Racial ideology as a state doctrine
After 1933 the Nazi state’s actions were based on the doctrine of racial ‘superiority’ and ‘inferiority’ and the classification into ‘Herrenmenschen’ [‘members of the master race’] and ‘Untermenschen’ [‘subhumans’]. Like the Jews, the Sinti and Roma were declared to be ‘artfremde Rassen’ – literally: races of a different species or ‘racially foreign’ – and were therefore excluded from the ‘Volksgemeinschaft’ [‘people’s community’]. This policy of exclusion and disenfranchisement was bolstered by state-controlled propaganda, which deliberately disseminated demonising images.
The Sinti and Roma, like the Jews, were subject to the discriminatory provisions of the Nuremberg Laws. They were declared second-class citizens by the Nazis. Any ties between ‘Zigeuner’ [‘gypsies’] and ‘Deutschblütige’, i.e. persons of German blood, were branded as ‘Rassenschande’ [‘miscegenation or racial defilement’] and subject to severe punishment.
Reich press conference on 24 October 1939
Headlines from the Nazi press Documentation Centre Archives
‘In Europe, other than the Jews, only gypsies regularly belong to the races of a different species.’ Decree on ‘Blood Protection’ by ‘Reichsinnenminister’ Frick of 3 January 1936 Federal Archives, R 18/3514
‘Re: marriage bans for Zigeunermischlinge [gypsies of mixed blood]‘ 01 | Letter from the ‘Reichssicherheitshauptamt’ [Reich Main Security Office] dated 1 August 1941 Greven Municipal Archives, StaG_B_3870
02 | Greven Municipal Archives, StaG_B_3870
‘(…) according to which political preventive custody may be imposed in order to prevent further offspring of mixed blood as a result of the malicious continuation of sexual unions among gypsies, gypsies of mixed blood and persons of German blood’ 01 | Christine Lehmann was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau for breaching the Nuremberg Laws; she succumbed […]
02 | LAV NRW R, BR 1111 Nr. 44
03 | LAV NRW R, BR 1111 Nr. 44
Werner Feldscher: Rassen- und Erbpflege im deutschen Recht, 1943
Dr Karl Hannemann in the journal of the National Socialist German Physicians’ Federation, August 1938
Letter from the mayor of the town of Schirwindt dated 15.6.1942