Swaminathan Natarajan

Photo of a gypsy (possibly Jozef Kwiek) wearing an armband; the image dates from 1940 and was taken in the Belzec labor camp, Wiener Holocaust Library Collections

“Why did they want to kill us? Why did they kill us?” asks Hinta Gheorghe, an 83-year-old Roma and Holocaust survivor.

At the age of two, during World War II, he was taken to a concentration camp in Transnistria, an area between the Dniester and Bug rivers. The camp was administered by the Kingdom of Romania between 1941 and 1944.

“I don’t have many memories of the trip itself, but it left its mark on my entire existence,” Gheorghe told the BBC through his great-niece Izabela Tiberiade.

Approximately 11 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy, and 5 million of those murdered were not Jews.

Historians estimate that 250,000 to 500,000 Roma were murdered during the Holocaust — but these victims remain largely forgotten.

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