Memorial plaque for Hamburg’s Sinti and Roma
A bronze memorial plaque with a relief sculpture of two hands bound in barbed wire commemorates the deportation of 910 Sinti and Roma men and women from northern Germany during the Nazi period. The plaque is fixed to the outside wall of the police station on Nöldekestraße in Harburg. On 16 May 1940, a wave of arrests targeting Sinti and Roma people in northern Germany began from this police station and others.
Persecution of Roma and Sinti in Hamburg
Nöldekestraße was the first assembly point for many of the 550 Sinti and Roma people who were arrested in Hamburg. They were then detained for several days in Fruchtschuppen C, a warehouse near the Baakenbrücke in the free port of Hamburg, before being deported to the Belzec concentration camp on the Polish-Russian border. Sinti and Roma people were one of the groups most brutally persecuted by the National Socialists. The Nazi regime subjected them to marriage bans, forced sterilisation and forced abortions. They were also deported, imprisoned in ghettos, and murdered on a mass scale in Auschwitz-Birkenau and other extermination camps in measures that paralleled the genocidal persecution of the Jews. More than 25,000 of the around 40,000 Sinti and Roma living in Germany and Austria at the time fell victim to Nazi persecution.
Remembering the persecution
The plaque at Nöldekestraße, which quotes a poem by Lani Goldschabi Rosenberg, was unveiled on 16 May 1986 by Gottfried Weiss, a Sinti man from Harburg who was one of the deportees in May 1940. The quote says: 'Your suffer, your pain are the scars in the flesh of the world."