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Timeline of Gypsies and the Holocaust

A Chronology of Persecution and Mass Murder Under the Third Reich

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The Gypsies are one of the "forgotten victims" of the Holocaust. The Nazis, in their strive to rid the world of undesirables, targeted both Jews and Gypsies for "extermination." Follow the path of persecution to mass slaughter in this timeline of what happened to the Gypsies during the Third Reich.

1899
Alfred Dillmann establishes the Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance in Munich. This office collected information and fingerprints of Gypsies.

1922
Law in Baden requires Gypsies to carry special identification papers.

1926
In Bavaria, the Law for the Combating the Gypsies, Travellers, and Work-Shy sent Gypsies over 16 to workhouses for two years if they could not prove regular employment.

July 1933
Gypsies sterilized under the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring.

September 1935
Gypsies included in the Nuremberg Laws (Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor).

July 1936
400 Gypsies are rounded up in Bavaria and transported to the Dachau concentration camp.

1936
The Racial Hygiene and Population Biology Research Unit of the Ministry of Health at Berlin-Dahlem is established, with Dr. Robert Ritter its director. This office interviewed, measured, studied, photographed, fingerprinted, and examined Gypsies in order to document them and create complete genealogical listings for every Gypsy.

1937
Special concentration camps are created for Gypsies (Zigeunerlagers).

November 1937
Gypsies are excluded from the military.

December 14, 1937
Law Against Crime orders arrests of "those who by anti-social behavior even if they have committed no crime have shown that they do not wish to fit into society."

Summer 1938
In Germany, 1,500 Gypsy men are sent to Dachau and 440 Gypsy women are sent to Ravensbrück.

December 8, 1938
Heinrich Himmler issues a decree on the Fight Against the Gypsy Menace which states that the Gypsy problem will be treated as a "matter of race."

June 1939
In Austria, a decree orders 2,000 to 3,000 Gypsies to be sent to concentration camps.

October 17, 1939
Reinhard Heydrich issues the Settlement Edict which prohibits Gypsies from leaving their homes or camping places.

January 1940
Dr. Ritter reports that Gypsies have mixed with asocials and recommends to have them kept in labor camps and to stop their "breeding."

January 30, 1940
A conference organized by Heydrich in Berlin decides to remove 30,000 Gypsies to Poland.

Spring 1940
Deportations of Gypsies begins from the Reich to the Generalgouvernment.

October 1940
Deportation of Gypsies temporarily halted.

Fall 1941
Thousands of Gypsies murdered at Babi Yar.

October to November, 1941
5,000 Austrian Gypsies, including 2,600 children, deported to the Lodz Ghetto.

December 1941
Einsatzgruppen D shoots 800 Gypsies in Simferopol (Crimea).

January 1942
The surviving Gypsies within the Lodz Ghetto are deported to the Chelmno death camp and killed.

Summer 1942
Probably about this time when decision was made to annihilate the Gypsies.1

October 13, 1942
Nine Gypsy representatives appointed to make lists of "pure" Sinti and Lalleri to be saved. Only three of the nine had completed their lists by the time deportations began. The end result was that the lists didn't matter - Gypsies on the lists were also deported.

December 3, 1942
Martin Bormann writes to Himmler against the special treatment of "pure" Gypsies.

December 16, 1942
Himmler gives the order for all German Gypsies to be sent to Auschwitz.

January 29, 1943
RSHA announces the regulations for the implementation of deporting Gypsies to Auschwitz.

February 1943
Family camp for Gypsies constructed in Auschwitz II, section BIIe.

February 26, 1943
First transport of Gypsies delivered to the Gypsy Camp in Auschwitz.

March 29, 1943
Himmler orders all Dutch Gypsies to be sent to Auschwitz.

Spring 1944
All attempts to save "pure" Gypsies has been forgotten.2

April 1944
Those Gypsies that are fit for work are selected in Auschwitz and sent to other camps.

August 2-3, 1944
Zigeunernacht ("Night of the Gypsies"): All Gypsies who remained in Auschwitz were gassed.

Notes:
1. Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon, The Destiny of Europe's Gypsies (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1972) 86.
2. Kenrick, Destiny 94.

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