The „Gypsy“-census (August 2, 1942)

In the summer of 1942, Roma and Sinti in the Protectorate found themselves facing a form of persecution targeting them only on the basis of race, regardless of all other circumstances. Crucial was the adoption of the decree on combating the gypsy plague by the Protectorate Minister of the Interior Richard Bienert on June 24, 1942, respectively its implementation order of July 10, 1942. The decree was issued by the commander-in-chief of the non-uniformed Protectorate Police Horst Böhme, whose office was assigned the agenda of combating gypsy plague in the Protectorate.1 Again, it was a measure that copied the German regulation of the same name, which had been in force in the Reich since the end of 1938.2 Among other things, the decree ordered a new official register of all people labelled as gypsies. A similar census of gypsies on the basis of the so-called Festsetzungserlass (decree on the permanent detention of gypsies on the spot) had taken place in the Reich already in October 1939.3


[CikanipostaveninarovenZidu.Venkov11.04.194237(86).s.2.jpg]

Ill. 3: Gypsies put on the same level with the Jews. In: Venkov. Orgán České strany agrární. [The Land. Organ of the Czech Agrarian Party], Prague, 11 April 1942, No. 37, p. 2.

 MZA_B124_KNV_Brno_III_man_kart1871_590.jpg MZA_B124_KNV_Brno_III_man_kart1871_592.jpg

Ill. 4: Title and first page of the order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Non-uniformed Protectorate Police of 10 July 1942 No. St I / II-17-100-78 Combating the gypsy plague.

Following the order on Combating the gypsy plague, protectorate gendarmerie and police in cooperation with the district and municipal authorities, registered all gypsies, gypsy half-breeds and people living in a gypsy according to the instructions of the German criminal police during 1 – 3 August, 1942. They prepared an extensive documentation on everyone, filled out questionnaires both in Czech and German, took photographs and fingerprints. Gendarmes and police officers were to pay special attention to the evaluation of all data on family background, going back three generations. All documents created during this process were to be handed over to the Center for criminal investigation in Prague. Specific instructions were given at a work meeting of the commanders of the criminal police departments, the commanders of gendarme stations and the commanders of detention camps taking place in Prague at the Center for criminal investigation, which was responsible for resolving the gypsy question in the Protectorate, on July 15, 1942. The documents were collected by the Reich Central Office for Combating the Gypsy Plague (Reichszentrale zur Bekämpfung des Zigeunerunwesens).4

The decision as to whether a person is a gypsy or a gypsy half-breed was left in the first instance to the individual police officers conducting the census. However, their decisions were preliminary.5 The Center for criminal investigation in Prague later made the final decision on „racial affiliation“ and thus on the fate of individuals. It took them several months to complete this process.

SoupiscikanuvProtektoratu.Lidovenoviny.Brno31.7.194250(pol.jpg

Ill. 5: Census of Gypsies in the Protectorate. In: Lidové noviny. [The people’s newspaper], Brno, July 31, 1942, No. 50 (noon edition), p. 2. 
 

Next chapter: Concentration in „gypsy camps“

Remarks

1:

Moravský zemský archiv [Moravian Land Archives], fund B 124, Krajský národní výbor Brno [Regional National Committee Brno], III. manipulation, box 1871, inv. n. 1536, Rozkaz generálního velitele neuniformované protektorátní policie z 10. července 1942 č. St I/II-17-100-78 „Potírání cikánského zlořádu“ [Order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Non-uniformed Protectorate Police of 10 July 1942 No. St I / II-17-100-78 „Combating gypsy plague“]. Böhme left the Protectorate in September 1942 and was replaced by Erwin Weinmann.

2:

Zimmermann, Michael. Rassenutopie und Genozid. Die nationalsozialistische Lösung der Zigeunerfrage. Hamburg: Christians, 1996, p. 547. p. 220.

3:

Karola Fings, Gutachten zum Schnellbrief des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes – Tvb. Nr. RKPA. 149/1939 -g- – vom 17. 10.1939 betr. „Zigeunererfassung“ („Festsetzungserlass“) [Expert opinion on the order of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt - Tvb. No. RKPA. 149/1939 -g- - of 17 October 1939 concerning the „local detainment of gypsies“ („Festsetzungserlass“)]. (Köln, 2018). Available on: https://zentralrat.sintiundroma.de/download/11145. Accessed: 28 July 2020.

4:

Moravský zemský archiv [Moravian Land Archives], fund B 124, Krajský národní výbor Brno [Regional National Committee Brno], III. manipulation, box 1871, inv. n. 1536, fol. 761–766, Zvláštní příloha k Policejnímu věstníku pro Protektorát Čechy a Morava č. 4 z 23. července 1942, II. Všeobecně závazné pokyny, 4. Potírání cikánského zlořádu [Special Annex to the Police Gazette for the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia No. 4 of 23 July 1942, II. General binding instructions, 4. Combating gypsy plague].

5:

Státní oblastní archiv Třeboň [State Regional Archives in Třeboň], fund Gypsy camp Lety, box 3, inv. n. 38, fol. 4–5, vyhláška o soupisu cikánů [decree on the census of gypsies].

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:

Literature:

  • 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, p. 475.

  • Nečas, Ctibor. Romové v České republice včera a dnes. 3rd ed. Olomouc: UP Olomouc, 1999, p. 132.

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

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

  • 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, p. 244.

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

  • 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; 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; Trávníček, František. Slovník jazyka českého. Praha: Fr. Borový, 1937.

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

  • Benz, Wolfgang; Distel, Barbara; 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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