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"Zigeuner"  
AsimovsSeptemberOctober2017
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Asimov's Science Fiction
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publication date August, 2017

"Zigeuner" is a short story by Harry Turtledove, first published in the September/October issue of Asimov's Science Fiction in August, 2017. "Zigeuner" is an alternate history story, set in October, 1944 of a somewhat different World War II.



Joseph Stieglitz is a Hauptsturmführer of the SS, stationed in Hungary, not long after Germany has replaced Miklos Horthy with Ferenc Szálasi. Stieglitz is hopeful that Szálasi and his Arrow Cross Party will be motivated to fight off the Red Army, which has just crossed the country's eastern border. In the meantime, Stieglitz is tasked with rounding up a village of Romani people, the titular Zigeuner in western Hungary. While these actions are consistent with the Nazi Party's OTL efforts to exterminate the Roma, Turtledove reveals the alternate history at play when a Hungarian driver describes Adolf Hitler's service on the Eastern Front of World War I.

As Stieglitz arranges for the Romani village to be placed on a train for Poland, and, implicitly, their deaths, he further reflects on Hitler's antiziganism, which developed on the Eastern Front in part because of the efforts of Romani on behalf of Russia. Moreover, Hitler became sympathetic to the Jews after watching the Russians abuse them. Thus, in this timeline, the Nazis are actually accepting of the Jews, while the Romani, Bolsheviks, and homosexuals are the focus of Hitler's wrath.

The story ends with the whole village being deported. Stieglitz is revealed to be a Jew, but not terribly religious. He encounters a field rabbi, who reminds Stieglitz that their people have been made to suffer much as the Romani have, and that Stieglitz could have just as easily wound up on the train. Stieglitz angrily threatens the rabbi, and then goes about his business.