The holocaust was not only about Jewish people

When you read about the Holocaust consideration is mainly given to anti-semitism.  Added is often the information that “millions of others” were also killed. In reality Nazi racism extended to Roma and Sinti people, (Gypsies, as they are otherwise known).  In the former Czechoslovakia 90% of the Roma and Sinti people were murdered, and those left have tried for many years to get reparations, but have been ignored by government officials and museum boards, who seem to assume that the murders were somehow unconnected with the Jewish holocaust.

A letter dated 10 March 1944, signed by Himmler, expressed the goal of genocide against Romani and Jewish people in brutally bureaucratic language.  Roma victims were, like Jewish victims, deported to concentration and death camps, Auschwitz included.

The fact is that the Roma holocaust is not only forgotten, but anti-Romani racism is very common, even in England where in the recent election the Tory Party manifesto outlined a pledge to “seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorized encampments”, a promise aimed at Gypsy and  Roma communities.  On the Continent there is a rise in the numbers of murders of Romanies. A Roma holocaust survivor is quoted as saying, “ I’m afraid that Europe is forgetting its past and thatAuschwitz is only sleeping”.   (Prospect magazine March 2020).

My comment: My family had its run-ins with the “travelers” (as the Gypsies used to be called in England), but the worst that happened was that our hens and our toys disappeared at night – the culprits had nothing;  we were fortunate.  While we feared them, nothing excuses the treatment they have had over many years from racists and bigots.  More should be done to given them constructive alternatives to the wandering life.

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