There were at least 2,800 women and children imprisoned at the KZ Ravensbruck who were persecuted as “gypsies”. The first large transport consisting of 440 Roma from the Austrian region of Burgenland arrived in June 1939. The youngest in that group were 14 years of age.
In the course of the Nuremberg Laws, the Nazi leadership had deemed Sinti and Roma as “fremdrassig”, meaning “of alien race”, and was planning the deportation of all “gypsies”. From October 1939, they were not allowed to leave their places of residence, and offenders were put straight into a KZ. Romantic affairs between “gypsies” and “Aryans” were also punishable by KZ imprisonment.
From 1943, more than 20,000 Sinti and Roma from all across Europe were taken to Ausschwitz. Most died there from hunger, disease or in the gas chambers. When the “gypsy camp Ausschwitz” was cleared in 1944, more than 1,000 women and girls were transported to the KZ Ravensbruck. Here, in experiments on humans, the SS sterilized more than 100 Sinti and Roma against their will in early 1944.