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»… die Bestrafung der Mörder von 500.000 Sinti* and Roma*«

Matéo Maximoff | »… die Bestrafung der Mörder von 500.000 Sinti* and Roma*« | self-evidence | Republic of France | Jan. 26, 1946 | voi_00045

Rights held by: Matéo Maximoff | Licensed by: Gypsy Lore Society | Licensed under: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International | Provided by: Liverpool University Press Online

Germany and the Gypsies: From the Gypsy’s Point of View

by Matéo Maximoff

Fourteen thousand Gypsies were massacred in a single night at the camp of Ausschwitz [sic] in the gas-chamber or in the crematoria. This happened in 1943, but who knows how many were killed before and after this date?

Before the War there were settled in the Balkans from three to four million Gypsies, and of this number no one can trace how many have survived. For, like the Jews, our race has been swept out of Europe by a nation of ›over-Lords,‹ who wanted to enslave all the nations they could not eliminate.

[…]

We, the Gypsies, the freest people in the world, together with the people of the United Nations, we demand that the Gypsy martyrs at Ausschwitz [sic] be avenged, like those of France or Poland, not by the fury of barbarism but by the hand of Justice.

A tribunal of the United Nations rather than the pages of this Journal would be the appropriate place in which to supply evidence in support of our charge against the Nazis, though we could summon but few witnesses since so few Gypsies have returned from this inferno. But what we desire to find out is: What was the motive which induced these Nazis to carry out such wholesale massacres of our race? What could possibly have been their reason? Was it because we love freedom? Was this why they desired to remove us from the face of the earth? Or did they just kill Gypsies for sport?

Shall we Gypsies, one asks, ever have an Allied Court of Justice which will demand the punishment of these monsters, the assassins of 500,000 Tziganes? Since the United Nations desire to do justice to all the people who fought for the freedom of the world, why do they not consider justice for us also, and therefore institute an enquiry into the source of these monstrous Nazi orders to assassinate the whole Gypsy race?

[…]

Deutschland und die Sinti und Roma: Aus der Perspektive der Sinti und Roma

von Matéo Maximoff

In den Gaskammern oder in den Krematorien von Auschwitz wurden in nur einer einzigen Nacht vierzehntausend Sinti und Roma umgebracht. 1943 war das, und wer weiß, wieviele davor oder danach noch umgebracht wurden?

Vor dem Krieg lebten auf dem Balkan zwischen drei und vier Millionen Roma*. Niemand kann nachprüfen, wie viele von ihnen überlebt haben. Denn wie die Juden, so wurde auch unsere Rasse in Europa ausgelöscht von einer Nation von ›Übermenschen‹, die alle Nationen, die sie nicht ausrotten konnten, unterjochen wollten.

[…]

Wir, die Sinti und Roma, neben den Menschen der Vereinten Nationen das freieste Volk der Welt, fordern, dass die Sinti-und-Roma-Märtyrer_innen von Auschwitz gerächt werden, so wie diejenigen aus Frankreich oder Polen auch, aber nicht durch die Barbarei der Wut, sondern durch die Hand der Justiz.

Ein Tribunal der Vereinten Nationen wäre ein passenderer Ort als die Seiten dieses Journals, um jene Beweise anzuführen, die unserer Anklage gegen die Nationalsozialisten zugrundeliegen – selbst wenn es uns nur möglich wäre, einige wenige Zeug_innen einzuberufen, denn nur sehr wenige Sinti und Roma kehrten aus der Hölle zurück. Aber was wir herauszufinden begehren, ist: Was war das Motiv? Was brachte diese Nationalsozialisten dazu, unsere Rasse derart umfassend zu vernichten? Was könnte ihr Antrieb gewesen sein? War es unsere Freiheitsliebe? Wünschten sie sich deshalb, uns vom Angesicht der Erde zu tilgen? Oder war der Mord an Sinti und Roma für sie eine Art Sport?

Wird es für uns, so ließe sich fragen, jemals einen Alliierten Gerichtshof geben, der die Bestrafung dieser Monster, dieser Meuchelmörder von 500.000 Sinti und Roma, einfordert? Und wenn es tatsächlich das Anliegen der Vereinten Nationen ist, allen Menschen, die für die Freiheit der Welt kämpften, Gerechtigkeit zukommen zu lassen, warum erkennen sie dann nicht auch unseren Ruf nach Gerechtigkeit an und ordnen eine Untersuchung der Beweggründe hinter den monströsen Befehlen der Nationalsozialisten an, die gesamte Rasse der Sinti und Roma umzubringen?

[…]

I Germanija thaj e Sintura thaj Rroma: dikhindo andar e Sintengi thaj Rromengi perspektiva,
kotar o Matéo Maximoff
Dešuštar milje Rroma, numa ande jekh raći, mudarde si ande Auschwitzeske gasoske komore vaj ande krematorja. Kodo sas ko 1943 berš, thaj ko džanel sode manuša sas angleder mudarde, thaj pala kodo?

Angla o Maripe po Balkano trajinas maškar trin thaj štar milionura Rroma, khonik našti te džanel sode olendar ačhile dživde. Sostar, sar e Bibolde, amari rasa si mudardi ande Evropa katar jekh nacija e »uprune manušengi«, save so sa e nacije kamelas te teljarel, saven našti mudarelas. […]
Amen, e Sintura thaj e Rroma, e slobodijake majtromale manuša ande luma, kotar e manuša e Kethanutne Nacijengo, rodas, e manuša so mudarde e Sintoren thaj e Rromen ando Auschwitz, te thovenpe po marazi, krisome te oven, vi sar so nesave andar e Francija vaj Polska, ba na numa kotar e džungali xoli, no vi kotar e justicijako vast.

Jekh tribunalo e Kethanutne Nacijengo avelas majlačo vi katar e riga akale Journaloske, te dikholpe kodo so kerdilaspe, pe Nacionalsocijalistura amaro krisaripe te das, kana avelas amen šajipe nekobor cera mujalnen te akharas, kaj numa but cera Sintura thaj Roma irandepe palpale kotar e bengeski džung. Ba, so amen kamas te dodžanas si kodo: So sas i motivacija? So tradijas kadale Nacionalsocijalistoren pe kodo, amari rasa gija but te mudaren? Savi zor crdijas len pe kodo? Sas li kodo amaro kamipe vaš e slobodija? Mangle sebet kodo te khosen amen katar e luma? Vaj sas lenge o mudaripe pe Sintora thaj Rroma numa jekh sporti?

Šaj ka avel, šaj phučolpe, varekana jekh Kethanutno Krisi, savo ka rodel te krisarenpe kadala džungale, kadala bengale so mudarde 500,000 Sintoren thaj Rromen? Thaj te si e Kethanutne Nacijaki buti pal sa e manuša čačipe te resel, vaš e lumijaki slobodija zor te kerel, sostar na lel sama vi pe amaro krrlo vaš o čačipe, thaj te dikhlolpe so ačhilas pala kadala bengale Nacionalsocijalistikane komandi te murdarenpe sa e Sintengi thaj e Rromengi rasa?
[…]

Credits

Rights held by: Matéo Maximoff | Licensed by: Gypsy Lore Society | Licensed under: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International | Provided by: Liverpool University Press Online

Playlist

Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Matéo Maximoff
2.26 min
voi_00105
Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Matéo Maximoff | Spoken word | Germany | 2018 | voi_00105
EN

Contextualisation

Calling for an Allied Court of Justice

This article by the French writer Matéo Maximoff (1917–99) was published in 1946 in the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, a journal founded in Great Britain in 1888. The double volume containing Issues Nos 1–2 published earlier in the year had featured two other testimonies on the genocide against Sinti and Roma: one by Frédéric Max, a French resistance fighter who spoke Romani and had been deported to Buchenwald; the other by Vanya Kochanowski, a Latvian Romni deported to France to perform forced labour. All three authors lived in the vicinity of Paris in 1945, knew one another and became members of the Gypsy Lore Society in the same year.
Maximoff’s article is remarkable not only for its plea for the establishment of a United Nations tribunal to punish the perpetrators; it appears that with this article he decisively contributed to the figure of 500,000 being taken as the number of genocide victims. How he arrived at this figure, which is still widely quoted today, cannot be explained. Precise information was not available at the time, as the wrong figure in the first sentence of the article makes clear. Numerous relatives of Maximoff who had lived in the occupied Netherlands and occupied Poland were murdered. He himself was incarcerated together with his family in a camp in France from 1940 to 1944. During these years he corresponded with his lawyer, Jacques Isorni, who also represented Marshal Pétain. Isorni could well have been one of Maximoff’s information sources. In July 1944 Maximoff returned to Paris. On 17 April 1945, he met Vanya Kochanowski there. On 15 May 1945, after Le Figaro had declined to publish an article he had submitted, he contacted the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society and submitted the article on 26 January 1946. Meanwhile – on 15 September 1945 – an article by Imre Gyomai had been published in the communist journal Regards that refereed to the ‘half a million Roma killed in the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald’. It can be assumed that Maximoff knew this article. Until the end of his life, Maximoff campaigned for the official recognition of the genocide.

Playlist

Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Matéo Maximoff
2.26 min
voi_00105
Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Matéo Maximoff | Spoken word | Germany | 2018 | voi_00105
EN

Details

übersetzer Titel
»… the punishment of the assassins of 500,000 Sinti* and Roma*«
übersetzer Titel
»… e džungalengo krisaripe so mudarde 500,000 Rromen*«
übersetzer Titel
‘… the punishment of the assassins of 500,000 Sinti* and Roma*’
Production
before Jan. 26, 1946
Credits
Production Credits
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Material
Technique
Object Number
voi_00045

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