ROMANI HISTORY IN GERMANY AND NEIGHBORING LANDS: A CHRONOLOGY TO THE HOLOCAUST AND BEYOND
Le nacij vi kam-gazosarenas Ĺˇove miljonone Rromen te ala sas Ĺˇov miljoja Rroma
(â€śThe Nazis would have gassed six million Romanies too, if there had been six million Romaniesâ€ť)
1407: First appearance of Romanies in Germany, in Hildesheim.
1414: Second possible appearance of Romanies in Germany, in Hesse.
1416: First anti-Romani law issued in Germany. Forty-eight such laws are passed between this date and 1774.
1417: First detailed description of arrival and appearance of Romanies in Germany.
1418: Arrival documented in Hamburg.
1419: Arrival documented in Augsburg.
1428: Arrival documented in Switzerland.
1449: Romanies driven out of Frankfurt-am-Main.
1496: Romanies accused of being foreign spies, carriers of the plague, and traitors to Christendom, at the Reichstag meetings this year, and in 1497 and 1498, in Freiburg and Landau. These charges are repeated frequently over the following centuries.
1498: New anti-Romani laws issued by the Freiburg Diet.
1500: Maximilian I orders all Romanies to be out of Germany by Easter, 1501. Cases are on record of Germans who killed Romanies being protected by this law, which stated that â€śtaking the life of a Romani . . . did not act against the policy of the state.â€ť A general order is issued at Augsburg stating that Romani men may be shot and their women raped if found in Germany.
1514: Switzerland encourages â€śGypsy huntsâ€ť among its citizens as a means of urging Romanies to leave the country.
1531: The Augsburg Reichstag forbids Romanies the use of travel documents, in order to make re-entry impossible once banished. This method is being used in modem-day Poland.
1566: Ferdinand I maintains expulsion and extermination orders; two Romanies were drowned in the Elbe for violating this order in Dresden.
1568: Pope Pius V banishes all Romanies from the realm of the Holy Roman Church.
1579: Augustus, elector of Saxony, confiscates Romaniesâ€™ travel permits and banishes them from the state.
1580: Governments encourage Romani hunts in Switzerland.The Netherlands and Germany.
1652: Townspeople in Bautzen are fined by the local magistrate for doing business with Romanies.
1659: Mass murder of Romanies in Neudorf, near Dresden.
1661: Elector Johann Georg II of Saxony imposes penalty on Romanies found in his territory. â€śRomani huntsâ€ť instigated as means of exterminating Romani population.
1709: Romanies apprehended for any reason, whether criminal or not, were to be sent to the galleys or deported, according to a law in the district of Ober-Rhein.
1710: Frederick I of Prussia condemns all male Romanies to forced labor, and women to be whiprfcd and branded, and their children permanently placed with white families.
1714: An order is issued in Mainz in this year sending all male Romanies apprehended to the gallows, and requiring the branding and whipping of women and children. Frederick Augustus, Elector of Saxony, orders the murder of any Romani resisting arrest.
1721: Emperor Karl VI orders extermination of Romanies.
1722: In Frankfurt-am-Main Romani parents are branded and deported while their children arc taken from them and placed permanently with non-Romani families. During this period, Friedrich Wilhelm makes it a hanging offense in Prussia merely to be bom a Romani for all those above the age of eighteen. A thousand armed Romanies confront German soldiery in an organized fight for their freedom. Nineteen Romanies arrested at Kaswasser are tortured to death: four broken on the wheel, three beheaded and the rest shot or stabbed to death.
1725: An edict from King Frederick William I of Prussia condemns all Romanies throughout the land eighteen years or older, to be hanged.
1726: Johann Weissenbruch describes wholesale murder on November 14th and 15th, of a community of Romanies in Germany: five were broken on the wheel, eleven were beheaded, and nine hung. In the Netherlands during this period, â€śGypsy huntsâ€ť were organized nation-wide in order to expel them from the land. German monarch Charles VI passes a law that any male Romani found in the country was to be killed instantly, while Romani women and children were to have their ears cut off and be whipped to the nearest foreign border.
1736: Document relating punishment of a runaway Romani slave in Siebenburgen. He has his feet burned in lye, and his lip cut off which he is forced to roast and eat in front of his owners.
1740: All Romanies entering Bohemia are to be hung by decree.
1782: Two hundred Romaies are arrested and tortured until they confess to charges of cannibalism, in Esabrag, Frauenmark and Kamesa in Hungary.
1783: Heinrich Grellmann publishes the first treatise establishing the Indian origin of the Romani people, but claims in it that in doing his research among them, he felt a â€śclear repugnancy, like a biologist dissecting some nauseating, crawling thing in the interests of science.â€ť
1793: Establishment attitudes are further expressed by the minister Martinus Zippel who writes that â€śGypsies in a well-ordered state in the present day are like vermin on an animalâ€™s body.â€ť
1830: Using the method introduced by Maria Theresa in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the previous century, authorities in Nordhausen attempt to bring about the eventual extinction of the Romani population by forcibly and permanently removing children from their families for placement with non-Romanies.
1835: November 11, record of a â€śGypsy huntâ€ť for sport in Jutland, which included over 260 in the list of kills. A Rheinish landowner entered â€śa Gypsy women and her suckling babyâ€ť in his record of the hunt.
1890: (Exact date not known; early 1890s.) The Swabian parliament organizes a conference on the â€śGypsy Scumâ€ť (Das Zigeunergeschmeiss), and suggests means by which the presence of Romanies could be signalled by ringing church bells. The military is also empowered to apprehend and move Romanies on.
1899: In March, under the directorship of Alfred Dillman in Munich, Bavarian police create a special Romani affairs unit, later to be named The Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance, to regulate the lives of Romanies. Available historical documents relating to Romanies begin to be collected, particularly those pertaining to legislation and â€ścriminality.â€ť
1904: Prussian Landtag unanimously adopted a proposition to regulate Romani movement and means of livelihood.
1905: A census of all Romanies in Bavaria is taken, in which they are described as â€śa pest against which society must unflaggingly defend itself.â€ť Citizens are urged to report all Romani activity to the Gypsy Affairs office in Munich.
1906: February 17; the Prussian minister issues special instructions to the police to â€ścombat the Gypsy nuisance.â€ť A special register is started to keep a record of Romani activity.
1907: Increasing anti-Romani terrorism in Germany leads to influx of Romanies from that country into western Europe, including Britain.
1909: Recommendations coming from a policy conference on â€śthe Gypsy questionâ€ť in Hungary include the confiscation of their animals and carts, and permanent branding for purposes of identification.
1920: In Germany, psychiatrist Karl Binding and magistrate Alfred Hoche argue for the killing of those who were â€śBallastexistenzen,â€ť i.e. whose lives were seen to be simply dead weight within humanity. This included Romanies. The concept of â€śworthless lifeâ€ť becomes crucial to Nazi racist policy after 1933.
1922; In Baden, requirements are introduced that all Romanies be photographed and fingerprinted, and have documents completed on them.
1926: The Bavarian parliament brings a new law â€śto combat Gypsies, nomads and idlersâ€ť into effect, and the Provincial Criminal Commission endorses a law dated July 16 aimed at controlling the â€śGypsy Plague.â€ť In Switzerland, â€śproto-Nazi ideas of racial hygieneâ€ť are used to justify a program of forced permanent removal of Romani children from their families for placement in foster homes. This remained in effect until the mid 1980s.
1927: Legislation requiring the photographing and fingerprinting of Romanies is instituted in Prussia, where eight thousand Romanies are processed in this way. Bavaria institutes laws forbidding Romanies to travel in family groups, or to own firearms. Those over sixteen are liable for incarceration in work camps, while those without proof of Bavarian birth start being expelled from Germany. A group of Romanies in Slovakia is tried for cannibalism, which Friedman interprets as part of the growing campaign against the Romani population.
1928: After April 12, Romanies in Germany are to be placed under permanent police surveillance. The law is reaffirmed in May, 1928. These acts are in direct violation of the Weimar Constitution which guaranteed equal rights for all citizens. In the same year, Professor Hans F. Gunther writes that â€śit was the Gypsies who introduced foreign blood into Europe.â€ť
1929: April 16 and 17, the Munich Bureauâ€™s National Center jointly establishes a Division of Romani Affairs with the International Criminology Bureau (Interpol) in Vienna. Working closely together, they enforce restrictions on travel for Romanies without documents, and impose up to two yearsâ€™ detention in â€śrehabilitation campsâ€ť upon numbers of Romanies sixteen years of age or older.
1930: Recommendation is made by a Norwegian journalist that all Romanies be sterilized.
1933: On January 20 in this year, officials in Burgenland called for the withdrawal of all civil rights from Romanies, and the introduction of clubbing as a punishment. On May 26, Nazis introduce a law to legalize eugenic sterilization. On July 14, Hitlerâ€™s cabinet passes a law against the propagation of â€ślives not worthy of lifeâ€ť (Lebensunwertesleben) called â€śthe law for the prevention of hereditarily diseased offspring.â€ť It ordered sterilization for certain categories of people, â€śspecifically Gypsies and most of the Germans of black colourâ€ť (i.e. those resulting from the contact between German women and the Senegalese troops deployed by the French during the First World War to patrol the Ruhr Valley, as well as residents in Europe from German ex-colonies in Africa). The Oberwarth District Prefect submits a petition demanding that the League of Nations investigate the possibility of establishing a colony for the resettlement of European Romanies in the Polynesian islands. In September, the Reichsminister for the Interior and Propaganda initiates a round-up of â€śvagrants,â€ť including large numbers of Romanies.
1934: From January onwards, Romanies are being selected for transfer to camps for processing, which includes sterilization by injection or castration. These camps will be established at Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Sachsenhausen, Marzahn and Vennhausen during the next three years. Two laws issued in Nuremburg in July forbid Germans from marrying â€śJews, Negroes, and Gypsies.â€ť
1935: Starting on September 15, Romanies become subject to the restrictions of the Nuremberg Law for the Protection of Blood and Honour, which forbids intermarriage or sexual relationships between Aryan and non-Aryan peoples. A policy statement issued by the Nazi Party reads â€śIn Europe generally, only Jews and Gypsies come under consideration as members of an alien people.â€ť The earliest Nazi document referring to â€śthe introduction of the total solution to the Gypsy problem on either a national or an international levelâ€ť was drafted under the direction of State Secretary Hans Pfundtner of the Reichs Ministry of the Interior in March, 1936.
1936: In June and July, several hundred Romanies are transported to Dachau by order of the Minister of the Interior, as â€śdependents of the Munich Bureau (of Gypsy Affairs);â€ť attempts to escape are punishable by death. In this year. Dr. Hans Globke, Head of Service at the Ministry of the Interior for the Third Reich, who serves on the panel on racial laws, declares that â€śIn Europe, only Jews and Gypsies are of foreign blood,â€ť and race-hygienist Dr. Robert Korber writes in his book Volk und Staat that â€śThe Jews and the Gypsies are today remote from us because of their Asiatic ancestry, just as ours is Nordic.â€ť This sentiment is reiterated by Dr. E. Brandis, who wrote that â€śonly the Gypsies are to be considered as an alien people in Europe (besides the Jews).â€ť German antigypsyism becomes transnational in Europe when Interpol in Vienna establishes the International Center for Combatting the Gypsy Menace, which has grown from the earlier Bureau of Gypsy Affairs. Martin Block publishes his general study of Romanies in Leipzig, and justifies Nazi racist attitudes by speaking of the â€śnauseating Gypsy smell,â€ť and the â€śinvoluntary feeling of mistrust or repulsion one feels in their presence.â€ť The main Nazi institution to deal with Romanies, the Racial Hygiene and Population Biology and Research Unit of the Ministry of Health is established under the directorship of Dr. Robert Ritter at Berlin-Dahlem; its expressed purpose is to determine whether the Romani people are Aryans or subhumans (â€śUntermenschenâ€ť). By early 1942, Ritter has documented the genealogy of almost the entire German Romani population. In Berlin, Romanies are cleared off the streets away from public view, because of the upcoming Olympic Games.Â Pamphlets are distributed to those attending the games promoting antigypsyism among the general public.
1937: The first specific reference to â€śthe final solution of the Gypsy questionâ€ť was made by Adolf WĂĽrth of the Racial Hygiene Research Unit in September, 1937.Â An order released on December 14 stated that persons could be incarcerated on the grounds of their being inherently, as well as habitually, criminal, i.e. whether they were actually engaged in criminal activity or not, depending upon â€śgenetic makeupâ€ť and potential threat to Aryan security. By the end of this year, large-scale roundups of Romanies begin. At Buchenwald, a special camp for â€śpureâ€ť Romanies is set up, and there are Romanies incarcerated in camps in Nazi-controlled territories throughout Europe. Four hundred sent to Taucha; others end up in Mauthausen, Gusen, Dautmergen, Natzweiler, Stutthoff, Flossenberg, Salzwed, RavensbrĂĽck, Dusseldorf, Lackenbach, Westerbork, Malines and elsewhere. An SS study group recommends the mass drowning of Romanies in boats to be towed out to sea and sunk, though this is not implemented.
1938: The first official Party statement to refer to the endgĂĽltige LĂ¶sung der Zigeunerfrage was issued in March, 1938, signed by Himmler.Â His decree of May 16 ordered that the Bureau of Romani Affairs be moved from Munich to Berlin. Between June 12 and June 18, â€śGypsy clean-up weekâ€ť (ZigeuneraufraĂĽmungswoche) is in effect, and hundreds of Romanies throughout Germany and Austria are rounded up. In Mannworth in Austria, three hundred Romani farmers and vineyard owners were arrested in a single night. A decree dated September 4th forbids Romani children from attending school. After November, the same year, Jewish children can attend only Jewish, and not state, schools. On December 8th, Himmler signs a new order based upon the findings of the Office of Racial Hygiene, which had determined that Romani blood was â€śvery dangerousâ€ť to Aryan purity. Dr. Tobias Portschy, Area Commander in Styria, writes in a memorandum to Hitlerâ€™s Chancellery that â€śGypsies place the purity of the blood of German peasantry in peril,â€ť and recommended mass sterilization as a solution. The Romani problem was identified â€ścategorically as a matter of race,â€ť a statement supported in this same year by race hygienist Adolph Wurth, whose report contains the statement that â€śthe Gypsy question that we face today is above all a racial question,â€ť and Dr. Kurt Ammon, who stated that the Nazi policy â€śviews the Gypsy problem as being foremost a racial one.â€ť Himmler thereafter puts groups of Romanies at the disposal of a team of doctors for experiments on sterilization techniques. Ironically, the more Romani ancestry an individual has, the less threatening he is seen to be. Himmlerâ€™s suggestion that a number of â€śpureâ€ť Romanies be exempt and subject to the â€ślaw for the protection of historic monumentsâ€ť for future anthropologists to study is mocked, and never implemented. Romanies were categorized by percentage of Romani ancestry; if two of an individualâ€™s eight great-grandparents were even part-Romani, that individual had too much â€śGypsy bloodâ€ť to be allowed, later, to live. These criteria were twice as strict as those applying to Jews; if the criteria for determining Jewishness had been applied to Romanies, some 18,000 would have escaped death (18,000 was also the total number of Romanies in Germany at the time). Romani women married to non-Romanies and children over the age of 13 are being sent to Dusseldorf-Lierenfeld to be sterilized. Five thousand German Romanies were concentrated in the Gypsy Section of the concentration camp at Lodz.
1939: In March, instructions for carrying out the order to register and categorize Romanies are issued, which state that â€śthe aim of the measures taken by the state must be the racial separation once and for all of the Gypsy race from the German nation, then the prevention of racial mixing.â€ť Every police headquarters was to set up a unit to monitor Romani matters, and one or more persons were to be permanently responsible for Romanies. According to the minutes of a meeting organized by Heydrich on September 27, Hitler instructed that German Romanies and Jews were to be moved by rail into Poland. Following Himmlerâ€™s order of the previous December, Hitler issued a new decree dated November 17, 1939 in preparation for these transportations, forbidding all â€śGypsies and part-Gypsiesâ€ť not already in camps from moving out of their areas. Trains are reported moving east â€śpacked with Gypsiesâ€ť from the fall of 1939 on. Dr. Johannes Behrendt of the Office of Racial Hygiene issues the statement that â€śAll Gypsies should be treated as hereditarily sick; the only solution is elimination. The aim should therefore be the elimination without hesitation of this defective element in the population.â€ť In that report, he estimated that, based on Nazi research, the total world Romani population was two million, of which eighteen thousand lived in Germany. Reichs-Minister of Justice Thierack wrote to Bormann that he â€śintended to make the Reichsfuhrer SS responsible for the prosecution of Poles, Russians, Jews and Gypsies; Poles and Russians can only be prosecuted by the police if they lived in the area of the former Polish state prior to September 1. Prosecution proceedings against Jews and Gypsies, however, should be taken without observing these reservations.â€ť
1940: In January or February, 250 Romani children from Brno in the concentration camp at Buchenwald are used as guinea pigs for testing the gas Zyklon B which was later used for mass killings at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This was the first mass genocidal action of the Holocaust. Nazis in Alsace comply with an order to round up â€ścriminals, asocials, the sick, French nationalists and of course the Jews and the Gypsies.â€ť In this year, Nazi statisticians Wetzel and Hecht estimate that â€śone hundred thousand Gypsies and othersâ€ť are scheduled for deportation to Poland, and shipped between May 15-18. A law passed on August 14 forbids official employment of any kind to Romanies.
1941: An ordinance dated February 11 forbids Gypsies and â€śpart-Gypsiesâ€ť from serving in the German army â€śon the grounds of racial policy.â€ť This is repeated on July 10 the following year. On July 31 Heydrich, who had been entrusted with the details of the â€śFinal Solution,â€ť includes Romanies together with Jews: â€śThe Einsatzkommandos received the order to kill all Jews, Gypsies and mental patients.â€ť On October 10, Heydrich proposes that the German Romanies be sent to Riga with the Jews instead of being sent to Auschwitz and Chelmno in Poland. At the same meeting, the motion that Lodz be chosen as the â€śfinal destinationâ€ť for non-German-bom Romanies is approved, and between November 9 and 11, five trainloads transporting a thousand Romanies each left for that camp, where they were joined by a transpor of 20,000 Jews. Of the 5,000 Romanies deported, nearly two thirds were children; some died from typhus, others were brutalized to death by the guards. On the night of December 24, eight hundred Romani men, women and children are shot to death at Simferopol in the Crimea by the Einsatzgruppen.
1942: Shipments of Romanies to Chelmno in groups of two or three hundred begin in January, followed shortly thereafter by mass shipments of Jews to the same camp. In the Spring, Romanies were selected for experimentation at Dachau and Buchenwald by Dr. Adolf Pokorny to see how long they could survive on sea water, claiming that they â€śmust not only be conquered, but exterminated also.â€ť At Sachsenhausen race scientist Ludwig Fischer attempts to show that Romani blood is different from that of Germans, starting his medical experiments on forty Romanies. â€śAt Himmlerâ€™s request, he promised to widen his research by exploring Jewish blood also.â€ť That same Spring, one thousand Romanies were shot and buried alive in a single action on a collective farm near Smolensk. Nazi death squads enter Greece in June, murdering hundreds of Romanies. In Serbia, Military Governor Harald Turner is able to announce that â€śSerbia is the only country in which the Jewish Question and the Gypsy Question have been resolved.â€ť In the same statement he warned that â€śone must not forget that the Jews and the Gypsies generally constitute a threat to security and, as such, pose a threat to peace and public order; it is the Jewish nature which is responsible for this war and, as for the Gypsy, by his nature he can never be a useful member of international society.â€ť For each German soldier killed in war, a hundred Romanies and Jews were murdered in retribution; in Greece, fifty Romanies are murdered for each German casualty. Most Romanies in Yugoslavia are killed by the Ustashi or Croatian Fascists; figures on the numbers dispatched in this way are not complete. On July 31 the Ministry of the Eastern Occupied Territories reaffirms to the Wehrmacht that Romanies are to be treated in the same way as Jews. Romanies are being exterminated at Treblinka, Majdanek, Belsec, Sanok, Sobibor and Chelmno. In Bucharest, the policy statement that â€śfor Romania, the Gypsy question is as important as the Jewishâ€ť is published. In the minutes of a September 14th meeting Justice Minister Otto Thierack proposes that â€śJews and Gypsies should be unconditionally exterminated.â€ť Nazis begin compiling data on Romani populations in Britain and elsewhere in anticipation of eventual takeover of those countries.
1943: In February, roundup of the remaining Romanies throughout Germany takes place, and they are transported to Birkenau; the largest transport ever of Polish Romanies are brought to the same camp in March, and exterminated within the first month. Dutch Romanies begin being transported to Auschwitz.
1944: Eva Justinâ€™s book dealing with Romani children is published. In it she expresses the hope that it will serve as a basis for future race hygiene laws regulating such â€śunworthy primitive elements.â€ť SS Reichsphysician Ernst Grawitz rejects Pokomyâ€™s use of Romanies as subjects for sea-water experiments â€śfor racial reasons.â€ť In the early morning hours of August 4, 2,900 Romanies at Auschwitz-Birkenau are killed and cremated in one mass action referred to as Zigeunernacht.
1945: War ends on September 2 with the surrender of Japan. The Nuremberg Trials begin in October, though not one Romani is called to testify in behalf of his own people. Current estimates now indicate that between one and a one and a half million Romanies died during the period 1933-1945. If this estimate, and Behrendtâ€™s (certainly low) official Nazi estimate for the world total are correct, between 50 and 75 percent of the entire Romani population in Nazi-controlled Europe has perished at the hands of the Nazis, victims of racist genocidal policy. This may be compared with the 5,700,000-6,000,000 Jewish deaths out of a then total world population of eighteen million, or roughly thirty-three percent.
1947: At the Nuremberg Military Tribunals in September, former SS General Otto Ohiendorf tells Presiding Judge Michael A. Musmanno that in the killing campaigns, â€śThere was no difference between Gypsies and Jews.â€ť As late as this date, Romani survivors from the camps are afraid to show themselves publicly because pre-Nazi laws arc still in effect which would put them back into detention centers if they are unable to show documentation of German birth.
1950: The WĂĽrttemburg Ministry of the Interior issues a statement that judges hearing restitution claims should bear in mind that â€śGypsies were persecuted under the National Socialist regime not for any racial reason, but because of an asocial and criminal record.â€ť Members of the shattered postwar remnants of the surviving Romani population lack the wherewithal legally to challenge this preposterous statement, and no outside agency comes forward to take up the Romani case. Commenting on this at the time, medical genealogist Professor Montandon in Paris observed that â€śeveryone despises Gypsies, so why exercise restraint? Who will avenge them? Who will complain? Who will bear witness?â€ť
1968: In Birmingham, England, in a political debate broadcast in March, a speaker maintains that â€śthere are some of these Gypsies you can do nothing with, and you must exterminate the impossibles; we are dealing with people whom members of this council would not look upon as human beings in the normal sense.â€ť A similar call for â€śexterminationâ€ť is made again in Britain in 1984. In the same country in October, the Sundon Park Tenantsâ€™ Association Report includes the statement that â€śthere is no solution to the Gypsy problem short of mass murder.â€ť
1971: Although the war crime victims are to be compensated under the terms of the Bonn Convention, the Bonn government frees itself from its responsibility to Romanies by claiming that their disposition was strictly on the grounds of security.
1973: In November, a villager in Pfaffenhofen opens fire upon a Romani family which has come to his farm to buy produce, killing three. The sympathies of the police are with the farmer.
1980: West German government spokesman Gerold Tandler calls Romani demands for war crimes reparations â€śunreasonableâ€ť and â€śslander[ous].â€ť The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council is established in Washington and 65 members are appointed, though no Romanies are invited to be a part of the representation. In Poland, groups of Romanies are forcibly deported by boat after having documents allowing their return confiscated.
1983: In evidence of a new wave of anti-Romani racism in Hungary, a song calling for their extermination by flame-thrower for a â€śGypsy-free landâ€ť becomes popular, and the slogan â€śKill the Gypsiesâ€ť is found decorating public walls.
1984: The Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council tells the Washington Post in July that Romani demands for representation are â€ścockamamie,â€ť and questions whether Romanies really constitute a distinct ethnic people. Council liaison officers tell the press that Romani activists are â€ścranksâ€ť and â€śeccentrics.â€ť
1985: In Germany Werner Nachman, President of the Jewish Central Council, repeatedly refuses to allow Romani participation in a ceremony commemorating the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. At the same time, Darmstadt city mayor GĂĽnther Metzger tells the German Council of Sinti and Roma that it had â€śinsulted the honourâ€ť of the memory of the Holocaust by wishing to be associated with it. Apartheid laws are introduced in Bradford, England, making it illegal for Romanies to come within city limits without a permit. In Sweden, â€śpolice watched from a patrol car as fifty youths attacked a Gypsy family with stones and a firebomb, in Kumla.â€ť Authorities in Yugoslavia arrest a gang of kidnappers which has been abducting children from defenseless Romani families for sale abroad to Italians and Americans, or to be trained as thieves in Rome and Paris.
1986: A report is issued by the German Ministry of Finance which concludes that â€śall those victimized by Nazism have been adequately compensated . . . the circle of those deserving compensation need not be extended any further.â€ť The Romani Union is informed by the Office of Presidential Appointments that none of its eight candidates for membership in the Holocaust Memorial Council was successful. â€śProto-Nazi ideas of race hygieneâ€ť in Switzerland come to public attention in June, when it is learned that since 1926 a state-run foundation has been forcibly and permanently removing Romani and Traveller children from their families for placement in non-Romani homes, the intention being to destroy the Romani way of life. In October, the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Human Rights sends a petition to the government of Czechoslovakia protesting its policy of coercive sterilization of Romani women and the forcible permanent removal of Romani children from their families. The response from the Czech government was that â€ś[it] was the Gypsiesâ€™ fault for refusing to let their children be civilized.â€ť
1987: In February, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council holds an international conference on â€śOther Victimsâ€ť of Nazism, which includes a panel on the Romani situation, though no Romanies are invited to participate in its organization, or are included in the program. The first Romani representative is appointed in May by President Reagan to the Council. Despite this, Romanies continue consistently to be excluded from participation in the Annual Days of Remembrance ceremonies every year, and are still being excluded in 1990.
1988: In February the East German government announces its resolution to pay $100 million in war crimes reparations to Jewish survivors, but refuses to pay anything to Romani survivors. Werner Nachman (1985, above) is charged with stealing $20 million from a reparations fund set up by the West German government; â€śthe Government would not start disbursing a new fund of 300 million marks until Mr. Nachman had accounted for the 400 million and interest by the end of 1988. The new fund was also intended to compensate Gypsies.â€ť Nachman dies suddenly, and this is never paid. An Irish councillor calls for the incineration of Romanies in a garbage dump. In Hungary, street gangs are beating up Romanies, although â€śpolice are giving the violence against Gypsies low priority.â€ť The California State Board of Education votes not to include information on Romanies in the Holocaust in its Model Curriculum on Human Rights and Genocide published this year for use throughout the school system. The Capitol Childrenâ€™s Museum in Washington, DC, established as â€śa tribute to the victims of the Nazis,â€ť adamantly refuses to include Romanies. In October the Munich city council announces plans to forcibly relocate Romanies to a containment centre on the site of an earlier Nazi deportation and slave-labour camp. The area is a toxic waste dump, is surrounded by barbed wire, and will have guards and guard dogs posted. In Austria, on the anniversary of the AnschlĂĽss, Romani survivors tell a London Times reporter that they are still haunted by fears of recurrent Nazi persecutions.
1989: As West Germany welcomes incoming refugees from East Germany, officials are moving to deport several thousand Romanies from their country, some of whom have lived there for thirty years. To avoid deportation, the Romanies were obliged to seek refuge in an abandoned concentration camp at Neuengamme, near Hamburg, where they have no food or sanitation and where they have been attacked and evicted by riot police and dogs; numbers of Romanies, including mothers with their babies, were wounded. This prompted a letter of protest from the U.S. House of Representatives to Chancellor Helmut Kohl who replied that â€śthe federal government does not deem it necessary or expedient to introduce special rules for this category of personsâ€ť whose â€śsituation cannot be comparedâ€ť with that of German refugees. Chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council Harvey Meyerhoff refuses to sign a petition protesting this, which had been drawn up by the one Romani member of the Council. He is told by Mr. Meyerhoff that he is not there to represent Romanies. Several other members do sign the petition. For the first time ever, the national press, in Newsweek, acknowledges the extent of Romani losses in the Holocaust: â€śGermany had exterminated roughly 70 percent of Europeâ€™s Jews and an even higher percentage of its Gypsies.â€ť In Spain, reports come of â€śextreme racism in some towns in Andalucia, where people wanting to expel Gypsies are lynching some, in the towns of Pegalajar and Torredonjimeno in Saens County.â€ť In Romania, fifty Romanies are shot and killed by border guards after having fled from that country only to be turned back by Hungarian officials. Others were wounded in separate incidents involving Yugoslavian border officials.
1990: In February, East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow announces that his government will â€śprovide material support to Jewish victims of the Holocaust,â€ť forty years after West Germany made the same pledge. On April 12, the East German Government released a statement apologizing for the â€śimmeasurable sorrowâ€ť the National Socialist regime had inflicted upon its victims, including Romanies, but â€śwhile the world celebrates the changes in Eastern Europe, the traditional Gypsy role of scapegoat is already being resurrected in countries like Romania and Hungary.â€ť â€śCollective rights for minorities such as . . . Gypsies remains as elusive as ever.â€ť One account from Romania, whose Romani minority is officially reported as 2.3 million but is unofficially estimated to be closer to â€śsix million, more that a quarter of the population,â€ť tells of treatment at the hands of CeauĹźescuâ€™s militia where Romanies were first starved then brutalized: â€śWe were stripped naked, our legs and hands were tied and we were made to lean on a table. Then they beat our backs using a rubber hose with iron nuts which they had taken from a tractor.â€ť Reports since CeauĹźescuâ€™s deposition confirm that brutality against Romanies has increased sharply in Romania where, in the city of Reghin, pogroms directed at Romanies have led to their homes being burnt to the ground and men, women and children being dragged to the local cemetery and brutally beaten. In Czechoslovakia and Hungary, street gangs are terrorizing and killing Romanies; in the latter country Romanies are being denied entrance into stores and bus drivers now alert their passengers over the public address system whenever Romanies board their vehicles. At a governmental session on May 5 in Bremerhaven, Democratic Peopleâ€™s Union representative Wilhelm Schmidt, commenting upon the murder of Romanies in the Third Reich, announced for the record that â€śit is a pity that only so few were killed.â€ť In Recklinghausen a â€śCitizensâ€™ Patrolâ€ť as organized by State Parliament member Marr MĂĽller to keep Romanies out of the town. On March 19, British Conservative Councillor Tookey stated in a public address that she wanted to see â€śthe filthy, dirty Gypsies recycled and dumped into the sea,â€ť following a similar public statement by the Mayor of Dartford, in Kent, that Romanies be â€śpushed over the White Cliffs of Dover.â€ť A campaign announcement appearing in a British Conservative Party periodical read â€śGypsies: Filth: Crime: One day after the election, we promise to move them OUT.â€ť In June, specialist in â€śRomani crimeâ€ť Detective Dennis Marlock told American viewers of the nationally-broadcast Geraldo Rivera Show that Romanies had not evolved as a people to the point where they could distinguish between right and wrong â€ślike the rest of us,â€ť and that those who became â€śprofessors, musicians and other professionalsâ€ť were no longer Gypsies, a point reaffirmed by specialist on Romanies Professor John Dowling of Marquette University on the same program. It is revealed that between 75% and 80% of the children suffering in the Romanian orphanages where they are dying of AIDS and hepatitis are Romani children, although no attention is drawn to this in the American media. The long-awaited Encyclopedia of the Holocaust is published, but devotes just three and a half of its 2,000 pages (a quarter of a percent of its total) to the Porrajmos and provides the figure of Romani losses as 200,000. Yehuda Bauer interprets current â€śanti-Gypsy sentimentâ€ť in Europe as being â€śin competitionâ€ť with â€śradical anti-Semitismâ€ť there. Gross anti-Romani atrocities were reported in the 1990 Country Report on Human Rights prepared for the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on page 1262 which at the same place indicates that â€śno incidents of anti-Semitic violence were reported.â€ť A more recent account of the murder of Romanies in Romania was published on pp. 12-13 of the March 4th, 1991 issue of the New Republic. At the Rom and Cinti Union International Congress, held in MĂĽlheim in November, the foundation was laid for the establishment and instigation of the new European Romani Parliament (EUROM) which is intended to rank with the combined governments of the New Europe after 1992. At that congress, a roster of human rights violations against the Romani minority from Romania was released to the press that reported that during 1990 the brutalizing, rape, incarceration and murder of Romanies in that country were monthly occurrences. A typical statement reads: â€śIn Lingu, three homes were burned down on February 1st; in the same month in Satu Mare, several Gypsy families were killed and their homes burnt to the ground.â€ť In Czechoslovakia, two non-Romani foreigners were mistaken for Romanies and beaten to death, while in Slovakia, Romanies were prevented from voting in Slovakian towns, and no polling stations provided in the Romani ghettos. In eastern Hungary, several hundred white skinhead gang members attacked a Romani village and wounded nearly all of its inhabitants, including women and children. On November 5th, the German government signed an agreement with Yugoslavia for that country to accept back Romani refugees being deported from Germany. In December, Germany announces the signing of an agreement with the Soviet Union to accept Jewish refugees from that country. A book containing the edited papers from the â€śOther Victimsâ€ť conference sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in 1987 is published, in which it is reiterated that â€śGypsies shared much but not all of the horrors assigned to the Jewsâ€”Even though the Gypsies were subject to gassing and other forms of extermination, the number of Gypsies was not as vast . . .â€ť (Berenbaum, 1990:33).
1991: At a January meeting of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Councilâ€™s Annual Days of Remembrance planning committee, when asked by committee member William Duna when Romanies would ever be included as well, chairman Benjamin Meed replied â€śask me again in about twenty years.â€ť On January 25th, the London Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that â€śErnst-August Koenig was convicted in what was termed as the first trial to recognize that Gypsies as well as Jews were victims of genocide during the Third Reich.â€ť