“500,000 Gypsies were murdered by the Third Reich.” This accusation has been made by Gypsy organization for decades. They demanded that Germany recognizes this as a genocide, and that compensations be paid to these Gypsy organizations. These claims were disseminated by all major news media, German and international. The German government quickly caved in, and its highest representatives have since repeatedly acknowledged both the genocide as such and the alleged death toll of half a million victims (which some inflated to one million).
However, if requested to provide any kind of documentation supporting these charges, no one seems to be able to provide any – neither these media outlets, nor any Gypsy organizations, nor historians specializing in the field, nor the International Red Cross’s Tracing Center of victims of Third-Reich persecution, nor any other governmental or non-governmental historical organization.
In the late 1980s, Michael Zimmermann, a German history student, wrote a thesis on the issue. He came to the conclusion that not half a million Gypsies had died but “only” 50,000. That’s only 10% of the claimed figure, and only some 5% of the Gypsies then roaming continental Europe. Clearly, there was no systematic attempt at wiping them off the face of the earth.
However, since Zimmermann was a German and not a Jew, some politically correct readers could question his motives. Moreover, both his 1989 thesis and his 1996 book on the topic were written in German and have never been translated, and thus they are inaccessible to most people. Hence, a few years after that, a German Jew came to the rescue: With his 2001 book The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies, Günther Lewy drove home basically the same message as Zimmermann had done. Everyone can read and quote Lewy’s English book without fear of being accused of anything, except maybe philo-Semitism.
The Jewish community could breathe a sigh of relief, as their exclusive primacy of victimhood was restored.
Some documentation exists about the arrest and deportation of Gypsies by German authorities during the Second World War. Thousands of them were sent to the Auschwitz Camp. Here is where the story of the gypsy genocide in gas chambers has its roots.
When rummaging through thousands of wartime documents in the archives of the Auschwitz Museum, Polish historian Danuta Czech stumbled over documents indicating that on 2 August 1944 the number of Gypsies registered in a certain section of a particular sector of the Birkenau Camp dropped by 2,897. Hence, she concluded in her Auschwitz Chronicle that they must have been killed in gas chambers! She backed up that claim with witness accounts by Stanisław Jankowski, Otto Wolken and a certain Jakub Wolman. Jankowski’s and Wolken’s credibility can be assessed by their claims as a whole. (See the entries dedicated to them.) Jakub Wolman’s only terse remark in this regard was that, of the almost 3,000 Gypsies gone missing on 2 August 1944, 18,000 were gassed – hence six times more than allegedly went missing.
Had Czech thoroughly checked all the records of all the other camp sectors and of transfers to other camps, she would have found those missing Gypsies. They were not murdered but simply relocated. Comparing hundreds, even thousands of wartime camp documents with long lists of occupancy numbers for several camp sections is an ungrateful and tedious job, but there’s no other way of getting the story straight. Yet with her gas-chamber obsession, she jumped straight to false conclusions of wishful thinking.
Czech has another entry in her Auschwitz Chronicle, on 23 March 1943, where she claims that on this day some 1,700 unregistered, hence undocumented, Gypsies were gassed at Auschwitz. However, there is not the slightest trace in the documentation that these Gypsies existed in the first place, such as a document showing their deportation or arrival at Auschwitz. This claim is based exclusively on one imprecise witness account.
The Polish Resistance Movement at that time was well-informed about the Gypsy Sector, which had been set up in the Birkenau Camp just a month earlier. They knew and reported about the typhus epidemic wreaking havoc in this sector, but they knew nothing about a mass gassing of the Gypsies. Such an event would have been much-more newsworthy than any epidemic.
In other words, even the claim that 50,000 Gypsies died during the Third Reich, let alone that many thousands of them were murdered in gas chambers at Auschwitz, is untenable. However, Günther Lewy and his like-minded fellow historians will not challenge those gassing stories, as this would undermine the very foundation upon which the uniqueness of Jewish victimhood is erected. Toppling the Gypsy gassings would make the other gassings come tumbling down as well.