1981, the federal criminal office maintains a special file system for
Sinti to record all vehicles and their owners.
this information was collected in the so-called “travelling folk
existence, despite authoritative denial, can be proven without doubt
federal states of Hamburg,
Hessia, Baden Wurttemberg
Special laws served the easier enactment of the assignments.
example the Registry Office Decree 103, according to which all
deceases and births of so-called unsettled individuals had to be
regularly to the criminal police. This decree remained until 1985 and
suspended after protests by the Rom and Cinti Union.
“Caravan Law” of Hamburg,
however, is still effective.
is an attitude of principal suspicion on the side of the authorities
the Sinti and Roma and their supposed characteristic of permanent
leading to the belief of an immanent danger of criminal activities that
for police measures. From this results the practice of immediately
controls when Sinti and Roma appear in a district.
police measures enacted by the authorities are considered as a
action. Through disciplining and deterrence, a supposed refraining from
criminal offences shall be caused, but the main target is to make the
Sinti move on.
like identity controls or age checks by public health officers are
means of fighting the Gypsies, according to the responsible
authorities. At the
same time, welfare and social authorities do everything within their
to make residence for groups of Roma difficult if not impossible.
preferred strategies to expel such people are the denial of social
the complication of settlement by not assigning living space to those
Exemplary deterrence measures against individuals are also supposed to
other Sinti and Roma groups to move to a certain region.
way of summarizing, it can be said that the Gypsy persecution in Germany
has been continuously kept up until the present day. Always more or
covered by legislation, according to the Zeitgeist and the political
Furthermore, it can be noted that the so-called “Gypsy
problem” has not been
satisfyingly solved in the eyes of the responsible authorities. The
aim, in any
case, is a solution by causing expulsion. Preferred strategy for
camping groups is a flexible position, informally allowing a
of the groups while at the same time threatening them with forced
the case of violation of the deadline.
executions against individual groups are also supposed to impress other
and Roma. Most of the time, the authorities are afraid that a prolonged
residence or even a settlement of these groups will result in financial
expenses for the municipality.
While the Gypsy persecution in its
early phase was dictated by irrational and paranoid ideas, the
persecution from the Third Reich up to the present day is carried by a
pseudo-objective, racist argumentation. Similar to the blacks in America,
the centuries-long persecution has left its marks on the Roma and Sinti
missing education, unemployment and an increasing exclusion from all
Roma since 1989
historian and migration expert Professor Dr. Klaus J. Bade from
describes in his book entitled “Europe
on the move: Migration from the late 18th century to the
East-West-Migration of the Roma to Central Europe in great
numbers was made possible
only by the revolution in Romania
in December of 1989 and forced by the conflict in former Yugoslavia.
Initially, they primarily moved towards Germany,
also to Austria,
and spread through further migration to other European countries as
the Ceaucescu regime, the Roma had lived “free” – as
opposed to earlier
suppression and expulsion – in so far as nobody cared for them.
Towards the end
of the dictatorship, disastrous plans for “reform” of the
regime were again
taking form concerning state intervention into the lives of the Roma.
hardly came into practice, but the fear remained. It was enhanced when
– after the revolution of 1989 – were again caught by
against their group. They were mixed with a racist nationalism,
collaboration with the overthrown regime and supposed unjustified
at the distribution of land.
of violence and attacks against Roma settlements took place in
regions. In 1991/92, almost 30 pogroms were registered in Romania.
This, but also the hope for a better economical position were the main
for the migration of the Roma to the West. In the early 1990s, about
Sinti and 30,000 Roma permanently lived in Germany
with a German citizenship. They had survived the Nazi genocide,
serious injuries due to medical “experiments” in the
concentration camps. In
addition to that, there were roughly 30,000 to 40,000 work migrants of
different nationalities from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
classified as Sinti and Roma.
created migration networks that offered contacts to the West. In Germany,
the at least till 1993 relatively open asylum legislation offered them
temporarily safe residence. Information about the asylum-seekers
Roma from Eastern Europe
up until 1993 are based on estimates; because asylum-seekers are
registered in Germany
according to their nationality, but not according to their ethnicity.
to official estimates, about 250,000 Roma refugees had come to Germany
from January 1990 to July 1st,
1993, when the
new asylum law came into effect. Of these, the greatest part (60
30 percent from Yugoslavia
and fiver percent from Bulgaria.
In the Germany
of the early 1990s, the Roma from Eastern Europe shaped a
group conspicuous in its
forms of living, company and sociability. Their day-to-day social
usually described as foreign and annoying. Communal authorities came
pressure from enraged citizens in 1992/93. In partially latent,
openly racist descriptions, “the Gypsies” became an
anti-social opposite to the
orderly civilian world.
of physical violence against the migrants from the East alarmed the
interests. After “voluntary re-migrations”, supported
expulsions under threats of deportation, regular deportations and
migrations to other European countries, in the middle of 1993 there
official number of 125,000 Roma refuges in Germany at the most, while
organizations only estimated about 75,000.
the following years, the numbers decreased even further due to measures
formed a stark opposite to the handling of emigrants and Jews from Eastern Europe. Their
immigration was welcome or
at least accepted and was accompanied by the state through general
of social inclusion and societal integration.
the unwelcome immigration of “Gypsies” from Eastern Europe, the
opposite held true – exclusion
and repatriation. What had been enough for the collective acceptance of
Jews from the former Soviet states as contingent refugees in Germany,
did not suffice for the “Gypsies”. It could not be enforced
pressure, either, because the Roma lacked powerful support from the
were only support organisations like the “Central Council of the
Roma” and the “Rom and Cinti Union”, the
“Society for endangered people”, some
supportive initiatives and nice-sounding recommendations on the
This context had also shown in the neglect of the Roma people in the
“compensation” payments from Germany –
although they were, with about 500,000 victims, the group with the
casualties in the Holocaust after the Jews. The remembrance of the
crimes of the National Socialists did not help the
“Gypsies” from South-Eastern Europe
as refugees in Germany,
to this was a certain reserve – also because of self-protection
– of the
already established members of the ethnic group in the West towards the
from South-Eastern Europe.
It was remindful of the scepticism of assimilated American Jews towards
large number of Eastern-European Jews who came to the U.S.
during the “New Immigration” in the late 19th
and early 20th
century. The Roma were handled differently in the several German
– as refugees, asylum-seekers or temporarily tolerated
lived in collective quarters or at camp sights between expulsion,
threats and deportation stops. Meanwhile, hectic treaty negotiations
with the Eastern European origin- and transit countries. Their first
the German-Romanian “Return agreement” of November 1992. It
was followed by
similar agreements with other Eastern and South-Eastern European
usually connected with millions in subventions for the “taking
chain-migrations from East to West, stopped by the “fortress Europe”
through extensive defensive measures, were replaced by
from West to East. Expelled Roma and those caught near the border were
back to their origin countries, where they sometimes again became
angry nationalists. What remained for Roma from Eastern and
who longed for the West was the growing illegal migration that was
the legal closing of the “fortress Europe”.
recently also held true for the Roma from Kosovo, who were expelled
war ended together with the Serbs by the returning Albanians, who
were “collaborators” of the Serbs.
is supposed to enlarge to the East. It will have to face the fact that
Eastern Central Europe,
there is more going on than work migrations – which are rather
calculate. It will also, in the long term, have to deal with a
overlapping of work-, minority- and flight migrations, which will not
manageable by regional economic support alone.