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The Detention Camp in Dubnica nad Váhom

The persecution of the Slovak Roma peaked in the years 1944 and 1945. For the Roma, this was the most difficult period of the War. The Gypsy Detention Camp was created in place of the former labour crew in Dubnica nad Váhom. The camp was established by the Ministry of National Defense and was a part of its structures. This Gypsy Detention Camp was one of its kinds in Slovakia. It was a de facto concentration camp -- the Roma were sent there from across the entire country with their whole families.

Shortly after its establishment, the number of inmates was already much higher than the capacity of the camp. In December 1944, there were more than 700 people interned in Dubnica nad Vahom. The living situation in the camp was very cruel. Extremely cold weather and poor hygienic conditions affected the health of the elderly and children. Although there was a doctor in the camp, his task was extremely difficult. Due to the ongoing war, medications and other health care supplies lacked throughout all of Slovakia. The situation was even more critical in the camp and created difficulties in treating even minor illnesses. Children were especially affected, dying of illnesses such as pneumonia. However, the greatest death toll was caused by typhus epidemics. During January 1945 several inmates and one guard fell ill with typhus. This led to unrests in the camp as well as in the nearby town. The Roma started to escape from the camp, which caused distress among the civilians fearing the spread of the illness. The Ministry of National Defense forbade sending more inmates, and the camp was put into quarantine. At this time, the German army took control of the camp, and decided to solve the epidemic for once and for all. On February 23, 1945, under the pretence of transporting the sick people to a hospital, they put them on a truck, took them to a local weapon factory, and murdered them.

Dubnica 04
The list of names from a mass grave in the Dubnica Valley is daunting. Remains of 26 people were found in this mass grave. The brutality with which these people were murdered is also shocking. An exhumation shed more light on this mass murder: Among those 26 killed, there were 19 men, a fifteen years old boy, and six women (one of which was in her seventh month of pregnancy). Only 18 out of these 26 people were hit by bullets and even most of these were not death shots. The rest were buried alive in a mass grave.
After the quarantine was over, it was impossible to bring the camp back to its original state. A front was near, and the camp was left without guards. When the inmates found out about this, they escaped. The remainder of the camp’s inventory that was not confiscated by the Germans, was taken by soldiers and civilians from Dubnica and its surroundings. After the front passed, one building in which the Roma had been incarcerated was lit on fire and the other buildings were torn down by the company Lozovský a Štefanec, which owned these premises. The camp was perfectly demolished, as if it had never existed.

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