Denunciation

In addition to various forms of support for the persecuted Sinti and Roma, there were also a great many instances of denunciation. One of the victims was Mathilde Kling, a Sintezza from Karlsruhe. Like no other, her story is one of resistance, a desperate protest against the irresistible machinery of the extermination.

Mathilde Kling worked for the Reichspost and was even employed as a factory troop leader. Her parents and her sister were among the Sinti and Roma who had already been deported to occupied Poland in May 1940, after her father, a highly respected musician, had previously been expelled from the Reich Chamber of Music. When the family members deported to Poland crossed the border on the run, they were arrested in Silesia and taken back to Karlsruhe, where they placed under so-called "preventive detention" and finally deported to concentration camps. Her father was sent to Dachau, her mother and her sister, Johanna, to Ravensbrück.

Mathilde Kling tried do everything possible to free her parents and her sister from "preventive detention" and finally from the concentration camp. She engaged a lawyer and even went to the Reich Criminal Police Department in Berlin. All her attempts were unsuccessful. However, her protests resulted in her being dismissed from the postal service as a "gypsy hybrid". Shortly afterwards, she heard that her parents had been murdered in the concentration camps.

Letter of denunciation

After her forced dismissal from the postal service, she initially found a position as a clerical assistant. She also helped two women with the housework, in order to provide for her underage siblings. She was finally denounced by one of these women: Mathilde Kling had not only made disparaging comments about leading Nazis, she also threatened to kill the police officer who was responsible for the deportation of her parents after the war.

The case was passed to the Gestapo, a charge was brought before a special court in Mannheim. The following was said of Mathilde Kling in the final report of the Gestapo to the senior prosecutor of the special court: "She has been given a good reference by the Reichspost. She was dismissed solely on the basis of her ethnic origin." Nevertheless the special court in Mannheim stated the following as a ground for detention: "The accused is currently unemployed and is likely to abscond as she is a gypsy hybrid."

In the proceedings, whose records are completely preserved, Mathilde Kling openly admitted that she was very angry with the police officer who had caused the deportation of her parents and had therefore said that she wanted to take revenge on him after the war. Mathilde Kling was also accused of "persistently making invidious, inflammatory and malicious statements about leading public figures of the state and the NSDAP, which could undermine the confidence of the people in the political leadership and also attested to her base nature."

Letter of the criminal investigation department

In his final speech, Mathilde Kling's defence counsel pointed out that the family had been resident in Karlsruhe for a long time and had pursued middle-class professions. Her father had been the leader of a famous band until his exclusion from the Reich Chamber of Music. He went on to say that: "The accused, Mathilde Kling, fought an almost desperate battle to get her parents and her sister out of the concentration camp." However, the result of these efforts was only "that the informed department at the Karlsruhe Police Headquarters urged that she be dismissed from the service of the Reichspost." Furthermore, the defence counsel said that if this background were known, one would surely have human understanding for the desperate situation of the accused and would come to the conclusion that the matter did not lend itself to bringing an action in the public interest.

In spite of the courageous advocacy of her defence counsel, the special court in Mannheim sentenced Mathilde Kling to one year in prison on account of "maliciousness". At the urging of the police officer who had been the subject of her protest, she was deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz on 25th March 1943, where she succumbed to the inhuman living conditions six months later. Her daughter was born in Auschwitz and only survived for three months.

The responsible officer in Karlsruhe was never called to account for his part in the genocide.