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The fate of the Sinti and Roma in KL Auschwitz - free study visits for young people


To commemorate the 81st anniversary of the establishment of the "Zigeunerlager" family camp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the International Center for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust has organised a series of free study visits dedicated to the history of Roma and Sinti in the German Nazi camp. 


Along with a guided tour of the former camp, students will also participate in the workshop titled "The Extermination of the Sinti and Roma", held at the Roma exhibition in Block 13 of Auschwitz I. The program is available in English, German and Polish. 

The visits will take place from April to December (excluding vacation months and public holidays) and on Tuesdays and Thursdays according to the following schedule:

9.00 - 12.30 - guided tour of the site of the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau camps

13.30 - 15.00 - The extermination of the Sinti and Roma - workshop at the exhibition in Block 13

One group of up to 30 people (pupils/students and chaperone) may participate on a single day. Groups can be registered via the online form. Participation is based on the order of registrations. Submitting the form does not constitute participation in the visit. Confirmation of acceptance of the application will be sent via email by the project coordinator.

The Museum does not cover travel costs.

For further questions, please contact Anna Stańczyk of the ICEAH:

An estimated 23,000 Roma were incarcerated in KL Auschwitz. The vast majority lost their lives, as a result of starvation, disease, brutal treatment or in the gas chambers. The Nazi Germans regarded Sinti and Roma (Zigeuner, as they were referred to in official German documents of the period) as enemies of the Third Reich, and therefore sentenced them to isolation and extermination. In Nazi Germany, the Institute for the Study of Racial Hygiene used pseudo-scientific arguments to justify imposing stricter rules of conduct towards the Roma. They were considered racially alien, less valuable and “antisocial.”

It is estimated that roughly 23 thousand men, women, and children were deported to the camp. Some 21,000 were registered (including children who were born in the camp). Furthermore, there were occurrences where the Roma were bypassed from camp registration and immediately dispatched to the gas chambers. Such was the case with the transport of some 1,700 Polish Roma, men, women and children, brought to Birkenau on 23 March 1943 from Bialystok. Fearing an outbreak of spotted fever detected among the new arrivals, the camp authorities referred this group directly to extermination.

The Zigeunerlager in Birkenau existed until 2 August 1944. That evening, the approximately 3 thousand men, women, and children left in the camp were loaded onto trucks and driven to the gas chambers. The Roma attempted to resist, but the SS men ruthlessly crushed their efforts. The total death toll of Roma and Sinti at Auschwitz amounted to around 21,000.

For more information on the fate of the Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz, see our online lesson and podcast series "On Auschwitz."