Photo courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Museum: Identification collage

The Holocaust is one of the most horrifying and devastating events to happen in history. Approximately 11 million people are reported to have been murdered during the Holocaust. Of that 11 million 6 million are reported to be Jewish. This website will attempt document some of the stories of the other 5 million people who were killed during this time who may not have gotten the same attention. 

The Forgotten: Roma

Photo courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Museum: Antonina Donga 16 y.o Roma girl

The Roma people are often referred to as Gypsies are a Semi-nomadic group. The Roma people who lived in Czechoslovakia and were horse traders suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany. Beginning in 1933 Nazi officers began to forcibly relocate the Roma people to detention centers on the outskirts of cities. And as the war progressed this act grow and occurred in multiple places like Austria, Moravia and other cities as well.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Museum: Unidentified Roma Prisoners

The Nazis defined Roma as racially inferior, and their fate paralleled that of the to Jewish population. And most countries of occupied Europe, Roma were interned and deported to death camps. 5,000 Austrian Roma were sent to the Lodz ghetto and then were deported to Chelmno.

In the Soviet Union, Poland and some Balkan countries, units of the SS, police and German army killed as many as 200,000 Roma. Thousands more were imprisoned in concentration camps.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Holocaust Museum: Unidentified Roma Man

It is estimated that 23,000 Roma were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau A separate camp was set up for them. And it is reported that the conditions in the camp were deplorable. Almost all the Roma were gassed, work until to death or died from disease in the camp. Children were the targets of inhumane medical experiments. 

And on August 2, 1944 the “Gypsy Family Camp” was closed and all of the remaining people in the facility were sent to gas chambers.  

The Forgotten: Homosexual Victims

Photo courtesy of Holocaust : Unidentified Prisoners

Homosexual victims are another rarely talked about group that have been forgotten in the history of the Holocaust. Identified with a Pink triangle to further humiliate the victims. Homosexual were subjected to extremely harsh work assignments. 

As part of their attempt to purify Germany the Nazis created specific forces to locate, prosecute and detain those who identified as gay.

It is estimated that 10,000 people were killed because of their sexual orientation. 

Most were native to Germany and Austria and if they weren’t killed they suffered in the work camps. 

The Forgotten: Afro-Germans

Two survivors at Dachau. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Merle Spiegel

Afro-Germans were discriminated against long before the beginning of the Holocaust. Most are the offspring of Black -French soldiers and German woman. Blacks were segregated socially and also found it virtually impossible to secure gainful employment. Leaving most in poverty. 

During the rise of Nazi power Blacks were kicked out of schools and universities. And were also illegally sterilized. 

It has been reported that Nazi soldiers were particularly cruel to Blacks. But sparred them from the gas chamber. Instead making sure worked until they died. No known figure is available for the estimation of black deaths during the Holocaust. 

The Forgotten: Final Thoughts

My experience visiting the United States Holocaust experience was a life changing experience. I believe I had a strong and deep understanding of the causation and suffering of the victims. It is an event that I thought I had a firm grasp on. I was wrong. My time at the museum and through class interviews I learned of the groups of people who were killed that I had never heard of. And I immediately knew this is my way of disrupting the system. It is powerful to speak up for people can not do it themselves. It is powerful to be a source of information and education. And this my way of disrupting the system. By never being silent again. 

The Forgotten: Resources