85 years since the Great Roma Exclusion - November 26, 1935

On November 26 marks the 85th anniversary of the ′′ big exclusion ′′ of German Roma and Sinti - on this date in 1935 they were deprived of civil rights and the path to genocide was discovered. How did it get there?

With his coming to power in 1933 national socialists began to gradually exclude Roma and synth from all spheres in Germany. In its first stage, this policy aimed at isolating, closing and dehumanizing them. They were gradually deprived of income and civil rights and eventually found themselves in a helpless and desperate state. The next stage was the deportation of Roma and Synthes from Germany to occupied Poland, and the last stage occurred after the ′′ final decision ′′ was taken to destroy them together with the Jews.

Back in 1933, the state passed a series of laws against the ′′ associate ′′ groups in society, such as beggars, hobos, alcoholics, etc. Their target was generally determined by social indication, but they were also used against part of the Roma and synth at the discretion of the authorities. Only at a later stage did the measures affect the ′′ integrated ′′ Roma and synthesis, which were not particularly different from the German population. These people had nice houses and permanent professions and at first did not realize the threat of national socialism. Many of them even welcomed the new Nazi power together with their German neighbors, friends and colleagues. This applies, by the way, to much of the Germanized Jews in the first years of the regime. Still no one imagined how far Hitler's madness would go.

What changed in Germany? German citizens, who were classified as ′′ gypsies ′′ were allowed to go outside only at certain hours of the day and shop only from certain stores. They were prohibited to use public transport in a number of German cities. The access of Roma and sinti to cafes, restaurants, cinemas and theaters was limited. Their containers no longer had to come up with reasons to keep them from letting them in, now it was an official state policy. Landlords were forced by local authorities not to give property to gypsies and terminate existing contracts with them. Doctors massively refused to treat Roma and sinti, they did not allow them in hospitals. They could only visit strictly certain hospitals, usually those who were for the Jews. Doctors often reported to police which of their patients looked like Roma to them. Roma children in schools were subjected to persistent abuse, insults and even beating by teachers and classmates. Teachers also reported who the Roma students were in their classes. Roma children were banned from even playing on playgrounds because they were already only for German children, banning signs were also installed. The police also became very brutal and rarely Roma were beaten and arrested without occasion. Of course, there were well-intentioned Germans, but there were very few, the majority of the population welcomed national politics towards minorities and foreigners with approval.

When pushing its anti-Roma politics, the state relied on strong media propaganda. After the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship, the press came under the control of the Nazi Party. The main focus of propaganda was on anti-Semitism, but in a number of newspapers and magazines such as ′′ Volk un Rasse ′′ was pointed out to readers and ′′ the danger of gypsies ". They were described in terrible terms that sound even more terrible in German and no point in mentioning them here. In general, Roma were described as ′′ primitive ", racially incomplete, as disease carriers and as a burden to Germany's economy, at the same time emphasized their high birth rates.

There is one important difference here with the previous regime. Anticiganism also existed in Weimar Germany, both at scientific and legislative levels. But under the old regime, the main thesis was that ′′ gypsies ′′ could not integrate, now it was claimed that they should not integrate at all, and those who have integrated should already be removed from German society to prevented racial ′′ mixing ". Exactly, so nazi scientists considered ′′ mixed gypsies ′′ the biggest danger and made a great deal of effort to discover them (with what ′′ Gypsy blood ′′ was dangerous for Germans is a topic that deserves self-examination). Sterilization of ′′ gypsies ′′ and ′′ semi-gypsies ′′ was applied to prevent their sexual contacts with Germans and stop their growth.

In order to protect German blood on 15.09.1935 the Reichstag adopted two special laws against the Jews in Nuremberg and on 26.11.1935 their scope was expanded to encompass the ′′ gypsies ′′ and ′′ negroes ". The first law prohibited mixed marriages and marriages declared invalid, it was the Law on the Protection of German Blood and German Honor. He led to thousands of dissolved mixed marriages of Jews and Roma with Germans, to great family drama and to many suffering children. The second law envisaged the deprivation of these categories of civil rights people - German Citizenship Law. Only the ′′ Aryans ′′ could be German citizens. In this way, the principle of equality before the law was denied and a separate legal regime was created for Jews and ′′ Gypsies ′′ which made the Holocaust possible further. They could no longer rely on protection of their own country because it declared them ′′ enemies ′′ and would treat them just as such from now on.

The question of how to separate the ′′ Gypsies ′′ from the ′′ Aryans ′′ came to help the ′′ experts ′′ such as Dr. Robert Ritter and Eva Justin. The following year 1936, a Research Center for Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology was established in the Public Health Service, led by Dr. Ritter, with a task to explore the ′′ Gypsy issue ′′ in some German universities and scientific institutes, it has long been working in this one direction and had gained ′′ valuable experience ". Stepping on this experience, Dr. Ritter's team conducted terrain studies among Roma and managed to gather a huge base of anthropological, biometric and other data and even create family trees of thousands of ′′ gypsies ", to reach their ′′ hidden ′′ relatives - those who assimilated and mixed marriage children. In this way, people who didn't even realize they had a Gypsy great-grandfather or a Gypsy great grandmother also found themselves on the lists of ′′ semi-gallery ′′ and hence under the strokes of racial laws.

Scientists from this center concluded that 90 % of German Roma and Synthetic researched were mixed-origin, and only about 10 % were ′′ pure gypsies ". There were different suggestions on how to deal with these people. Heinrich Himmler, for example, had the idea of ′′ clean gypsies ′′ being isolated in some reservation outside Germany, similar to Indian reserves in the United States. It is unclear what Adolf Hitler himself thought about this issue. Eventually, it came to the decision that all German Roma and Synthes should be deported. First, people were imprisoned in temporary camps near larger German cities, with a slightly freer regime. Some of them came Christian missionaries who saw the opportunity to preach there, besides them came racial hygiene researchers like Eve Justin, everyone did their ′′ work ". From there after 1939 deportations to concentration camps in occupied Poland began, finally most of the deported Roma and Sintas found their deaths there and very few experienced the Holocaust. And those who survived did not want to remember.

These people were betrayed by their home country, excluded, segregated, persecuted, deported, subjected to medical experiments and killed in all kinds of ways - this was the tragedy of German Roma and Sinti. This tragedy continued after the war, because German courts refused to recognize these people as prosecuted for racial reasons and awarded compensation, until 1982, after a very long and difficult struggle, the German government acknowledged that Roma and synths were also victims of the Holocaust.