This morning I read this in an article about the recent trip of the Muslim imams to Auschwitz and Dachau:
A meeting held at Auschwitz with Wilhelm Brasse, a non-Jewish survivor who was forced by the Nazis to take pictures of Jewish prisoners inside the camp, exposed to Magid just how sinister Hitler’s regime truly was. Brasse recalled to the group how he was forced to take photographs of naked Jewish children.
“I was devastated” while listening to the stories, Magid recounted. “I cannot imagine a human being in their right mind would take a child and hurt them. … When I came back [home], I had to hug my children.”
You can read the full article about the visit of the imams here.
The photo above shows Gypsy children. The caption (in English) claims that these children were subjects of medical experiments done by Dr. Josef Mengele, who was the doctor assigned to the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz.
When the Auschwitz I (main camp) was opened in 1940, the first prisoners were political prisoners who were transferred from a Gestapo prison, and mug shots of the victims were taken. These photos are now displayed at the Auschwitz Museum which is in several buildings. The photos of the naked Jewish children are not displayed at Auschwitz, and I have never seen a copy of these photos.
Rudolf Hoess wrote in his autobiography, entitled Death Dealer, that many of the Gypsy children at Auschwitz suffered from an illness called “Noma,” which reminded him of leprosy. A famous photo of some Gypsy children, suffering from Noma, is shown below.
The photo of the Gypsy children suffering from Noma, which is shown above, is a still photo from a film made by the Soviets who liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945. This photo is frequently shown with a caption identifying it as a photo of Jewish children who had been tortured.
A “Gypsy family camp” was set up in wooden barracks in Section BIIe in the Birkenau camp (Auschwitz II) in February 1943. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Gypsy camp was in existence for only seventeen months and most of the Gypsies perished.
The following quote is from the web site of the USHMM:
In a decree dated December 16, 1942, Himmler ordered the deportation of Gypsies and part-Gypsies to Auschwitz-Birkenau. At least 23,000 Gypsies were brought there, the first group arriving from Germany in February 1943. Most of the Gypsies at Auschwitz-Birkenau came from Germany or territories annexed to the Reich including Bohemia and Moravia. Police also deported small numbers of Gypsies from Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway.
(The two states of Bohemia and Moravia, which are now in the Czech Republic, were part of a German Protectorate from 1938 to 1945; they were not annexed into the Greater German Reich.)
The following quote about the gassing of the Gypsies at Auschwitz-Birkenau is from the web site of the USHMM:
They (the Gypsies) were killed by gassing or died from starvation, exhaustion from hard labor, and disease (including typhus, smallpox, and the rare, leprosy-like condition called Noma.) Others, including many children, died as the result of cruel medical experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele and other SS physicians. The Gypsy camp was liquidated on the night of August 2-3, 1944, when 2,897 Sinti and Roma men, women, and children were killed in the gas chamber. Some 1,400 surviving men and women were transferred to Buchenwald and Ravensbrück concentration camps for forced labor.
According to a guidebook which I purchased in 2005 from the Auschwitz Museum, there were 20,943 Roma (Gypsies) who were gassed in the Krema V gas chamber at Birkenau; their bodies were burned in the pits adjacent to Krema V.
For some strange reason, the Gypsy children who had Noma were not gassed and they were left behind for the Soviet liberators to take care of.
The photo above was taken in the Gypsy Museum at the Sachsenhausen Memorial site. The children in this photo are sometimes mistakenly identified as Jews.