1943-1945 The deportation to concentration camps of the Third Reich
As a consequence of the armistice and the new Italian alliances, all concentration camps located in the South collapsed, and the Roma and Sinti prisoners managed to escape. According to the research carried out in 2000, the history of Roma and Sinti in the Nazi-Fascist period appeared slightly blurry when it came to define the persecution activities perpetrated by the Italian Social Republic. It was an era characterized by the fierce searches of the areas controlled by the Italian Social Republic, followed by the deportation towards the concentration and extermination camps of the Third Reich of all the individuals who were believed to be opponents of the regime for racial or political reasons. Until the beginning of the Memors project, there was no evidence of the deportation of Roma or Sinti to the Nazi camps; however, in the Third Reich, the “gypsy question” represented a separate instance, dealt with by a specific racial hygiene unit alongside with the “Jewish question”, until the complete liquidation of all the Roma and Sinti in Auschwitz-Birkenau in the night between the 1st and the 2nd of August, 1944.
The direct and indirect accounts obtained through the said project allowed to shed some light on the issue: without the help of the witnesses, it would have been impossible to find out the names of the Roma and Sinti. The deported families had surnames like Gabrielli, Held, Brajdic, Levakovich, Pavan and several other that could only be traced back to the Roma and Sinti through the use of family trees. On the convoys that left Italy to reach Dachau, Buchenwald, Mauthausen and Ravensbruck also travelled Roma and Sinti that had been arrested merely because they were “gypsies”. They were enrolled in the Nazi camps as “antisocial”: the “gypsy question” in the Third Reich had been solved with the complete liquidation of Birkenau’s Zigeunerlager in August 1944. The deported prisoners had arrived from Italy around or soon after that date. On Convoy number 117, which left Trieste on the 11th of January of 1945 to reach Ravensbrück, were also travelling Emma Brajdic and Maria Brajdic; Maria was the mother of Stanka and Francesco Brajdic, two of the witnesses that decided to collaborate with this project.