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Gypsies, Homosexuals and Disabled in the Holocaust

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Amber Cruz

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of Gypsies, Homosexuals and Disabled in the Holocaust

Gypsies were descendants of India that came from several different groups
The name Gypsy stemmed from the
that they were Egyptians.
They spoke Romani, a foreign language in Europe at the time
They were nomadic, non-Christians and people didn't understand their way of life, which, in turn, led to suspicions, fears, rampant speculations, stereotypes and biased stories.

were non-gypsies that tried to kill them off
Decrees, laws and mandates often allowed the killing of gypsies
In 1725, King Frederick William I of Prussia ordered all gypsies over the age of 18 years of age to be hanged
a practice of "Gypsy Hunting" was common; sort of like a game of fox hunting
Early History of Gypsies
Gypsies in the Holocaust
The persecution of Gypsies began with the Third Reich
In the beginning, gypsies were not specifically named as a group that threatened Aryan society
Under Nazi racial ideology, gypsies were Aryan
Professor Hans F. K. Gunther's book Rassenkunde Europas (Anthropology of Europe) stated:
The Gypsies have indeed retained some elements from their Nordic home, but they are descended from the lowest classes of the population in that region. In the course of their migrations, they have absorbed the blood of the surrounding peoples, and have thus become an Oriental... Their nomadic mode of living is a result of this mixture. The Gypsies will generally affect Europe as aliens.
Nazis had found a "scientific" reason to annihilate the gypsies, but now needed to determine who was "pure" gypsy and who was "mixed."
Dr. Ritter was hired as the head of newly established Racial Hygiene and Population Biology Research Unit
Dr. Ritter and his assistant, Eva Justin, and their research team visited the Gypsy concentration camps (Zigeunerlagers) and determined who was “pure” and who was not through photographs, interviews, documenting and finally categorizing them.
After his research, Dr. Ritter came to the conclusion that 90% of them were “unpure” and dangerous
Third Reich Continued
Dr. Ritter discussed creating a special reservation for them
This made many Germans unhappy because they wish to have all of the Gypsies killed with no exceptions
Though Nazis did not find a "scientific" reason to kill the 10% of Gypsies left over, no questions were asked when they were ordered to Auschwitz or deported to other death camps
By the end of the war, it is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were murdered in the Porajmos- killing approximately three-fourths of the German Gypsies and half of the Austrian Gypsies
What Happened to the 10% Left Over?
Gypsies, Homosexuals and Disabled During the Holocaust
By: Amber Cruz
Homosexuals in the Third Reich
Lesbians were not regarded as a threat to Nazi racial policies and were generally left alone
In 1934, the Gestapo instructed local police forces to keep lists of all men engaging in homosexual activities. They called these lists
“Pink Lists”
and used them to hunt down individual homosexuals during police actions
On June 28th, 1934, revisions were made to Paragraph 175 by the Ministry of Justice. The revisions provided a legal basis for extending Nazi persecution of homosexuals
October 26th, 1936, Himmler formed within the Secret Police,
The Reich Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality
Homosexuals in the Third Reich Cont.
Began in the Third Reich
Nazis believed Homosexuals were weak, effeminate men who could not fight for the German army
They were seen as useless and were considered a racial danger because they could not produce children and “diminished Germany’s reproductive potential.”
SS chief Heinrich Himmler directed the increasing persecution of homosexuals in the Third Reich

Prisoners marked by a pink triangle were treated harshly in the camps
Some survivors recall that Homosexuals were among the most abused
Homosexuals in the Third Reich Cont.
Police had the right to jail anyone they felt was a danger to Germany’s moral fiber without trial and homosexuals whom were released from jail could be immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if a police officer suspected they would resume their homosexual acts
Between 1933 and 1945
the police arrested an estimated 100,000 men
as homosexuals. Most of the 50,000 men sentenced by the courts spent time in regular prisons, and
between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps.
Disease That Can Be Cured
Some Nazis believed that Homosexuality was a disease that could be “cured” by humiliation and hard work
Guards ridiculed and beat Homosexuals upon their arrival, often seperating them from the other inmates
For some prisoners, sexuality came as means for survival
In exchange for a few sexual favors, some Kapos protected a chosen prisoner, usually of young age
They were given extra food
Shielded from harassment from other prisoners

In the End
One way of survival was castration, which some criminal justice officials advocated as a way of “curing” sexual deviance.
There are no known statistics for the number of homosexuals that died in the camps
Disabled During the Holocaust
The Nazi persecution of persons with disabilities in Germany was one component of radical public health policies aimed at excluding hereditarily “unfit” Germans from the National community
Strategies ranged from and began with sterilization and ended with mass murder
“Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases”
This law asked for the sterilization of all people with diseases considered hereditary
Mental Illnesses
Learning Disabilities
Physical Deformity
Severe Alcoholism
Euthanasia Program
Euthanasia means literally “good death”
Refers to the inducement of a “painless” death for a chronically or terminally ill individual
Also referred to the systematic killing of the institutionalized mentally or physically disabled
Ashes from cremated victims were taken from a common pile and placed in urns without regard for accurate labeling
One urn was sent to each victim’s family, along with a death certificate listing a fictive cause and date of death
The sudden death of thousands of institutionalized people, whose death certificates listed strangely similar causes and places of death, raised suspicions
Eventually the Euthanasia Program was an open secret

"Wartime is the best time for the elimination of the incurably ill"
Many Germans didn’t like to be reminded of the individuals who didn’t measure up to their concept of a “master race”
Physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as “useless” to society, threatened the purity of the Aryan society, and, essentially, unworthy of life
At the beginning of WWII, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the “T-4”
August 24, 1941: Hitler Officially Orders to End Euthanasia Killings
Mounting public criticism of the "euthanasia" killings prompts Adolf Hitler to order the end of the program. Gas chambers in the various "euthanasia" killing centers are dismantled. By this time,
about 70,000 German and Austrian physically or mentally impaired patients have been killed
. Although the "euthanasia" program is officially ended, the killing of physically or mentally impaired people continues in secret in individual cases.
August 3, 1941: Catholic Bishop Denounces Euthanasia
By 1941, the supposedly secret "euthanasia" program is generally known about in Germany. Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen of Muenster denounces the killings in a public sermon on August 3, 1941. Other public figures and clergy will also raise objections to the killings.
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