On Wednesday, 7 March 2012, it will have been 69 years since the first mass transport of Romani people from the city of Brno and other parts of Moravia under the Nazi Protectorate to the death camp at Auschwitz. On this occasion, the Museum of Romani Culture, as is its tradition, will commemorate this tragic event. The commemoration will take place in the fourth hall of the museum’s permanent exhibition, which is dedicated to the topic of the Holocaust.
The commemoration will take place on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 starting at 14:00 CET and will be attended by several individuals who remember the transport as well as by representatives of public life. After a brief historical introduction, flowers will be laid in front of the memorial plaque and those invited to do so will speak. A brief musical performance by Romani artists will also be part of the commemoration.
The transport of 7 March 1943 was the first mass transport of Romani people from the Protectorate to the death camp of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It was ordered by Heinrich Himmler, the Interior Minister of the Reich and leader of the SS, on 16 December 1942. He prescribed the forced concentration at the Auschwitz camp complex of all who were racially labeled as „gypsies and gypsy half-breeds“ in German-occupied territory.
In Brno the transport began from the stables of the mounted division of the Protectorate Police force, which were located in Masná street. At the start of March 1943, entire families from the Romani settlements in Brno and other parts of Moravia were concentrated there in inhuman conditions. All of the prisoners had to hand over all of their personal documents and were ignominiously shaved and disinfected. According to the list that was drawn up, on 7 March 1943 they were brought to the loading dock of the local municipal slaughterhouse and forced into the freight cars that brought them to their destination. On that day, more than 1 000 Romani children, men and women of all ages were transported. Most of them did not survive.
You can find more information on the website of the museum, www.rommuz.cz.