In the late spring of 1940, Germans created a labour camp in Bełżec (Belzec), in former farm buildings, for the Roma population from the Lublin region and for the Sinti transported from the vicinity of Hamburg in Germany. In total, about 2,500 Roma and Sinti were imprisoned at the camp. Whole families were living in very primitive conditions in barns, which used to be parts of manor estates (one of them still exists). The men worked together with Jewish prisoners on the construction of anti-tank ditched on the German-Soviet border, which ran through Bełżec. In the summer and autum of 1940, several hundred Romani prisoners died of hunger, exhaustion and epidemics of typhus and dysentery (the exact number of victims is unknown). They were mostly children and women. There are certainly over 300 people buried in a mass grave. In the autumn of 1940, the Gypsy camp in Bełżec was formally dissolved. The German Sinti were taken to Krychów near Włodawa, and then they were transferred to various places in Poland, including the ghetto in Siedlce. The Gypsy camp in Bełżec was one of the first sites of the Roma and Sinti martyrdom in Poland, and at the same time it was one of the largest camps of this type in occupied Poland.
Description of commemoration
The monument has the form of five granite slabs. Three of them (each with an inscription in a different language: Polish, Romani and German) are arranged vertically, while two lying ones symbolise covers of graves. A road which ends with one of these slabs symbolically marks the end of human life.
Pamięci / Romów i Sinti / ofiar niemieckiego / nazistowskiego / obozu pracy / w Bełżcu / zamordowanych / oraz zmarłych / z głodu / i wycieńczenia / w okresie / maj – lipiec / 1940 roku
Reperyben / patyw Romenge / khetane Sintenge / so ciene / zamarde bokhasa / phare bućensa, / maribnasa, / patyw lenge / zamardlenge dre / nacjonalistyćno / sasytko lagro / adaj dre Bełżec / majunestyr kte / nijał 1940 bers.
Dem gedenken / an Roma und Sinti, / opfer des Deutschen / nazional- / -sozialistischen / arbeitslagers / in Bełżec, / die von / Mai bis Juli 1940, / ermorted, / zu tode gehungert / oder gequält / wurden.
In memory of / the Roma and Sinti / victims of the German / Nazi / labour camp / in Bełżec / where they were murdered / and deceased / from hunger / and exhaustion / in the period / May – July / 1940
Date of the unveiling
2000 – mass grave, 2012 memorial
Designer: Mikołaj Andrzej Jurkiewicz, A. Eleuter company in Warsaw
Workmanship: Zakład Produkcyjno-Usługowy Stanisław Gardias, Szalenik-Kolonia.
Adam Urbański – witness
Former manor estate ”Lipki”, next to the railway tracks, opposite the manor estate buildings
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Exit from road 865 ul. Nn