Reinhard Florian was born in a Sinti family in Matheninken, East Prussia. He grew up there with his parents and eight sisters and brothers. He went to school for eight years until 1937. As a “Gypsy,” Reinhard Florian was not allowed to learn a trade and, like his older siblings, was assigned to forced agricultural labour.
Reinhard Florian was arrested by the Gestapo and confined in various prisons all over Germany before being deported to Bialystok ghetto and to Mauthausen concentration camp. A few months later he was taken to Gusen concentration camp, in June 1943 he was assigned to Buna/Monowitz concentration camp and, later on, to Charlottegrube labour camp, where he had to work in a coal mine until January 1945.
On the death march in January 1945, the SS drove Reinhard Florian as far as Loslau, and from there he was deported again, to Mauthausen. Next he was transported to the Melk and Ebensee subcamps. He suffered a lot from tuberculosis and starvation. After liberation he went to Bayreuth. He learned that, besides his father, only one of his eight brothers and sisters had survived the war. He talked about his experiences in a book published by the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in 2012. He died in 2014.