Giving Memory A Future
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Sinti and Roma 1900-1930


At the beginning of the 20th century, the public policies adopted by European governments towards Roma and Sinti  were characterized, for the most part, by a profound indifference.

However, with the Germans, one can justifiably refer to their attitude  as a real institutional aversion. For example, in Bavaria, in 1899, the Land Police were instructed to proceed with the racial profiling and systematic surveillance of the movements of individual groups. Just a few years later, in a crescendo of repressive activities , a Central Registry of Gypsies was instituted, similar, on many counts, to that used for habitual and repeat offenders.

In 1911, the authorities proceeded to finger-print the Gypsies, while all aspects of their social lives were subject to preventive surveillance.(Claudio Vercelli)


  • Germany 1886: Chancellor Bismarck orders the competent authorities to expel all foreign Romani communities to rid the area of the "Gypsy scourge." 1899: Police Headquarters for Information and Surveillance of Romani communities established in Munich. 1904: Dr. Ploetz founds the Archives of Race Theory and Social Biology...

  • Italy 1856: Cesare Lombroso publishes L'uomo delinquente.
    : Various directives are issued by the Ministry of the Interior to Prefects and Police commissioners concerning "the Gypsies," dictated by virtue of "public safety and public hygiene"...

  • Other European Countries 1855: Francia, J. A. de Gobineau publishes An Essay of the Inequality of the Human Races. 1872-99: The Roma are expelled from Belgium, Germany and Denmark...

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Historical Documents