historical-fiction Each Friday as an alternative way of posting about a historical event that occurred on this day in history, I will weave the event into a fictional story while still providing all the necessary facts.

 

 

 

“Puri daj did Hitler and the Nazis hate only Jewish people?”

“No Lash.  That man was full of hatred.”

“In school we have been studying the Holo um Holo.  I don’t remember how to say it.”

“It was the Holocaust.  It is true that Hitler and the Nazis killed more than six million people of the Jewish faith; however our people were persecuted too.”

“Really?  Can you tell me any stories?  I have to do a project for school and if the gypsies are part of it, it will seem real to me.”

“Well as you know there aren’t any nice stories about the Nazis.  Are you sure you want to hear one involving the gypsies?”

“Yes Puri daj.”

Lash’s grandma began to tell the story…..

The big war was almost over.  In fact Germany would surrender on May 8, 1945.  The story I’m about to tell you is a brutal one and it happened on October 10, 1944.  Since you have been studying the Holocaust, you have probably heard of Auschwitz.  It was really a group of camps, designated I, II, and III and 40 smaller satellite camps.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Entrance

Auschwitz-Birkenau Entrance

It was at Auschwitz II, at Birkenau, established in October 1941, that the SS created a complex, monstrously orchestrated killing ground: 300 prison barracks; four “bathhouses,” in which prisoners were gassed; corpse cellars; and cremating ovens. Thousands of prisoners were also used as fodder for medical experiments, overseen and performed by the camp doctor, Josef Mengele (“the Angel of Death”).

A few days prior to the date of my story, a mini-revolt took place.  On October 7, 1944, as several hundred Jewish prisoners were being forced to carry corpses from the gas chambers to the furnace to dispose of the bodies, they blew up one of the gas chambers and set fire to another, using explosives smuggled to them from Jewish women who worked in a nearby armaments factory. Of the roughly 450 prisoners involved in the sabotage, about 250 managed to escape the camp during the ensuing chaos. They were all found and shot. Those co-conspirators who never made it out of the camp were also executed, as were five women from the armaments factory-but not before being tortured for detailed information on the smuggling operation. None of the women talked.

Gypsies, too, had been singled out for brutal treatment by Hitler’s regime early on. Deemed “carriers of disease” and “unreliable elements who cannot be put to useful work,” they were marked for extermination along with the Jews of Europe from the earliest years of the war. Approximately 1.5 million Gypsies were murdered by the Nazis.  On October 10, 1944, 800 Gypsy children, including more than a hundred boys between 9 and 14 years old are systematically murdered.
In 1950, as Gypsies attempted to gain compensation for their suffering, as were other victims of the Holocaust, the German government denied them anything, saying, “Gypsies have been persecuted under the Nazis not for any racial reason but because of an asocial and criminal record.” They were stigmatized even in light of the atrocities committed against them.

With tears running down his face, Lash hugged his grandma. “Puri daj that is so sad.”

“My parents escaped from Europe and came here to the United States.  My mother told me this story and I pass it on to you so that our people will never forget.”

“Thank you Puri daj.  I love you.”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

2 responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is just purely evil what occured and no mere words can even attempt to understand the horrendous nature of the men and women who carried outthis mass extermintaion. It is a shame that Mengele was not hanged right after. It is also a shame that while most people are aware of what happened to the jewish people very few are aware what happened to the gypsies, homosexuals, people who were mentally challenged and German who dared to talk against Hitler (like my grandfather). Noone should ever forget what happened and all should know all the people who were affected

    Like

    • I know that I didn’t know much outside what happened to the Jews. It just wasn’t taught that indepth in public school. I know the Holocaust is part of curriculum today but I don’t know how indepth it still is.

      Like