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Sinti and Roma in Nordhausen

Christian Hentschke has searched the archival material of the International Tracing Service (ITS) for any information on the lives and persecutions of Sinti and Roma from Nordhausen and its surroundings. “As I have few details on the victims only, my search is arduous”, so the researcher. “By doing research on them, though, I want to contribute to their not being forgotten.”

A document in the Nordhausen town archives on the resettlement of Sinti and Roma to the outskirts of the town late in the 1930s kindled his interest. “Apart from technical information, the file includes quite a few names of Sinti and Roma”, reports Hentschke. Thanks to the co-assistance of contemporary witnesses, thanks to newspaper articles and owing to investigations of his own in parish and registration records, he came across further names. “Meanwhile I have learned of about 60 names”, tells he.

Weiss, Wagner and Gerste were typical family names of the Sinti and Roma who were living in Nordhausen. The ITS database shows tens of thousands of entries for the name of Wagner alone. “Nevertheless, I can discover what I am looking for”, rejoices the Nordhausen resident. “The child Karl Wagner, born in Nordhausen on 4.1.1942, died in Auschwitz on 29.7.1943. This date of death differs from the respective entry made in the commemorative book." The abominable fate suffered by so little a child painfully affected Hentschke. The town archives will come to benefit from his respective research activities later on, and a publication the history association plans to bring out will be enriched by his findings. “I also thought of taking up the suggestion to place stumbling stones,” so Hentschke. “But my immediate objective is pursuing further research.”