr. Wilhelm Beiglböck.

From July 1944 to September 1944, experiments were carried out at the Dachau concentration camp to see if it was possible to the viability of make sea water fit for consumption.Another goal  was to see if the prisoners would suffer any severe physical symptoms or death within a period of 6–12 days.

At one stage ,a group of roughly 90 Roma prisoners were deprived of food and given nothing but sea water to drink.Witnesses reported that the test subjects  had been seen licking the floors they had mopped in an attempt to get some water. Sometimes chemicals were added to the water to eliminate the salty taste

Many of the subjects who received  sea water ended up suffering excruciating torture, diarrhea, convulsions, hallucinations, foaming at the mouth, and in most cases, madness or death.

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Mechelen transit camp-The logistics.

Mechelen-SS-Sammellager_-_Dossin_Casern

I know the title may seem a bit disrespectful but it is not meant that way, it was the only way I felt I could describe it.

In the summer of 1942, the Nazis made preparations to deport the Jews of Belgium. They converted the Dossin de St. Georges military barracks in the city of Mechelen (Fr., Malines) into a transit camp. Mechelen, a city of 60,000, was considered an ideal location for this purpose. Located halfway between Antwerp and Brussels, two cities which contained most of the Jewish population of Belgium, the city had good rail connections to the east.

800px-Breendonk071

At the start of the war, the population of Belgium was overwhelmingly Catholic. Jews made up the largest non-Christian population in the country, numbering between 70–75,000 out of a population of 8 million. Most lived in the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège. The vast majority were recent immigrants to Belgium who had fled persecution in Germany and Eastern Europe, and, as a result, only a small minority actually possessed Belgian citizenship.

Shortly after the invasion of Belgium, the Military Government passed a series of anti-Jewish laws in October 1940. The Belgian Committee of Secretary-Generals refused from the start to co-operate on passing any anti-Jewish measures and the Military Government seemed unwilling to pass further legislation. The German government began to seize Jewish-owned businesses and forced Jews out of positions in the civil service.

Proclamation_about_Jews_in_German-occupied_Belgium

The first group of Jews arrived in the camp Mechelen from Antwerp on July 27, 1942. Between August and December 1942, two transports with about 1,000 Jews each left the camp every week for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Between August 4, 1942, and July 31, 1944, a total of 28 trains carrying 25,000+ Jews left Mechelen for Poland; most of them went to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Below is a breakdown of the transports, the logistical numbers.I usually don’t like the statistics but if you see the numbers from a relatively unknown and small deportation centre it is just staggering.

Transports from Mechelen to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Deported people per age (above and below 15 years old) and gender. All were Jewish people, with the exception of Transport Z in 1943.

Transports Date Men Boys Women Girls Total
Transport 1 4 August 1942 544 28 403 23 998
Transport 2 11 August 1942 459 25 489 26 999
Transport 3 15 June 1942 380 48 522 50 1000
Transport 4 18 August 1942 339 133 415 112 999
Transport 5 25 August 1942 397 88 429 81 995
Transport 6 29 August 1942 355 60 531 54 1000
Transport 7 1 September 1942 282 163 401 154 1000
Transport 8 10 September 1942 388 111 403 98 1000
Transport 9 12 September 1942 408 91 401 100 1000
Transport 10 15 September 1942 405 132 414 97 1048
Transport 11 26 September 1942 562 231 713 236 1742
Transport 12 10 October 1942 310 135 423 131 999
Transport 13 10 October 1942 228 89 259 99 675
Transport 14 24 October 1942 324 112 438 121 995
Transport 15 24 October 1942 314 30 93 39 476
Transport 16 31 October 1942 686 16 94 27 823
Transport 17 31 October 1942 629 45 169 32 875
Transport 18 15 January 1943 353 105 424 65 947
Transport 19 15 January 1943 239 51 270 52 612
Transport 20 19 April 1943 463 115 699 127 1404
Transport 21 31 July 1943 672 103 707 71 1553
Transport 22a 20 September 1943 291 39 265 36 631
Transport 22b 20 September 1943 305 74 351 64 794
Transport 23 15 January 1944 307 33 293 22 655
Transport Z 15 January 1944 85 91 101 74 351
transport 24 4 April 1944 303 29 275 18 625
transport 25 19 May 1944 237 20 230 21 508
transport 26 31 July 1944 280 15 251 17 563
Total August 1942 – July 1944 10,545 2,212 10,463 2,047 25,267

Transport Z was designated for Roma

Of the 25.267 deported only 1240 survived

Statue_20th_convoy

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Sources

United States Holocaust Museum

Wikipedia Belgium