Kurucz Sándor was around 7 when, in 1938, German soldiers came to his town in what was then Czechoslovakia.
One by one, Sándor’s friends and neighbors, who were members of the Roma ethnic group, were taken away by the Einsatzgruppen, who were Nazi security forces. They were supposedly taken to check their IDs, but they never came back. By the age of 10, Sándor had seen many of his remaining neighbors murdered.
But the boy had musical talent, and the soldiers liked to listen to him play. On stage, hands trembling as he held his violin, he would witness the horrors of the German Reich, seeing Roma women led past his stage to be raped by the Nazis.
Sándor, who died in 2000, was able to survive Nazi persecution because of his music, but hundreds of thousands of Roma were murdered during the Holocaust.
Many more faced persecution, displacement, forced labor, forced medical experimentation and sterilization, violence and imprisonment.