Studio Portrait of Teresia Seibel

Studio Portrait of Theresia Seibel

Theresia Seibel, born in 1921, was a member of the Sinti froup (Sinti and Roma are two main groups that make up the Romani, or Gypsy, ethnic minority).

Theresia joined Germany’s Wuerzburg Stadttheater at age 16, performing as a singer and dancer. In 1941, she defied Gestapo orders to be sterilized and was three months pregnant with twins by the time she was called in for the procedure. She was allowed to continue the pregnancy on the condition that the babies would be given at birth to the clinic at the University of Wuerzburg, where Dr. Werner Heyde conducted research on twins. She later found one of the twins, Rolanda, lying dead in the clinic with a bandaged head, the victim of experiments with eye coloration. She grabbed the surviving twin, Rita, who was soon captured and returned to the clinic. Both mother and daughter survived the war and moved to the United States, before returning to Germany to run a Sinti human rights organization that sought to raise consciousness about the fate of Roma (Gypsies) during the Holocaust.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Rita Prigmore
View Archival Details

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.