1885 to 1906

1885. Roma are excluded by United States immigration policy; many are returned to Europe.

1886. Chancellor von Bismarck issues a directive to the governments of all regions of Germany alerting them to "complaints about the mischief caused by bands of Gypsies travelling in the Reich, and their increasing molestation of the population," and states that foreign Roma are to be dealt with in particular. This leads to the creation of many regional policies designed to deport non-German-born Roma.

Nomadism is banned in Bulgaria.

1889. The Showmen's Guild formed to oppose the Moveable Dwellings Bills. Showmen begin to become a distinct group from other Travellers or Gypsies.

1890. The Swabian parliament organizes a conference on the "Gypsy Scum" (Das Zigeunergeschmeiß), and suggests means by which the presence of Roma could be signalled from village to village by ringing church bells. The military is empowered to apprehend and move Roma on.

1899. An Information Agency, the Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance (Nachrichtendienst in Bezug auf die Zigeuner), is established in Munich under the direction of Alfred Dillmann to collate reports on Roma movement throughout German lands, and a register of all Gypsies over the age of six is begun. This includes obtaining photographs, fingerprints and other genealogical data, and particularly information relating to "criminality." This leads to two initiatives: Dillmann's Zigeuner-Buch (1905), and the December 1911 conference. This agency does not officially close down until 1970.


1904. The Prussian Landtag unanimously adopts a proposition to regulate Gypsy movement and means of livelihood.

1905. Alfred Dillmann's Zigeuner-Buch appears in Germany. This consists of three parts; an introduction which presents the arguments for controlling Roma, a register, 310 pages long, of over 5,000 Roma, including name, date and place of birth, genealogy and kinship, criminal record and so on, and lastly a collection of photographs of Roma and Sinti from various police files. The introduction maintains that the German people are "suffering" from a "plague" of Roma, that they are "a pest against which society must unflaggingly defend itself," and that they "must be controlled by the police most severely," being "ruthlessly punished" when necessary. The notion of the particular dangers of mixed Romani and white individuals, whom Dillmann considers to constitute almost the entire Roma population, resurfaces in the Nuremburg Laws in 1935. These racially-motivated statements also support the Zigeuner-Buch's emphasis on the Romani genetic tendency toward criminal behavior.

Voting rights are demanded for Roma at conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.

1906. On February 17th, the Prussian Minister of the Interior issues a directive entitled Die Bekämpfung des Zigeunerunwesens ("Combatting the Gypsy nuisance") which lists bilateral agreements guaranteeing the expulsion of Roma from those countries, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland. Police are authorized to prosecute Roma for breaking the law, which offenses include "lighting fires in the woods, illegal fishing, illegal camping" and so on. Temporary school attendance is forbidden for children whose families are travelling through an area

Prussia introduces "Gypsy licenses," required by all those wanting to stay there. These are given out only if the applicant has a fixed domicile, no serious criminal convictions, educational provision for their children, and proper tax accounts. Those qualifying are nevertheless not allowed to settle locally.