What happened to the Roma during World War II

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Traces of the Nazi era

Persecution during the Nazi era

With the beginning of the Nazi regime, the persecution of Sinti and Roma for racist reasons began.

1933 the "Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Offspring" was passed, which provided for the compulsory sterilization of people. Racial researchers like Robert Ritter later relied on this law as the basis for sterilization.

1935 The decree of the Nuremberg Laws affected Sinti and Roma as well as Jews. The "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor", for example, banned them from marriages with "German-blooded persons". Sinti, Roma and Jews lost their German citizenship through legislation.

From the mid-thirties camps were set up by many cities in which Sinti and Roma were interned and had to do forced labor. Those who were initially allowed to stay at their place of residence had to accept increasingly severe restrictions, for example professional bans, prohibition of using certain means of transport, shops and cultural institutions. In 1941 Sinti children were expelled from school, and in 1942 Sinti and Roma were dismissed from the Wehrmacht for "racial reasons".

1936 the "Racial Hygiene and Population Biological Research Center" was set up in the Reich Health Office under the direction of Robert Ritter. By 1944, Ritter and his staff had written around 24,000 reports on Sinti and Roma, including the Mulfingen children. The reports served as the basis for sterilization and later the murder in Auschwitz. Police, church and local authorities provided the race researchers with documents for the work.

1938 the "Reich Central Office for Combating the Gypsy Abuse" was set up, followed in December by Himmler's circular on the "Regulation of the Gypsy Question from the Essence of Race".

From October 1939 Sinti and Roma were no longer allowed to leave their place of residence or their current whereabouts and had to go to the local police

In May 1940 the first family-wide mass deportations began in ghettos and concentration camps in Poland.

1942 With Himmler's "Auschwitz Decree", the police were instructed to send all Sinti and Roma, including the so-called "Gypsy hybrids", to concentration camps, "regardless of the degree of mixed race".

From 1943 Thousands of Sinti and Roma were deported to Auschwitz, where they were housed in the so-called "Gypsy camp". Of the more than 20,000 people who were imprisoned there, more than two thirds died of starvation, illness and abuse by the SS guards.

May 12, 1944 the children from the St. Josefsflege in Mulfingen arrived here.

August 3, 1944 all 2,897 Sinti and Roma who were still alive at the time were gassed, including the 35 Sinti children from Mulfingen.

A total of around half a million Sinti and Roma were murdered across Europe.