I've noted from my researches that the Romani people (gypsies) have always faced prejudice in Europe. Most countries since the 15th century have marginalized this people, and during the Nazi government of Germany, they were targeted just like the Jews. Still, they seemed to be very peaceful and would just travel to other places instead of fight back.

Have they ever fought back violently in the form of riots or a small uprising of some kind? I understand that there are far less sources to this compared to usual European history, so any help with this matter is appreciated.

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    Eduardo, welcome to the site. Nice question, I'd be interested in reading the answer too. Will add my few words to it in a while. May 6, 2013 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


My knowledge about the topic is rather narrow, but I know about at least of one such situation.

So called "Gypsy revolt" happened in Gypsy Family Camp in Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It's known as the unique act of resistance inside of the camp. Official website of the Museum writes about it in the following words:

The Germans intended to exterminate the Roma completely as early as May 1944. On May 15, Gypsy Camp director Unterscharfuehrer SS Georg Bonigut ordered the inmates to stay in their barracks. The next day, 50 to 60 SS men surrounded the camp. They attempted to force the prisoners out of the barracks, but failed to do so. Fearing casualties, the Germans withdrew. There were significant numbers of Wehrmacht veterans among the prisoners. The Germans also feared that a mutiny could spread to other parts of the camp. On May 23, over 1,500 Gypsies were transferred from Birkenau to Auschwitz, from where they were subsequently transferred to Buchenwald. Two days later, 82 Gypsies were shipped to the Flossenburg camp and 144 Gypsy women to Ravensbrueck. Fewer than 3,000 people remained in the Family Camp.

Polish language version of the post is a bit more detailed. We can read there that according to the memories of Tadeusz Joachimowski, Polish prisoner who was a writer in the Gypsy Camp, a day before Georg Bonigut came to him and told about the upcoming extermination. He also told him to warn the Gypsies and order them "not to go to the slaughter like rams", but to gather all possible weapon (spades, crowbars, rocks, even knives), stay in the barracks and fight.

  • Thank you for the answer, Darek. I hope we find more information on the matter. I'll come back if I find anything. May 6, 2013 at 6:10

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