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Innocent Victims, Forgotten Souls Essay

1518 words - 6 pages

The main victims of genocide during the Holocaust were the Jewish; however, they were not the only ones. Gypsies, also known as the Roma, also made up a large portion of the casualties that occurred in concentration camps. This innocent group of people, who move from place to place, who listened to different music and had different morals and beliefs, were also victims of the mass genocide led by Adolf Hitler. They were targeted and seen as “unhygienic, antisocial nuisances” (Tarr) and were a threat to the Nazis’ ideal German society. And since the Nazis thought they must do something about the Gypsies, this is what they did, all starting in 1899 (Rosenburg): they pinned each gypsy down by making identification papers for each individual, categorizing them by hair and eye color and cranium size, fingerprinted each person, made family trees of the gypsy families, then forced them into settling permanently into flats causing them to sell their caravans and belongings, forcibly sterilizing some individuals, and eventually sending them to concentration camps and murdering them.
In 1899, Alfred Dillmann established the ‘Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance’ in Munich, Germany (Rosenburg). This act had people who were employed at this facility map out Gypsy movements throughout Germany and hunt the Gypsies down. When they found the Gypsies, each one over the age of six was fingerprinted, photographed, had his or her cranium measured, eye and hair color charted, and each official made sure to find out anything in each Gypsy’s background that had to do with criminality (Knudsen). This was the beginning of Gypsy profiling. The Nazi’s needed the Gypsies’ records, so that they could be located and have forms of identification. The Nazi’s knew that they Gypsy people were nomads and never stayed in one place too long; having this documentation would tell the Nazi officials who these people were, if they had a criminal history, and it was the beginning of controlling this ethnic group they were so concerned about. Gypsies were beggars and the Nazi government thought they must do something about this group of people (Tarr) before they were to become an even bigger nuisance to Germans.
After this, Nazis started forcing other laws onto the Gypsies to keep them in one place and from having more children. In 1922, Gypsies were made to carry special identification papers with them at all times (Rosenburg). In 1926, Gypsies were obligated to provide proof of valid employment, meaning they could hold a job and perform at their workplace efficiently. Gypsies over the age of 16 who could not provide this proof were sent to workhouses for two years as a punishment (Rosenburg). As time passed, the Gypsies were increasingly victimized by the Nazi government and Germans. Every freedom that humans could ever possibly have was taken away from the Gypsies, a little at a time, and since Gypsies had a bad reputation, very few people came quickly to their...

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