E3 Escape from persecution
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Roma, Johann Baranyai, was deported from his place of work in Lower Austria to the so-called “Lackenbach Gypsy Camp”. There, he had to perform forced labour on road construction projects. In 1943, he and a friend fled across the nearby border to Hungary. Without papers, he secretly returned to the German Reich. In Germany, he found work in agriculture and later in a bakery. In order to avoid arrest, he volunteered for the German Wehrmacht’s armoured forces in 1944. After being seriously wounded at the front, he was eventually taken prisoner by the Soviets. In 1945, at the age of 19, he escaped from the military hospital and thus avoided deportation to Russia.