The Nizkor Project

50 Years of Silence

History and Voices
of the Tragedy in Romania and Transnistria

The Fate of the Roma (Gypsies)

Nazi racist ideology demanded the destruction of all whom they considered "inferior races." This ideology resulted in the annihilation of several hundred thousand Roma during the war. They were gassed, shot and butchered just like the Jews.

Aside from being an "inferior race", the Roma were also accused of the same "crimes" as the Jews: stubbornly fighting to maintain their traditions, clans and lifestyle.

Throughout history, discrimination and prejudice have tainted the image of the Roma. In reality, the Roma of Europe were wonderful craftsmen and masterful fiddlers; a people who cherished freedom and thrived on dance, music and laughter even under the harshest of circumstances.

According to Martin Gilbert's Atlas of the Holocaust, before the war, there were about 36,000 Roma in Romania. They were appreciated for their mystical whimsical characteristics, and for their talents displayed in the little musical bands playing old Romanian and Yiddish folk songs. They were also admired for their picturesque and exotic lifestyle. Nazi racist philosophy resulted in their deportation to Transnistria. Most of them perished, in the camps at Nikolaev and Tiraspol.

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