For almost unexplainable reasons, the Nazis had let them roam almost freely throughout the war. Himmler exempted two tribes in 1942, and
Their special status did not mean that they were totally left alone. They were the first to be commandeered for this or that public works project. Also, they were forced to work in all manner of factories during the war years, which ironically made them very valuable and talented. Their reputation and skills had gone so far as to reach the Soviet Union. At the end of the last war a detachment of NKVD troops had sought them out on
Everyone in his group thought the end was near. Two men from his group, of over a thousand, tried to flee and then fight back. They were not killed, however. They were just caught, punished, and put back in the group. It was understood that if they tried again, they would be killed.
When the group arrived at Bergkristall, they were met by a huge man everyone just called Georgie. Once Georgie looked at you, you did not attempt to run or cause trouble again. He didn’t even have to say anything. You knew from his gaze what would happen if you tried again.
At the end of World War Two, the Americans reached Bergkristall first, and looted all they could before the Soviets took over by a negotiated agreement after two weeks.
The Lalleri Gypsies were to become the most valuable factory workers in the Soviet Union.
In a world of brute strength and back breaking physical labor, these people were almost useless. In a world of science, they were
[i] - Gypsies Under the Swastika By Donald Kenrick, Grattan Puxon
[ii] - St. Georgen - Gusen - Mauthausen: Concentration Camp Mauthausen Reconsidered By Rudolf A.