The word holocaust is discussed a lot when speaking about Romani holocaust. To date we have heard different words in Romani language, therefore I see it reasonable to highlight this word. We will firstly elaborate the meaning of the word, and later the usage of this word in Romani language in order to have a more precise knowledge and picture of this word.

The word Holocaust is a Greek word Olokaustos – whole-burnt; extermination. This word is a blending of two words, olo - whole and kaustos - burnt = whole burnt (desolation; extermination) and this word was used by Greek and Romans for the extermination of an animal by fire for the sake of God, or for a soul of a dead person. When wrote desolation this indicates that the animal was whole burnt until it became dust like. This tradition was also of old Israelis –Jewish – burning the whole sheep which in Hebrew is called Olam kalil. As seen we have shown all the words used by Roma when talking about Holocaust, but I think we should continue to use the original word of Holocaust that was used for Roma, Jewish and others, but if we want to use the Romani word, then the most accurate is Satharipe- whole burnt; extermination.

When seeing the German Nazi idea, who wanted to clean up the Germany and places where they ruled from Roma, Slavic’s, and other who were opposing their ideology, or those who were thought to be of dirty blood, amongst them communists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witness, mentally sick people …), then we may refer to his as extermination. The Jewish in Hebrew language refer to holocaust as Shoah (HaShoah) that means catastrophe.

The word Porajmos which is frequently used by Roma, when speaking about Holocaust, was given by the professor of Romani language Dr. Ian Hancock, but this word does not indicate the Holocaust. The word Porajmos -poravimos that is also used by Vlaho Roma, in other dialects is used as poravipe, and the word poravipe indicates something that is open, for example Roma use the expression: So porave te yakha?/What are you staring at? From this example we can see that poravipe is something that is opened and not something burnt. The word poravipe is used when the eyes are open widely, more than usually, and that we do when seeing something unexpectedly, for good or for bad and the desire of sight is increased.

There is also another Romani word parunipe, and this word is used when we burry a dead person, and if it was thought so, then this may indicate the burry of Roma. This word is close to Samudaripa- extermination, because all those that get killed are buried. But we know that in Romani language, the word Samudaripe-extermination is not a real word because this word is not used for people in Romani language, but for animals, for example the caw is slaughtered mudaryola whereas a person is killed mularyola (mudalo guruv-dead cow; mulo manush- dead man ). There are some doubts that the word parunipe which is used by Roma, comes from the word prahonipe-dust and in India (Hindus, Sikya, Buddha’s, Jayinya…) when someone dies they burn the body and the dust is buried-kept in the grave. If so, then the word Holocaust can be called as Prahonipe-dust-making dusty, as explained above about burning, but when speaking about Holocaust then we mean Roma, Jewish and others that were the victims of German Nazis, were killed and burnt, therefore the expression Satharipe-whole burnt is more close to Holocaust.

The Romani Holocaust is the cruelest event that has ever happened to Roma on their migration. They were not wanted wherever they have gone. In some places where they gone, some were killed whereas some were expelled, but the Nazi Germany lead by Adolph Hitler, wanted to destroy Romani nation, saying they are dirty bloody nation together with Jewish.

Roma were not welcomed even before the Hitler`s kingdom as we have explained in the unit of Romani Exodus. In 1899 There was a separate unit of German Police who dealt exclusively with Roma. Year by year, the life of Roma in Germany became more difficult and since 1920 until 1930 the nazism against roma made their life be much more difficult. However even if Roma had to wear special identity cards, still they were well integrated in German society and together with germans entered the First World War. Such integration made Roma to get married with German, and their blood was mixed with Germans. All this integration did not save them from expulsion and murder during the period of Hitler’s kingdom.

Important to mention here is that the Rashaya in Germany and in other places, who played an important role in the kingdom, were blaming Jewish for killing the St. Jesus saying that were cursed by God and they must be cleansed from this World, and do not forget that Roma were not welcomed as well because it was believed that Roma made the nails by which St. Jesus was hanged therefore Roma must also be cleansed from this World as the ones who were cursed by God.

All what Rashaya were thinking and the Antisemitism in Germany, Hitler wanted to turn it into reality. So since 1933 when Hitler started to rule, for Roma and Jewish, diffucilt life meant death.

Hitler was thinking that the Germans belonging to Aryan race, were the cleanest nation and they must rule the World, whereas Jewish and Roma belong to the lowest and dirtiest race and therefore must be cleansed from this World, therefore Germany ought to be cleansed from these ”dirty” nations. In order to realize this cleansening, firstly they adapted a Law in 1935 called The Nunberg Law, where they firstly took the citizenship of Jewish and later of Roma and started to put these nations in concentration camps. So in 1936 the Sinti Roma were taken and put into Dachau concentration camp as Germany`s asocial people and spelt the letter ”Z” on their shirts as zigeuner-gypsies. Except this camp, Roma were sent in other camps as well such as Eleru, Oberlik, Venhauzen etc. As Roma were treated in Germany as dirty blooded people, people who don`t want to work – parasits, criminals, it was planed to clean the Germany from Roma in order not to dive or infect the germans. So on September the 21st 1939 was held the first and on January the 30th 1940 the second meeting where Hajnrih with his companion decide beside others to gather all Roma in Germany and expel them in Poland and for this purpose a special office called Section IV D4 was opened in Belin being led by Eichman.

Roma were firstly gathered in three big German cities Hamburg, Köln, Stuttgart, counting around 30,000 Roma-Sinti and from those big cities were deported to Poland in different camps such as Belzec, Krychkov etc.

As Roma were existing before the Hitlers kingdom in Germany, Roma were mixed by blood with germans, therefore in summer of 1941 Dr. Robert Ritter and Sociologist Eva Justin from the Berling Institute, who nearly had all the names of Roma collected in a black book, were charged to do the selection of Roma. They divided Roma in many categories:

•Those who were pure Roma were under the category Z

•Those who were half roma half non roma were under the category ZM

•Those who were more than half Roma, were put under the category ZM+

•Those who were less then half Roma, were put under the category Z-

•Those who were not Roma, were put under the category NZ

After such categorization on December the 16th 1942 Himmler Heinrich has decided to send a letter ordering all Roma from Germany to be deported to the Auschwitz- Birkenau Camp and there to be executed. As it was said in Auschwitz were to be sent only the real Roma based on previous categorization whereas the others will remain in Germany. Although it was said so, in Auschwitz camp were sent also those who were not meant to be sent.

In Auschwitz – Birkenau or Auschwitz II were brought Roma and Jewish by trains who since arrival were seperated in two groups: Those to be executed immediately, and those who will live in the campus. In the first group were approximately 75% of the people, who were killed in the gass chambers. Under this group were put women, children, old and sich people whereas the other 25 % were people who were confirmed to be healthier by the medicine inspectors. This greatest execution camp, had the capacity to kill or burn some thousands people a day. In this camp were killed 960.000 Jewish, 750,000 Polish and 19.000 Roma.

As out main topic is Holocaust, as it is assumed in Auschwitz- Birkenau, on May the 25th in gas chamber were killed/burnt 1000 Roma and on August the 2nd -3rd some 3000 more.

How trustful is the number of these Roma who were killed in Auschwitz still remains to be proved, but this is the estimate number given by the researchers who wrote investigated the issue in question. The main reason why there is no clear data base is that the German SU soldiers have burnt many papers for not leaving any trace of the genocide. A little about the life in the camp is known by the letter of Rudolf Höss, responsible of Auschwitz camp, who was sentenced to death – hanged on 16.04.1947 in the camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. From the letter we understand that the Auschwitz camp was full with Roma, bad conditions, hospitals full with sick people, sick children with children disease Nome, the new born babies did not live longer then some couple of days; He also wrote that he was told by Himmler, when meeting in Berlin, that all Roma and Jewish must be liquidated only those capable for work must be kept. Only him and doctors knew about the Himler`s decree until the mid of 1944 …

Roma sufered a lot in these camps, as from hard work as well as from experimentation. Different experiments were applied to Roma in these camps. More were those of medicine and body strength. Dr. Mengele was also amongst those who has shown his inhumanity who was interested on twins. This ”doctor” has sent the children by his car in the crematorium! Dr. Mengele was interested on heterochromatin on children – eyes color one black one hazel, who had the Roma children of Germany. He ordered to take children`s eyes and send them in berlin for doing the research of pigments …

We will mention one more example of inhumanity applied in these camps, whichj shows that the inhumanity in Nazi Germany had no limits.

Luy Simon, who was roma and his body was tatooed, when seen by the agents, he was given some injections and his body became tumid and in Buhenvald took off his skin and decorated the desk of the commander!




Rova amare kamlenge, /We cry for our beloved ones

Mardutnengen ternenge. / The beaten youngsters

Dayenge, dadenge, / Mothers and Fathers

Amare phral, phenyenge. / For our brothers and sisters

Rova e baht e Romengi, / We lament the fortune of Roma

So nakamol ola niyekh them. / Who are not welcomed by any country.

Rova , rova, rova, / We cry, cry, cry

Sakana ka rova! / Always will cry!


Roma were kiled in other concentration camps, and there were no concentration camps where Roma were not killed. These are some of the camps:

Bergen – Belsen, Buchenwald, Chelmno, Dachau, Lackenbach, Lodz, Maidenek, Mauthausen, Neuengamme, Ravensbrüch, Sachenhausen, Treblinka…

More on this topic and camps wrote Mr Donald Kenrick and Grattan Pakson in the book called “Unhappy Years”.

Coming back to the terminology of Holocaust, we saw that in the camp Auschwitz – Birkenau Roma were killed and burnt, as well as in other camps in Poland, as in Chelmno where 5000 Roma were killed and burnt who were brought from the Lodz camp, therefore in these camps was literally the Holocaust whereas on the other that we mentioned and will mention, Roma were killed or the genocide and execution took place.

Roma were not killed only in Germany, they were killed in all countries where Nazi Germany had influence (Europe-Balkans). Some countries expelled-deported Roma in germany-Poland, whereas some exercised the execution in their countries.

Thre are any camps where the execution took place but we will focus on one that was mostly known to be the greatest concentration camp who accepted children younger then 14 years old. This is the Yasenovac amp in Croatia. The Yasenovac camp is known to be the camp where the crueslest and the dirtiest executions took place. In this camp who had another five sub camps, where gathered and killed Serbs, Roma, Jewish as a race, btu also there were put all those who were against the Ustashi, Who then ruled with Independent Country of Croatia (NDH), such as Comunists, Antifascists etc. In these places ruled by Ustashi, the execution was done by knives, hatchet, wooden hammer, they suffered until death and were left hungry and thirsty until death. Corpses were burried whereas some were thrown in the Sava lake.

Roma who were expected to be deported to Germany, often did not go out of the country and were left in the railway coach who were meant for animals, and were not opened for some days, not until roma died of hunger. Such method germans were using for children as they died quicker.

Planning to escape from such genocide Roma were often caught and could not escape to Italy. It was told that Usatshi were torturing the people badly by cutting and killing as elderly people as well as the young ones.

One example told by a witness who saw the inhumanity of Ustashi is the story of Angelina Hudoroviq. She tells the following: “First they told my niece to open a hole, while her mother who was seven months pregnant was fastened to a tree. An ustash opened her stomach by knife, took the baby and put him in the hole. Later they put my sister and my niece who was sexually abused and closed the hole, even though they were still alive.

In Yasenovac there was a crematorium where lots of Roma, Serbians and Jewish were burnt amongst whom were children as well, therefore it is said that in Yasenovac was made a Holocaust.

To date still there is no clear evidence on the number of victims in Yasenovac camp but according to the statistics given by the International Army Law in Nunbyerg the number of victims was between 500.000 to 700,000.

The total number of Roma, who were killed and burnt in Yasenovac is 20.000 but there are opinions that this number gone over 80.000 Roma.




Sarenende yekh po yekh avri nikalde, / They took them out one byone,

Disaven lokipaya, disaven maribaya./ Some gently some perforce.

O shere qhinyonay o yakha nikyonay, /Head were cut, eyes were out,

Olengo avazi ji po Qeri shunyolay. / Their voice was being heard up to the sky.

Baro rafali sarenend pi hiv araya, / A big burst brought them down to earth,

Jivde vash te na aqhon ini e qhurya posavya. /Not leaving them live, they were even stabbed.

Angali pi angali e phuv olen uqharya, / Hugging one another, the earth has covered them,

Pe yakha biphandle, jivdipe bijande. / Before closing their eyes, alive, innocent.

Palo hari vakti, tali phuv yekh avazi shundilo, /After a while a sound came from the earth

Yekh tikno qhavo e mula data biyandilo. /Newly born baby from a dead mother,

I ratvali phuv putarde e qhave nikalde, /They opened the bloody earht and took the child

Kotora, kotora o masa pordi day lugyarde. / Spread his pieces over the mothers body.

Nay te mothavav vekye mo vilo izdrolma, / I can not tell anylonger, my heart clenches.

Muken´ma hari te rovav, mo vogi te quqarav. /Let me cry a little bit, to relieve my feelings.

Te manglen ini (vi) tumen roven manca, / If you want you may cry along wth me,

Amenda yaver khonik naka rovol olen. / Except us no one will lament for them.

This Holocaust and execution with Roma and Jewish took place during the period of the Second Wolrd War (1939-1945) and the official number of Roma who were killed in concentration camps is 500.000 however knowing that many unregistered Roma were killed and after many letters in the concentration camps were destroyed, this number may be much higher. There are assumptions that this number may reach around 3.500.000 Roma who were killed in the extermination and Holocaust.


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