How many Romanians did the Nazis kill?

Jews were not the only ones the Nazis tried to exterminate in the Holocaust. Large numbers of Roma people in Europe ended their days in extermination camps where they were…

Jews were not the only ones the Nazis tried to exterminate in the Holocaust. Large numbers of Roma people in Europe ended their days in extermination camps where they were systematically murdered.

Roma people are vile and “enemies of a racially pure state”.
This is how the description of the Roma people sounded in a special decree that the Nazis added to their racial laws in Nuremberg in November 1935. With that, the Roma people were in fact placed in the same category as the Jews – and therefore systematically exterminated in the Holocaust.

At the beginning of World War II, most of the Roma in Germany were deported to Poland, where they were subjected to slave labor. Those who did not end their lives there were sent to extermination camps such as Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka.

The Nazis killed anyone who stood out

Jews and Roma were not the only victims of the Holocaust. The Nazis systematically killed any group that did not fit into their worldview of a racially pure Third Reich.


Death toll: 10,000 – 15,000.

In Hitler’s vision of a mighty German nation, there was no room for homosexuals who were hunted down, tortured and executed. In 1936, the Nazis created a state organization for the fight against homosexuality and abortion, which had the task of mapping and registering all homosexuals.

Disabled and mentally ill

Number of killed: About 250,000

People who were physically or mentally disabled polluted the Aryan race according to the Nazis. Therefore, a law was passed in 1933 that allowed the castration of all those who were considered to belong to this group. During the war, the Nazis carried out massive ethnic cleansing and killed around 250,000 people who were disabled or mentally ill.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Death toll: At least 1,500

Members of Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to recognize any authority other than God. They therefore did not want to declare loyalty to Hitler, nor join the Nazi Party or go to war for the Third Reich. Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses were therefore sent to extermination camps, where they wore a special bracelet with a purple triangle.

Others were sent to so-called gypsy camps where they died of hunger and disease while thousands of them were shot by death squads in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

According to a direct order from Heinrich Himmler, many Romanians – in the areas occupied by the Germans – were sent to the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau after December 1942. There they were used in drug experiments and killed with gas.

The genocide forgotten

Historians do not know for sure how many Romanians the Nazis killed during World War II. Most of them believe that the Germans and their allies killed up to 500,000 – 1.5 million Roma in Europe.

After the Second World War, these crimes against the Roma people were almost ignored and nothing was done about them.

Thousands of Roma people ended their days in extermination camps – including in Belzec.

This genocide played a small role in the trials against the Nazis, and the Roma people are not mentioned in the memorials to the victims of the Nazis.

The Nazi extermination of the Roma people – which historian Even Rosenhaft has called the “forgotten Holocaust” – was first officially recognized by West Germany in 1979.

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