Deprivation of rights

Emil Christ, seen here with his cousin, was later dismissed from the Wehrmacht and deported to Auschwitz with his wife and two children

President of the Reich Hindenburg appointed the "Führer" of the NSDAP, Adolf Hitler, as Chancellor of the German Reich on 30th January 1933. The National Socialists destroyed the democratic constitutional state within the space of a few months. Civil liberties were repealed after the Reichstag fire, the Reichstag and state parliaments were disempowered soon afterwards and all parties banned - except for the NSDAP. Although the terror and persecution were mainly directed at political opponents at this early date, there were instances of the maltreatment of Sinti and Roma from the very beginning, and they were deported to the first concentration camps.

Cultural "homogenisation" followed the assumption of political power: freedom of opinion was abolished and the media oriented to the "Weltanschauung", the view of life of the Nazis. The claim to power was total. Step-by-step they attempted to permeate all areas of state and society, in order to implement their ideological goals. A network of party organizations and associations served to foster indoctrination and control.

The gradual marginalisation of the Sinti and Roma from all areas of public life followed the seizure of power. The National Socialists deprived them of their civil rights. The racial ideology became the defining political programme, to which the legal system was also subordinated. The state institutions were gradually undermined and merged with party organizations. New autonomous centres of power, which were under the direct command of Hitler and which were detached from any statutory regulation, were formed in parallel to the traditional authorities. The SS, which under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler soon controlled the entire police force and ultimately evolved into the executing authority of the "final solution", played a key role in the process.