Marginalisation

Bürger hospital, Cologne (Hist. Archive of Cologne)

The National Socialist "racial policy" determined the everyday life of the minority. In many towns and cities, Sinti and Roma were only allowed to do their shopping at certain times and only in a few selected shops. They were forbidden from using certain means of transport. They were forced out of gainful employment and excluded from professional and trade organisations. At the same time, no new tenancy agreements were permitted to be concluded with Sinti and Roma and existing ones were terminated. Members of the minority often were also victims of targeted denunciations.

Sinti and Roma were also excluded from medical treatment as many hospitals and doctors refused to treat them. After a complaint from the Bürger hospital, the City of Cologne decreed in December 1939 that "any gypsies requiring hospital treatment are to be referred to the Israelite asylum in the district of Ehrenfeld".

The local authorities were given an important role in the process of marginalization. Decision-making processes and initiatives at the local and municipal level made a substantial contribution to accelerating the progress of the "racial policy" directed at Sinti and Roma at the Reich level. The implementation of the central deportation orders was only possible with the participation of the local authorities, who eagerly put themselves at the service of the National Socialists and were directly involved in carrying out the genocide.

"...the generally legitimate measure of the danger to health and life for German Volksgenossen [is] not justified in the case of gypsies. In my opinion, in-patient treatment can generally only be approved if a) the German public would otherwise be put at risk and b) there is a danger to life which beyond a doubt cannot be remedied in any way other than through in-patient treatment, with the result that the working capacity of the gypsy concerned would be lost. The normal measure to be applied arises from the proportional value of the gypsy for the German national community." (Decree of the town of Hamm on the "Hospital Treatment of Gypsies" of 13.11.1942)

Sinti and Rome were prohibited from going to bars, cinemas or theatres and even using playgrounds. Children were not allowed to attend school in many places. They were not even allowed to seek refuge in air-raid shelters during the war. Soldiers were also dismissed from the Wehrmacht.

"In the last few years, several complaints have been made by the population about gypsy children making their presence felt on the playground and spoiling the pleasure of the German children there ... It is therefore proposed that gypsies and their hybrids are prohibited from entering the children's playground as non-Aryan elements. For this purpose, 1 to 2 signs with the inscription 'Gypsies and gypsy hybrids prohibited from entering the playground' would have to be provided. The Mayor. Following consultation with chief city inspector Kuhlen, there are no legal concerns. Detective Superintendent Kemena states on inquiry that, in his opinion, there are also no concerns on the part of the Secret State Police." (City Park Administration Minden, 21.4.1943)

"The erection of the signs at the children's playground at Königsglacis has been successful. Gypsy children and gypsy hybrids are no longer to be seen after provision of the signs at the playground."
(City Park Administration Minden, 22.10.1943)