1920 to 1931

 1921. The new Czechoslovak Republic recognises Roma as a separate "nationality." This legislation is later repealed.

1922. In Baden, requirements are introduced that all Roma and Sinti be photographed and fingerprinted, and have documents completed on them.

1923. In Bulgaria, the Romani journal Istiqbal (Future) commences publication.

1924. In Slovakia, a group of Roma are tried for cannibalism.  They are found innocent.

1925. The Soviet Romani Writers' Association in the Soviet Union is founded, then suppressed.

A conference is held on the Gypsy question, at which Bavaria proposes a law to compulsorily settle Roma and Sinti, and to incarcerate those not regularly employed (referred to as arbeitscheu or "work shy") to work camps for up to two years, for reasons of "public security." This applies equally to settled and non-settled Roma.

1926. The Swiss Pro Juventute Foundation begins, "in keeping with the theories of eugenics and progress," to take children away from Roma without their consent, to change their names, and to put them into foster homes. This program continues until 1973, and is not brought to light until the 1980s. Switzerland has apologized to the Roma, but adamantly refuses to allow them access to the records which will help them locate the children taken from them.

On July 16th, The Bavarian "Law for Combatting Gypsies, Vagabonds and Idlers" proposed at the 1925 conference is passed. It is justified in the legislative assembly thus: "[Gypsies] are by nature opposed to all work, and find it especially difficult to tolerate any restriction of their nomadic life; nothing, therefore, hits them harder than loss of liberty, coupled with forced labor." The law requires the registration of all Roma and Sinti, settled or not, with the police, registry office and unemployment agency in each district. Bavarian State Counselor Hermann Reich praises "the enactment of the Gypsy law. . . This law gives the police the legal hold it needs for thorough-going action against this constant danger to the security of the nation."

1927. Steve Kaslov founds the Roma Red Dress Association in the United States; Kaslov meets with President Franklin Roosevelt for support of Romani rights.

In Czechoslovakia, law no.117 prohibits Romani nomadism and bars nomads from "leading the life of Gypsies." Roma identity cards are introduced for. Children under fourteen may be taken from their families and placed in children's homes or with respectable families.

R. L. Turner proves that the phonetics of the Romani language had earlier been linked with the central group of Hindi languages in India.

On November 3rd, a Prussian ministerial decree is issued requiring all Roma to be registered through documentation "in the same manner as individuals being sought by means of wanted posters, witnesses, photographs and fingerprints." Infants are to be fingerprinted, and those over the age of six to carry identity cards bearing their photograph as well. Between November 23rd and 26th, armed raids are carried out by the police on Roma communities throughout Prussia to enforce the decree of November 3rd. Eight thousand are processed as a result.

Bavaria institutes a law forbidding Roma and Sinti to travel in family groups, or to own firearms. Those over sixteen are liable for inprisonment in work camps, while those without proof of Bavarian birth are expelled from Bavaria.

The journal Romani Zorya (Romani Dawn) is founded in Russia and starts publication in 1929.

1928. In Bavaria, an ordinance is approved placing Sinti and Roma under permanent police surveillance. In May, the same law is reissued and reaffirmed. The act is in direct violation of the provisions of the Weimar Constitution.

Professor Hans F. Günther writes that "it was the Gypsies who introduced foreign blood into Europe."

1929. On April 3rd, resulting from the law of 1926, the jurisdiction of the Munich office is extended to include the whole of Germany; the German Criminal Police Commission renames it The Central Office for the Fight Against the Gypsies in Germany. On April 16th and 17th, police departments everywhere are told to send fingerprints and other data on Roma both to this office and to the International Criminology Bureau (Interpol) headquarters in Vienna. Working closely together, they enforce restrictions on travel for Roma without documents, and impose up to two years' detention in "rehabilitation camps" on Roma sixteen years and older.

In the USSR, Nikolai Pankov's book Buti I Dzinaiben (Work and Knowledge) is published.


1930. Michael Kwiek II succeeds his father Gregory as "King of the Gypsies" in Poland and is recognized as such by the Polish government.

In the USSR, the first issue of Nevo Drom (New Way) is published.

The Norwegian journalist Scharfenberg recommends that all Roma be sterilized.

1931. The Moscow Gypsy Theatre (Theatre Romen) is started as a Soviet experiment; it still exists today.