Why were they targeted?


-This photo was taken from The USHMM gallery. These are lists of the registered papers of The Roma and Sinti before the Holocaust. They used this lists to record names and blood type along with relatives and marriages. This was later used to track down Gypsy people to send to concentration camps.

The Nazis were not the first to target The Romani. The Roma and Sinti people have seemingly faced a long history of persecution as they have traveled across Europe. I believe a part of this is much ado to the fact of the matter being their unique lifestyles. When they first came to Europe, they were not allowed to join the craftsmen or merchant guilds since they were not Christian and were not familiar to The European people. Perhaps, their persecution has not ended as even in recent times, they have been made spectacle by shows such as TLC’s show about gypsy life. Throughout their history, many Roma and Sinti people have served their lives as entertainers and have drawn attention to themselves and their exotic lifestyles. Because of their lifestyle, many Romani rejected any type of state power which caused them to become a political target. This became evident when laws began restricting them during The Weimar Republic. It was when Hitler took rule, that he drafted an idea for a pure and perfect Aryan race, that The Roma and Sinti really became targeted because they did not fit the image that Hitler’s view projected. Their exotic lifestyles, made them appear to be asocial to The Nazis and deemed their blood as impure. The Nazis worked hard to ensure that the public understood of the grotesque meaning of their impurity and convinced the other people that the Roma and Sinti were being targeted because the threat they presented to society. I believe that because the Roma were targeted with other a social groups such as the homeless, drug addicts, criminals, hobos, and beggars, that many civilians did not question the improper treatment of these people. I also think this may lead to why not much attention was drawn to the dramatic loss of these people; because society had already labeled them as different and peculiar long before Hitler ever gained into power. I understand that The Jewish people also had a history of being labeled as peculiar as well but I also think their remembrance is reinforced by their larger population of members compared to The Romani. It was easy to convince people to target an already ostracized group and Hitler took advantage of this opportunity and mobilized the Nazi party to aim to rid the world of this minority. The Romani, like The Jews, were easy scapegoats due to their not being Christian and seen as “different”. His aims were to not spare a single “Gypsy” life and to conduct sham medical experiments to prove their inferior status.