Born in East Prussia in 1927, Otto Rosenberg, one of eleven siblings, lived with his grandmother in Berlin, Germany until 1936, when they were arrested and imprisoned in what became known as the Marzahn ‘Gypsy camp’. In 1942, Rosenberg was deported to Auschwitz, where he endured hunger, abuse and forced labor, and later to other camps. He was liberated in April 1945. He published his memories of the Holocaust as Das Brennglas: ein Sinto bricht sein Schweigen in 1998.

After the war, Rosenberg worked as a musician and sold antiques. He married and had seven children. For many years, he did not talk about his experiences in the concentration camps and did not openly identify as Sinti for fear of prejudice against and harm towards his family. However, in the 1980s Rosenberg began speaking about his experiences in order to bear witness to the victimisation of Sinti and Roma in the Third Reich. He was co-founder of the Regional Association of German Sinti and Roma in Berlin-Brandenburg (, which remains an important organisation for the advancement of Romani rights. Rosenberg died in 2001.


Rosenberg, Otto; Enzensberger, Ulrich. 1998. Das Brennglas. Aufgezeichnet von Ulrich Enzensberger. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn.

Rosenberg, Otto; Enzensberger, Ulrich. 1999. A Gypsy in Auschwitz. As told to Ulrich Enzensberger, trans. by Helmut Bögler.London: London House.

Rosenberg, Marianne. 2006. Kokolores. Berlin: Ullstein.

Further reading

Wippermann, Wolfgang; Brucker-Boroujerdi, Ute. 1987. „Nationalsozialistische Zwangslager in Berlin III. Das ‚Zigeunerlager‘ Marzahn“. In: Berlin-Forschungen II, ed. by Wolfgang Ribbe, (Berlin: Colloquium, 1987), pp. 189-200.

Zimmermann, Michael. 1996. Rassenutopie und Genozid. Die Nationalsozialistische Lösung der Zigeunerfrage. Hamburg: Christians.