On this day, 2 August 1944, around 4000 Roma people in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp resisted being taken to the gas chambers. The SS swarmed into the Roma camp, but prisoners had armed themselves with sticks and crowbars, and barricaded themselves indoors, fighting the Nazis with hands and nails. A non-Roma prisoner who survived described that everyone was fighting and that “women [were] the fiercest in their fight” as they were “younger and stronger” than the other detainees and were “protecting their children.”
Eventually, they were overcome, and all murdered in the gas chambers in Birkenau.
The date of the rebellion was initially reported as being May 16, hence that day being designated the annual Romani Resistance Day, but subsequent research by the Auschwitz Museum determined it was actually August 2.
Pictured: a Roma prisoner at Auschwitz
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