Sinti und Roma in the Weimar Republic

1926 — 1929

Germany

Activism & Resistance Discrimination & Inequity

In the Weimar Republic, the anti-”gypsy” laws of the German Empire are perpetuated in an intensified form, despite being in clear violation of the principles of the Weimar constitution.

The racist and discriminatory legislation against Sinti and Roma that had been enacted in the German Empire remained in force during the Weimar Republic, and was in fact made more severe through new amendments (see also: Persecution of and discrimination against Sinti and Roma, 1871-1918). In April 1926, the “Convention of the German Lands for the mutual and simultaneous controlling of Gypsies in the German Reich” was ratified. In March 1929, the “Law for the battling of the Gypsy element” was passed in Hesse. Sinti and Roma were portrayed as a threat to public order and safety, providing justification for a whole series of discriminatory regulations. Alongside the restrictions on freedom of movement already in place, further measures were introduced to control Sinti and Roma by, for example, barring them from practicing a profession and denying parents custodial rights. These structures were later taken over and expanded by the National Socialists. The laws contributed further to a racially motivated criminalization of and systematic discrimination against Sinti and Roma in Germany. This would culminate under the National Socialist regime in the persecution of and total denial of legal rights to Sinti and Roma, and ultimately in their mass murder (see also: Roma and Sinti under National Socialism, 1933-1945).