Excluded from the armed forces
Many of the Sinti and Roma drafted into the Wehrmacht [armed forces] initially went unrecognised as such. In February 1941 the Wehrmacht High Command ordered that all ‘gypsies’ and ‘gypsies of mixed blood’ be excluded on ‘grounds of racial policy’. Following their assessment in accordance with ‘racial biology’ criteria, soldiers from the ranks of the Sinti and Roma were dismissed from the army despite the intercession of their superiors and, for the most part, deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Interview with Hermann Langbein (1912–1995) Hermann Langbein was a political prisoner at Dachau, Auschwitz and Neuengamme. Born in Vienna, he was a co-founder of the International Auschwitz Committee in 1954. He played an instrumental role in the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials and published important books on Nazi-crimes.
After his exclusion from the armed forces, Alfons Lampert was deported to Auschwitz together with his wife Else, where they both died. Documentation Centre Archives
Anton Reinhardt was murdered in Auschwitz along with his wife and three children. Documentation Centre Archives
Karl Heilig, seen here as a soldier in Rommel’s Afrika-Korps, was dismissed from the armed forces and deported to Auschwitz. At Sachsenhausen concentration camp he was forced into the infamous Dirlewanger penal unit shortly before the end of the war, after which all trace of him was lost. Documentation Centre Archives
Johannes Adler was murdered at Auschwitz along with his wife and four children. Dortmund Municipal Archives/private ownership
Johannes Adler’s Wehrpass [military identity card] Dortmund Municipal Archives/private ownership
Emil Christ, pictured here with a relative, was deported to Auschwitz after being dismissed from the Wehrmacht. Documentation Centre Archives
Walter Winter in the uniform of the war navy shortly before his dismissal. He survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and other concentration camps. Documentation Centre Archives
‘Dismissals of gypsies and gypsies of mixed blood from active military duty’ Federal Archives – Military Archives (Freiburg), inventory RHD2/1941, p. 79, 82 f.
Former commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, 1947