Sinti and Roma
The Archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum contain two original “Record Books of the Gypsies”, who were placed in the so-called Family Camp (Zigeunerlager) in the Birkenau section BIIe. They were written at the command of the camp authorities. One Book covers men and boys, the other one – women and girls. They were the Sinti and Roma, who were deported en masse from 26 February 1943 to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Yugoslavia, the USSR, Norway and Spain. Most of the approximately 23,000 of Sinti and Roma, who were brought, died of starvation, diseases, ill-treatment and poor conditions. The rest of them died in the gas chambers of Birkenau.
“The Men’s Book of the Gypsy Camp” of 300 pages concerns 10,094 boys and men. The writer included the following information in handwritten columns, which are not described: the prisoner number, their nationality, surname, first name, date of birth, place of birth, date of arrival to the camp, remarks. In the last column, the writer recorded, for example, the transfer to the penal company, the date of transfer to another camp, the date of death or the date of death together with the sign of the cross, or the date and “SB” abbreviation (Sonderbehandlung – special treatment), which stood for the killing of the prisoner.
“The Women’s Book of the Gypsy Camp” in 2 volumes of in total 702 pages. The entries concern 10,849 girls and women. In the printed columns the report writer included the following information: the prisoner number (“Häftlings Nr.” – Häftling Nummer), their nationality (“Häftl. Art”), name (“Name”), first name (“Vorname”), date of birth (“Geburtsdatum”), place of birth (“Geburtsört”), occupation (“Beruf”), in the camp since (“Eingang ins Lager”), address (“Anschrift”) and remarks (“Bemerkungen”). All those pieces of information take two pages. The address column was left blank. The entries in both Books were made mainly in ink and pencil.
“Main Books of the Gypsies’ camp” list men, women and children of Roma origin who were deported to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau in the period from 26 February 1943 to July 1944.
In connection with the liquidation of the “Gypsy family camp” planned by the authorities, Tadeusz Joachimowski (no. 3720), working in the recorders’ chamber as a report writer together with Ireneusz Pietrzyk (no. 1761) and Henryk Porębski (no. 5805) walked off with the “Record books of the Gypsies” from the camp office. The prisoners wrapped them in clothes and placed in a bucket, sealed from the top with a wooden lid. In July 1944, they buried the bucket with the documents in the Gypsy camp near barrack 31 adjacent to BIId camp, where men were kept. On 13 January 1949, Joachimowski together with the employees of the Museum, dug the bucket containing the Books out from the earth. The inspection of the Books revealed a significant damage to the documents due to high humidity, and even complete destruction of some of their parts. The “remarks” column, where the writer entered information about what happened later to the prisoner, was the most damaged.
Databases: “ZIGLF” and “ZIGLM”
The work on the digitisation of the “Registration books of the Gypsies” started in 1991 as part of the project named “Preservation of KL Auschwitz camp files”, implemented by the then Computer Section. Two bases were created then, the first named “ZIGLF”, which contains 10,849 entries and the other named “ZIGLM”, containing 10,094 entries. In 1993, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg published a book entitled “Memorial Book. Gypsies in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp”. The book contains the names of all the Roma registered in the above-mentioned record books of Roma. In recent years, the Record Books of the Gypsies have been scanned.