The Persecution of Roma and Sinti in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia

Next to the Jews, the Nazis also persecuted Roma and Sinti, whom they categorized as racial gypsies and gypsy half-breeds on basis of their racial ideology. In both cases, the persecution was based on prejudices held by people all over Europe that had been maintained and nurtured for centuries. For most Europeans, anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism were integral parts of their general view of the world. For many Europeans, this is still true today.

The persecution of Roma and Sinti in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (below just Protectorate) built upon the practices of the first Czechoslovak Republic and was gradually transformed into the openly racist policy the Nazis pursued also elsewhere. People officially labelled as gypsies were discriminated by restrictive laws and regulations, mostly adopted from the Reich, which were put into practice by officials and police officers. An important part of the persecution was the forced concentration of people labeled gypsies and gypsy half-breeds, in special concentration camps officially called gypsy camps. The subsequent mass murder of those considered racial gypsies and gypsy half-breeds took place in the Gypsy camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau and was almost completed in other concentration camps and their branches, or on death marches from those camps shortly before the end of WWII.

Behind this austere summary hides a long and complex process of persecution, torture and murder of individual people – innocent victims, but also the decisions and actions of individual perpetrators, who participated in these events by initiating them, deciding on them, implementing them, agreeing with them or just silently watching bystanders. This text aims to describe the development of the policy of persecution of people described as gypsies during the Protectorate and thus to contribute to the understanding of the general principles of human behavior leading to genocide.

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

Next chapter:  Defining victims

List of used archival sources and literature:

Archival sources:

Moravský zemský archiv [Moravian Land Archives]

  • B 124, Krajský národní výbor Brno [Regional National Committee Brno], III. manipulace [III. manipulation]:

  • - box 1871, inv. no. 1536 – Cikáni (1942–1951) [Gypsies (1942–1951)]

Státní oblastní archiv v Třeboni [State Regional Archives in Třeboň]

  • CT Lety [Gypsy camp Lety]:

  • - box 3, inv. no. 38 – Vyhláška Okresního úřadu Písek o soupisu cikánů vydaná dne 17. 7. 1942 [Decree of the District Office in Písek on the census of gypsies issued on 17 July 1942]

  • - box 14, inv. no. 75 – Změny stavu, propuštění z cikánského tábora, seznamy zemřelých [Changes in the number of prisoners, releases from the gypsy camp, death lists]

  • - box 20, inv. no. 83, osobní spisy muži [personal files men]

  • - box 23, inv. no. 96 – Epidemie tyfu [Typhus epidemic]


Laws and regulations:


  • Rickmann, Anahid S. „Rassenpflege im völkischen Staat“. Zum Verhältnis der Rassenhygiene zur nationalsozialistischen Politik. Bonn: Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn, 2002.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Romové na Moravě a ve Slezsku (1740-1945). Brno: Knižnice Matice moravské, 2005. 475 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Romové v České republice včera a dnes. 3rd ed. Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, 1999. 132 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. Holocaust českých Romů. Praha: Prostor, 1999. 173 p.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Andŕoda taboris. Tragédie protektorátních cikánských táborů v Letech a v Hodoníně. Brno: 1995.

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

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Nad osudem českých a slovenských Cikánů 1939-1945. Brno: Univerzita J. E. Purkyně v Brně, 1981. 180 p.

  • Schmidt, Zilli. Gott hat mit mir etwas vorgehabt! Erinnerungen einer deutschen Sinteza. Berlin: Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, 2020.

  • Serinek, Josef, Tesař, Jan and Ondra, Josef. Česká cikánská rapsodie. Praha: Triáda, 2006.

  • Memorial book: The Gypsies at Auschwitz-Birkenau = Księga Pamięci: Cyganie w obozie koncentracyjnym Auschwitz-Birkenau = Gedenkbuch: Die Sinti und Roma im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau: The gypsies at Auschwitz-Birkenau. München: Saur, 1993.

  • Váša, Pavel and Trávníček, František. Slovník jazyka českého. Praha: Fr. Borový, 1937.

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

  • Benz, Wolfgang, Distel, Barbara and Königseder, Angelika. (Hg.): Ort des Terrors. Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, Bd. 8. München: 2008.

  • Aly, Götz. Die restlose Erfassung: Volkszählen, Identifizieren, Aussondern im Nationalsozialismus. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2000.

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