The „Gypsy camp“ at Auschwitz-Birkenau

As the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp, the concentration camp complex near the Polish city of Oświęcim (Auschwitz) has become a symbol of the suffering and death of more than a million men, women and children from all over Europe. The extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where predominantly Jews, Roma and Sinti were murdered, played a crucial role in the systematic mass murders committed by the Nazis. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis imprisoned various groups of people in different sections of the camp. In section B-II-e, there was a gypsy family camp from spring 1943 to summer 1944, in which about 23,000 European Roma and Sinti and others, categorized by the Nazis as racial gypsies and gypsy half-breeds, were imprisoned.1

The line of action the German Nazis chose against the Roma and Sinti was prepared and defined in the German Reich, based on Nazi racial science and put into practice through various political measurements, culminating in mass murder in concentration and extermination camps. The decree on the battle against the gypsy plague, issued by the commander of the SS and police, Heinrich Himmler on 8 December 1938, regulated the solution to the gypsy question in the Reich on a racial basis. From May 1940 on, the first deportations of German Roma and Sinti from the Reich into the territory of occupied Poland took place, where the Nazis imprisoned them in various camps and ghettos (for example in Łódź). Alongside the preparation and implementation of the final solution to the Jewish question, conditions were gradually created for the last stage of the final solution to the gypsy question. The final decision on the fate of the Roma and Sinti not only in Germany, but in the whole of Nazi-controlled Europe was published on December 16, 1942, when Himmler issued the so-called Auschwitz decree (Auschwitz-Erlass). This decree and its implementing directives issued by the Reich Security Head Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) on January 29, 1943, ordered the deportation of gypsy half-breeds, gypsies-Roma and non-German members of gypsy tribes of Balkan origin to the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp on former Polish territory annexed to the Reich.

An extended version of the text, including all sources, is available here.

Next chapter: Establishment and spacial organization of the camp




In the following text, the term gypsy is used as a historic term hat, depending on the circumstances, can mean different categories of people. Although the term has often been used sinonimously to Roma and Sinti, it also referred to all other persons considered gypsies for any reason.


  • Holý, Dušan and Nečas, Ctibor. Žalující píseň. O osudu Romů v nacistických koncentračních táborech. Brno: Ústav lidové kultury, 1993. 151 p.

  • Kenrick, Donald and Puxon, Grattan. Cikáni pod hákovým křížem. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Oloumoci, 2000. 179 p.

  • Kladivová, Vlasta. Konečná stanice Auschwitz-Birkenau. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Oloumoci, 1994. 125 p.

  • Kubica, Helena and Setkiewicz, Piotr. The Last Stage of the Functioning of Zigeunerlager in Birkenau camp (May – August 1944). In: Memoria. Memory – History – Education. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 2018.

  • Lhotka, Petr, Schuster, Michal and Závodská, Milada. Svaz Cikánů-Romů 1969–1973. Doprovodná publikace k výstavě Muzea romské kultury „Svaz Cikánů-Romů (1969–1973) – z historie první romské organizace v českých zemích“. Brno: Muzeum romské kultury, 2009. 27 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Aušvicate hi kher báro. Čeští vězňové cikánského tábora v Osvětimi II - Brzezince. Brno: Masarykova univerzita v Brně, 1992. 247 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Českoslovenští Romové v letech 1938-1945. In: Spisy Filozofické fakulty Masarykovy univerzity v Brně. Brno: Masarykova univerzita v Brně, 1994.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Dininy podobizny Romů. Romano džaniben. 2000, no. 7/2000, p. 68-76.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Holocaust českých Romů. Praha: Prostor, 1999. 173 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Nemůžeme zapomenout. Našti bisteras. Nucená táborová koncentrace ve vyprávěních romských pamětníků. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Oloumoci, 1994. 244 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Špalíček romských miniatur. Brno: Centrum pro studium demokracie, 2008. 123 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Židovští lékaři v cikánských táborech. Romano džaniben. Praha: 2000, no. 1-2, p. 58-61.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Cikánský tábor v Auschwitz-Birkenau a jeho nejmladší vězňové. Časopis matice moravské. 1994, no. 113, p. 171-178.

  • Rose, Romani. Nacistická genocida Sintů a Romů. Katalog ke stálé výstavě ve Státním Muzeu v Osvětimi. Praha: Romano džaniben, 2009. 323 p.

  • Sadílková, Helena, Schuster, Michal and Závodská, Milada. Holocaust Romů jako „neznámý“ nebo „zapomenutý“. Dějiny a současnost. Praha: Lidové noviny, 2015, no. 9, p. 30–34.

  • Schuster, Michal. Genocida Romů v českých zemích a její reflexe. Romano voďi. Praha: Romea, 2012, vol. X, no. 10, p. 10-13.

  • Steinbacher, Sybille. Auschwitz. Geschichte und Nachgeschichte. Mnichov: Beck, 2015. 128 p.

  • Talewicz-Kwiatkowska, Joanna. Resistance and Survival of the Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In: Roma Resistance during the Holocaust and in its Aftermath. Collection of working papers. Budapešť: 2018, p. 103-129.

  • Zimmermann, Michael. Rassenutopie und Genozid. Die nationalsozialistische Lösung der Zigeunerfrage. Hamburg: Christians, 1996. 547 p.

Facebook group
CC Write author-do not use 3.0 Czech (CC BY-NC 3.0)

The Terezin Initiative Institute The Jewish Museum in Prague
Our or foreign Europe for citizens anne frank house Joods Humanitair Fonds
Claims Conference
Foundation for holocaust victims Investing to the development of education Bader
Nux s.r.o.