Before AD 400. Some Indians become nomadic craftsmen and entertainers.
430-443. The Persian poet Firdawsi reports in the Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings), written c.1000, how the Persian Shah Bahram Gur persuades the Indian King Shangul to send him 10,000 Luri musicians to be distributed to the various parts of the Persian kingdom.
820-834. Zott state established on the banks of the River Tigris
- The Persian chronicler Tabari relates how large numbers of Zottare taken prisoner when the Byzantines attack Syria.
1001-1026. Sindh and the Panjab in India are invaded some seventeen times by a mixed army of Turko-Persian Ghaznivid troops led by King Mahmud from Ghazni (present-day eastern Iran). Indian resistance, in the form of the Rajput warriors, is fierce, but King Mahmud is victorious and takes half a million slaves.
c.1000. Roma reach the Byzantine Empire (modern Greece and Turkey).
c.1200. The canonist Theodore Balsamon describes the canon LXI of the Council in Trulho (692) which threatens a six-year excommunication for any member of the Church (including Athinganoi) from displaying bears or other animals for amusement or by telling fortunes.
- Romani shoemakers are recorded in Greece residing on Mount Athos.
c.1300. The Romani Aresajipe; the arrival of Roma in Europe.
Romani groups begin to be enslaved in southeast Europe.
- Romani shoemakers are recorded in Modon, Greece.
- The first recorded transaction of Roma slaves in Romania.
- Mircea the Great of Wallachia indicates that Roma have been in that country for over one hundred years.
c.1400. In Bulgaria, Roma are reported “living in large numbers” along the Albanian coast.
- Roma are recorded at Hildesheim, Germany.
- Roma are expelled from the Meissen region of Germany.
1417-1423. King Sigismund of Hungary issues safe-conduct orders at Spis Castle for travelling Roma.
- Hundreds of Roma arrive at the gates of Paris. The city sends them on to the town of Pontoise in less than a month.
- Prince Vlad Dracul of Wallachia transports some 12,000 persons “who looked like Egyptians” from Bulgaria for slave labour..
- Roma are driven out of the city of Frankfurt-am-Main.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Lucerne, Switzerland.
17,000 Roma are transported into Moldavia by Stephan the Great for slave labour.
- Duke Friedrich of the Rhine Palatinate asks his people to help Roma pilgrims.
1476 and 1487. King Matthias of Slovakia issues safe-conduct orders for travelling Roma.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in state of Brandenburg.
1492 and 1496. King Vladislav of Slovakia issues safe-conduct orders for travelling Roma.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Spain.
- Roma are expelled from Milan.
1496-1498. The Reichstag (parliament) in Landau and Freiburg declares Roma traitors to the Christian countries, spies in the pay of the Turks, and carriers of the plague.
- Four Gypsiesaccompany Christopher Columbus on his third voyage to the New World.
- Medina del Campo in Spain orders Gitanosto find a trade and master, cease travelling with other Gitanos, all within sixty days. Punishment for failure to obey is 100 lashes and banishment. Repeat offences are punished by amputation of ears, sixty days in chains, and banishment. Third-time offenders become the slaves of those who capture them.
- At the request of Maximilian I, the Augsburg Reichstag declares Roma traitors to the Christian countries, and accuses them of witchcraft, kidnapping of children, and banditry.
- 1500.Gitano influence on Andalusian flamencosong and dance begins. Although flamenco is not a Gitano invention, the art of flamenco later becomes forever associated with the Gitanos from the 19th century onwards.
- Roma are prohibited by Louis XII from living in France. The punishment is banishment.
- Roma are recorded in Scotland, probably from Spain.
- Roma are prohibited by the Grand Council of France from residence. The punishment is banishment. A second offence results in hanging.
- Roma are first recorded in Sweden on 29 September. A company of about 30 families, lead by a “Count Anthonius” arrives in Stockholm, claiming that they came from “Little Egypt”. They are welcomed by the city and given lodging and money for their stay. A few years later, King Gustav Vasa (1521-1560), suspects that the Roma are spies and orders that they be driven out from the country.
Roma are expelled from Catalonia.
- Prague officially allows nomadsto remain. The welcome does not last long.
- Charles V issues an edict in Holland ordering all those that call themselves Egyptiansto leave the country within two days.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Holland and Portugal.
- The first law expelling Gypsies from England is introduced. Henry VIII forbids the transportation of Gypsies into England. The fine is forty pounds for ship’s owner or captain. The Gypsy passengers are punished by hanging.
- The Augsburg Reichstag forbids the issuing of passports to Roma.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Denmark.
- Deportation of Roma in Portugal to colonies begins.
- Roma are prohibited by Frances I from residence in France. The punishment is banishment. A second offence results in corporal punishment.
- Gypsies are allowed to live under their own laws in Scotland.
- Roma are blamed for outbreak of fires in Prague. This sets the stage for future anti-Gypsy legislation.
The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Scotland.
- Edward VI of England institutes law requiring that Gypsies be seized and “branded with a ‘V’ on their breast, and then enslaved for two years.” If escapees are caught they will be branded with an “S” and made slaves for life.
The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge. Andrew Boorde Published It has a chapter on Romani, which includes some of the earliest specimens of the language.
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Bohemia.
- In the reign of Philip and Mary, an Act is passed which decrees that that the death penalty shall be imposed for being a Gypsy, or anyone who “shall become of the fellowship or company of Egyptians.”
- The first anti-Gypsy laws are passed in Lithuania.
In the reign of Sigismund Augustus, the first law ordering Roma to be expelled is passed by the Warsaw Seym (parliament).
- The Archbishop of the Swedish Lutheran Church forbids priests to have any dealings with Roma. Their children are not to be christened and their dead not to be buried.
1560 and others. Spanish legislation forbids Gitanos of travelling in groups of more than two. Gitano “dress and clothing” is banned. Punishment for wearing Gitano clothing and travelling in groups of more than two is up to eighteen years in the galleys for those over fourteen years of age. This legislation is later altered to change the punishment to death for all nomads, and the galleys reserved for settled Gitanos.
- Roma are prohibited by Charles IX of France from residence. The punishment is banishment. A second offence results in the galleys and corporal punishment. Men, women and children have their heads shaved.
- An Act is passed in England “for further punishment of Vagabonds, calling themselves Egyptians.” Any Gypsy born in England and Wales is not compelled to leave the country if they quit their idle and ungodly life and company. All others should suffer death and loss of lands and goods.
- The Council of Trent in Rome affirms that Roma cannot be priests.
- Pope Pius V orders the expulsion of all Roma from the domain of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Gypsies in Scotland are ordered to leave the country or settle down.
- At the General Warsaw Seym, King Stephen Báthory pronounces an edict threatening sanctions against anyone who harbours Roma on their lands. They are punished as accomplices of outlaws.
- Augustus, elector of Saxony, orders the confiscation of Romani passports and banishes them from Saxony.
Gypsies are recorded in Wales.
Wearing of Romani dress is banned in Portugal.
- Nomadic Roma are ordered expelled from Belarus.
- In Denmark, the death penalty is ordered for any Roma not leaving the country.
- Stefan Razvan, the son of a Roma slave and free woman, becomes ruler of Moldavia in April. He is deposed four months later and murdered in December of the same year.
- 106 men and women are condemned to death at York just for being Gypsies, but only nine are executed. The others prove they were born in England.
Early 17th century. Spanish legislation becomes harsher, forbidding Gitanos from dealing in horses. The local populace is given permission to form armed groups to pursue Gitanos.
- Roma are prohibited by Henry IV of France from any gathering of more than three or four. Roma are punished as “vagabonds and evil-doers.”
- Spanish legislation orders that all Gitano occupations must be connected to the land.
- Philip III declares all Gitanos are to be banished from the kingdom of Spain within six months, or to settle in a locality with over 1,000 inhabitants. The dress, name and language of the Gitanos is banned. The punishment is death.
- The first anti-Gypsy law in Sweden is enacted. All Roma should be expelled from the country within one year. If any Roma are found in Sweden after that date the men will be hanged and the women and children will be driven out from the country.
- An ordinance passed in Berne gives anyone the right “personally to kill or liquidate by bastinadoor firearms” Roma or Heiden (heathen) malefactors.
- Roma are punished by the Louis XIV regency of France for being “Bohemians.” Punishment is the galleys.
- Matiasz Korolewicz is conferred the title “King of the Gypsies” by the Polish Royal Chancery.
1650s. Last known execution for being Gypsies, in Suffolk, England. Others are banished to America.
- Roma are prohibited from residence in France by Louis XIV. Punishment is banishment. A second offense results in the galleys or corporal punishment.
1660-1800. The identity of the English Gypsy Romanichal group has been formed. They survive by working for local people who know them.
- Johann Georg II, elector of Saxony, imposes the death penalty to any Roma caught in his territory.
- Punished by Louis XIV of France for being “Bohemians.” Men are sent to the galleys. Women and girls are flogged, branded and banished.
- Louis XIV reiterates his previous policy: punishment for being “Bohemian.” Men are sentenced to the galleys for life on the first offence. Women’s heads are shaved and children are sent to the poor house. For a second offence, women are branded and banished.
- Portugal deports Roma to Brasil, and makes it a crime to speak Romani.
- Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg, decrees that Roma are not to be allowed trade or shelter.
There is a sudden and radical change in the attitude of the Swedish Lutheran Church. Roma are now accepted and their children may be christened.
1700-16 and 1720-22. In Lorraine, Roma are punished for begging and vagabondage in general. Punishment is banishment. A second offence results in iron collars, branding and banishment.
- In Prague, Joseph I issues an edict that all adult Roma men will be hanged without trial and that boys and women be mutilated. In Bohemia, the left ear is to be cut off. In Moravia the right ear is to be cut off. Lodging or otherwise aiding Roma is punishable by up to six months forced labour.
Prince Adolf Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz issues orders that all Roma can be flogged, branded, expelled, or executed if they return. Children under ten are to be removed and raised by Christian families.
- Elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony authorizes shooting of Roma if they resist arrest.
1711-1772. Cinka Panna is one of the most popular musicians in Slovakia and eastern Europe. A maestro violinist, she tours with her own Romani musical ensemble.
- British merchants and planters apply to the Privy Council to ship Gypsies to the Caribbean, avowedly to be used as slaves.
In Mainz, all Roma are to be executed without trial on the grounds that their way of life is outlawed.
Romani music bands are recorded to travel in the Austro-Hungarian court of Esterháza. They accompany the dancing of soldiers playing verbunkos, in recruiting efforts for Nicolas the Magnificent’s military operations.
- Ten Gypsies in Scotland are recorded deported to Virginia in the Americas.
- Forty-one localities are set out in Spain as places of residence for Gitanos.
1719 and other years. In France, sentencing for being Roma is altered from the galleys to deportation to French colonies.
- Emperor Karl VI of the Austro-Hungarian empire orders the extermination of Roma throughout his domain.
- Roma are prohibited from residence in the Lorraine, gathering in the woods or main roads. Punishment is banishment. Communities are encouraged “to gather, march in formation and open fire on them.”
- All vagabonds and vagrantsare prohibited by Louis XV of France from residence and nomadism and gathering of more than four adults in a house. Adult men are sentenced to the galleys for five years. All others are flogged and sent to the poor house.
- Frederick William I condemns any Roma over eighteen caught in his territory, man or woman, to be hanged without trial.
- Gitanos in Spain are forbidden to appeal against the sentences of the courts.
Charles VI passes a law that any Rom found in the country are to be killed instantly. Romani women and children are to have their ears cut off and whipped all the way to the border.
- Berne decree no.13 reiterates that Roma are forbidden to stay. “Gypsy men and women of more than fifteen years of age shall have one ear cut off the first time they are caught … but if they are caught a second time they shall be sentenced to death.”
- The town council of Aachen passes an ordinance condemning Roma to death. “Captured Gypsies, whether they resist or not, shall be put to death immediately. However, those seized who do not resort to counter-attack shall be granted no more than a half an hour to kneel, if they so wish, beg God almighty to forgive them their sins and to prepare themselves for death.”
- Empress Anna Ioannovna of Russia decrees Roma are forbidden to travel and must settle down as serfs of the land.
- Frederick William I decrees that any Roma caught in his territory, man or woman, will be hanged without trial. A reward is offered.
- The Guild of Locksmiths at Miskolc in Hungary canvas successfully for an order to stop Roma from doing any metalwork outside their tents.
Charles VI issues an edict that anyone caught aiding Roma will be punished.
- Gitanos in Spain must settle in assigned places within two weeks. The punishment for failure is execution. “It is legal to fire upon them to take their life.” The Churches no longer provide asylum. Armed troops are ordered to comb the countryside.
- All Swedish laws concerning Gypsiesare integrated into one law, intending to prevent further immigration and to force Roma to settle.
- The year of the “Great Gypsy Round-up” in Spain. Gitanos are separated from “the bad and the good” through inquiries and witnesses reports. For the “bad,” punishment is forced public works. Escapees are hanged. Motherless girls are sent to poor houses or into service for “honest” people. Older girls and wives of sentenced men with children under seven are “educated in Christian doctrine and the holy fear of God” and sent to factories.
1753-54. Stephan Valyi, a Hungarian student at the University of Leyden discovers the Panjabi root of the Romani language from comparing 1,000 words spoken by three university students from Malabar to the Roma of Raab near his hometown.
- Roma are banned from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- Maria Theresa, Empress of Hungary, passes first laws in Europe trying to settle and reform, or assimilate, Roma, calling them the “New Hungarians.”
- In the Austro-Hungarian empire, Székely Von Doba first brings Pastor Stephan Valyi’s findings about the Indian origins of the Roma to academic attention in the November 6 edition of The Vienna Gazette.
- All vagabonds and vagrantsare denied residence in France with renewed legislation. Adult men are sentenced to the galleys for three years. All others are confined to the poor house for three years, and are then given a choice of domicile and a trade. Repeated offences by men result in the galleys for nine years, and in several repeat offences, in perpetuity.
1764-1827. János Bihari, Rom composer and bandleader, popularises “Hungarian dance” music.
- In December, Maria Theresa, Empress of Hungary, orders all Romani children over five in the Palatinate of Pressburg and at Fahlendorf to be taken from their parents. They are transported to distant villages and assigned to peasants to bring them up for a stipend of 12-18 florins a year. Most of the children run away to rejoin their families, who take refuge in the mountains or disappear in the plains.
- Constantin, Prince of Moldavia, prohibits marriages to Roma.
- English anti-Gypsy laws are gradually repealed, though not totally, from this date on.
- Joseph II of Hungary, son of Empress Maria Theresa, issues a 59-point edict reiterating his policy: schooling for children and compulsory attendance at religious services; Romani language, clothing and music are forbidden.
In Hungary, two hundred Roma are accused and charged with cannibalism.
- Spanish legislation reiterates previous orders. Gitano dress, way of life, language is forbidden, and settlement is compulsory within ninety days. The name Gitano is forbidden and is to be removed from all official documents. Restrictions on trade and place of residence of Gitanos is lifted. Punishment for failure to observe restrictions is branding. Repeat offenders are sentenced to “death, with no appeal.”
Heinrich Grellman of Göttingen University writes Die Zigeuner. Drawing on the works of previous writers, he links India as the original homeland of the Gypsies through their language.
Late 18th century. Count Orlov of Russia organises the first Romani chorus, headed by Ivan Sokolov. The chorus members are selected from his Romani serfs.
Early 1800s. “Gypsy hunts” (Heidenjachten) are a common and popular sport in Germany.
- The prefect of the department of Basses Pyrenees in France issues an order “to purge the country of Gypsies.”
- Napolean Bonaparte prohibits residence of Roma in France. Children, women and the aged are sentenced to the poor house. Young men are given their choice of joining the navy or army. Adult men are sent to forced labour.
- Count Orlov of Russia frees the artists of his Romani chorus and they become the first professional chorus in Russia. The group includes the famous Stepanida Soldatova.
- Trinity Cooper, a Gypsy girl aged thirteen, demands to be let into a charity school for “ragged children” in Clapham, near London, with her two brothers. They are finally admitted.
- John Hoyland, a Quaker, writes the first serious book calling for better treatment for Gypsies in England. Several charitable projects follow; but many Gypsies are transported as criminals to Australia.
- In the United Kingdom, the Turnpike Act is introduced. Gypsies found camping on the roadside are fined.
1830s. First wooden horse-drawn covered waggons for Gypsies are developed in England.
- Authorities in Nordhausen, Germany remove Roma children from their families for fostering with non-Roma.
- The governour of Wallachia, Alexander Ghica, frees all state slaves.
- George Borrow translates Saint Luke’s Gospel into Romani.
- Thehospodar of Moldavia, Mihail Sturdza, emancipates all state slaves; however, in Wallachia and Moldavia private ownership of Romani slaves is still legally permitted.
- The Moldavian Church liberates its Romani slaves.
- The Wallachian Church liberates its Romani slaves.
- Emancipation of serfs (including Roma) in Transylvania.
- First record of Gypsies in Doncaster, A child baptism in Adwick Le Street
- Gobineau publishes his book Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines, which argues that human beings fall into higher and lower races, with the white “Aryan” race, and particularly the Nordic people, ranking at the top. This had particular impact upon German philosophical and political thinking.
A decree issued in the Duchy of Baden warns the citizens that “in recent times, Gypsies, especially from Alsace, have frequently been re-entering and travelling about with their families, purportedly to engage in trade but mostly for the purposes of begging or other illegal activities.”
- The Slobuzenja. Abolition of slavery in Romania; large-scale emigrations of Roma to western Europe and America begin.
- Complete legal freedom for Roma in the united Balkan states is granted by Prince Ioan Alexandru Couza.
- In Holland, Richard Liebich’s work on Roma introduces the phrase “lives unworthy of life” with specific reference to them, and later used as a racial category against Roma in Nazi Germany.
- Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck circulates a letter dated November 18th demanding the “complete prohibition of foreign Gypsies crossing the German border,” and that “they will be transported by the closest route to their country of origin.” He also states that Roma in Germany be asked to show documentary proof of citizenship, and that if this is not forthcoming, they be denied travelling passes.
- Muslim Roma are given equal rights with other Muslims in the Ottoman Empire.
- Cesare Lombroso publishes his influential work L’uomo deliquente, which contains a lengthy chapter on the genetically criminal character of the Roma. This is translated into many languages, including German and English, and has a profound effect upon western legal attitudes.
A decree is issued in Bavaria which calls for the strictest examination of documentation held by Roma, both at the borders and inland, and the confiscation of their work permits wherever the slightest reason warrants. Their horses are also to be examined and confiscated if deemed unhealthy. The movements of those Gypsies who are allowed to remain are still to be carefully monitored.
- A national conference of Roma is convened in Kisfalu, Hungary.
Nomadism is banned in Serbia.
1880s. Agricultural depression in England brings poverty to many Gypsies, who move to squatter areas near towns.
Argentina forbids Roma entry into country.
- Dr. Sonya Kavalevsky, a Romni, is appointed professor of mathematics at Stockholm University becoming the first female professor in Scandinavia.
1885-95. Unsuccessful attempts in England to introduce the Moveable Dwellings Bills in Parliament to regulate Gypsy life.
- Roma are excluded by United States immigration policy; many are returned to Europe.
- Chancellor von Bismarck issues a directive to the governments of all regions of Germany alerting them to “complaints about the mischief caused by bands of Gypsies travelling in the Reich, and their increasing molestation of the population,” and states that foreign Roma are to be dealt with in particular. This leads to the creation of many regional policies designed to deport non-German-born Roma.
Nomadism is banned in Bulgaria.
- The Showmen’s Guild formed to oppose the Moveable Dwellings Bills. Showmen begin to become a distinct group from other Travellers or Gypsies.
- The Swabian parliament organizes a conference on the “Gypsy Scum” (Das Zigeunergeschmeiß), and suggests means by which the presence of Roma could be signalled from village to village by ringing church bells. The military is empowered to apprehend and move Roma on.
- An Information Agency, the Central Office for Fighting the Gypsy Nuisance (Nachrichtendienst in Bezug auf die Zigeuner), is established in Munich under the direction of Alfred Dillmann to collate reports on Roma movement throughout German lands, and a register of all Gypsies over the age of six is begun. This includes obtaining photographs, fingerprints and other genealogical data, and particularly information relating to “criminality.” This leads to two initiatives: Dillmann’s Zigeuner-Buch(1905), and the December 1911 conference. This agency does not officially close down until 1970.
- The Prussian Landtagunanimously adopts a proposition to regulate Gypsy movement and means of livelihood.
- Alfred Dillmann’s Zigeuner-Buchappears in Germany. This consists of three parts; an introduction which presents the arguments for controlling Roma, a register, 310 pages long, of over 5,000 Roma, including name, date and place of birth, genealogy and kinship, criminal record and so on, and lastly a collection of photographs of Roma and Sinti from various police files. The introduction maintains that the German people are “suffering” from a “plague” of Roma, that they are “a pest against which society must unflaggingly defend itself,” and that they “must be controlled by the police most severely,” being “ruthlessly punished” when necessary. The notion of the particular dangers of mixed Romani and white individuals, whom Dillmann considers to constitute almost the entire Roma population, resurfaces in the Nuremburg Laws in 1935. These racially-motivated statements also support the Zigeuner-Buch’s emphasis on the Romani genetic tendency toward criminal behavior.
Voting rights are demanded for Roma at conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- On February 17th, the Prussian Minister of the Interior issues a directive entitled Die Bekämpfung des Zigeunerunwesens(“Combatting the Gypsy nuisance”) which lists bilateral agreements guaranteeing the expulsion of Roma from those countries, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland. Police are authorized to prosecute Roma for breaking the law, which offenses include “lighting fires in the woods, illegal fishing, illegal camping” and so on. Temporary school attendance is forbidden for children whose families are travelling through an area
Prussia introduces “Gypsy licenses,” required by all those wanting to stay there. These are given out only if the applicant has a fixed domicile, no serious criminal convictions, educational provision for their children, and proper tax accounts. Those qualifying are nevertheless not allowed to settle locally.
- Many Roma in Germany leave for other countries in Western Europe.
Django Reinhardt, famous jazz/blues guitarist, is born in Ouchie, Belgium.
- The Children’s Act in England makes education compulsory for travelling Gypsy children, but only for half the year. This is continued in the the 1944 Education Act, but many Gypsy children still have no schooling.
- Switzerland asks Germany, Italy, France and Austria to exchange information on the movements of Roma across their shared borders, and while this is unsuccessful, the Swiss Department of Justice begins a national register of Roma, based upon the Munich model.
Recommendations coming from a “Gypsy policy conference” in Hungary include the confiscation of their animals and carts, and permanent branding for purposes of identification.
- The French government introduces the carnet anthropométrique, a document containing personal data, including photograph and fingerprints which all Roma are required to carry. This remains in effect until 1970.
- A new law prohibits all further immigration of Roma into Sweden. The law is very efficient and Roma in Sweden are isolated from their relatives in other European countries. The law remains in effect until 1954. Norway and Denmark have similar laws during the same period.
Norway gives some thirty Roma Norwegian nationality.
- . Yorkshire Born John Cunningham is awarded the Victoria Cross. Private Cunningham went with his section to a trench where much opposition was met. The rest of the section were either killed or wounded. He went on alone up the communication trench where he met a party of Germans. He killed all 10 & cleared the trench up to the new line
- In Holland, the Caravan and House Boat Law introduces controls over the movements of nomads.
- Article 108 of the National Constitution of the Weimar Republic guarantees Roma and Sinti full and equal citizenship rights, but these are not heeded.
In Bulgaria, the Romani organisation Istiqbal (Future) is founded.
- On July 27th, the Minister of Public Welfare in Düsseldorf forbids Roma and Sinti from entering any public washing or recreational facilities (swimming pools, public baths, spas, parks).
In Germany, psychiatrist Karl Binding and magistrate Alfred Hoche argue for the killing of those who are “Ballastexistenzen,” i.e. whose lives are seen merely as ballast, or dead weight, within humanity; this includes Roma. The concept of Lebensunwertesleben, or “lives unworthy (or undeserving) of life,” becomes central to Nazi race policy in 1933, when a law incorporating this same phrase is issued by Hitler on July 14th that year.
- The new Czechoslovak Republic recognises Roma as a separate “nationality.” This legislation is later repealed.
- In Baden, requirements are introduced that all Roma and Sinti be photographed and fingerprinted, and have documents completed on them.
- In Bulgaria, the Romani journal Istiqbal (Future)commences publication.
- In Slovakia, a group of Roma are tried for cannibalism. They are found innocent.
- The Soviet Romani Writers’ Associationin the Soviet Union is founded, then suppressed.
A conference is held on the Gypsy question, at which Bavaria proposes a law to compulsorily settle Roma and Sinti, and to incarcerate those not regularly employed (referred to as arbeitscheu or “work shy”) to work camps for up to two years, for reasons of “public security.” This applies equally to settled and non-settled Roma.
- The Swiss Pro JuventuteFoundation begins, “in keeping with the theories of eugenics and progress,” to take children away from Roma without their consent, to change their names, and to put them into foster homes. This program continues until 1973, and is not brought to light until the 1980s. Switzerland has apologized to the Roma, but adamantly refuses to allow them access to the records which will help them locate the children taken from them.
On July 16th, The Bavarian “Law for Combatting Gypsies, Vagabonds and Idlers” proposed at the 1925 conference is passed. It is justified in the legislative assembly thus: “[Gypsies] are by nature opposed to all work, and find it especially difficult to tolerate any restriction of their nomadic life; nothing, therefore, hits them harder than loss of liberty, coupled with forced labor.” The law requires the registration of all Roma and Sinti, settled or not, with the police, registry office and unemployment agency in each district. Bavarian State Counselor Hermann Reich praises “the enactment of theGypsy law. . . This law gives the police the legal hold it needs for thorough-going action against this constant danger to the security of the nation.”
- Steve Kaslov founds the Roma Red Dress Associationin the United States; Kaslov meets with President Franklin Roosevelt for support of Romani rights.
In Czechoslovakia, law no.117 prohibits Romani nomadism and bars nomads from “leading the life of Gypsies.” Roma identity cards are introduced for. Children under fourteen may be taken from their families and placed in children’s homes or with respectable families.
- L. Turner proves that the phonetics of the Romani language had earlier been linked with the central group of Hindi languages in India.
On November 3rd, a Prussian ministerial decree is issued requiring all Roma to be registered through documentation “in the same manner as individuals being sought by means of wanted posters, witnesses, photographs and fingerprints.” Infants are to be fingerprinted, and those over the age of six to carry identity cards bearing their photograph as well. Between November 23rd and 26th, armed raids are carried out by the police on Roma communities throughout Prussia to enforce the decree of November 3rd. Eight thousand are processed as a result.
Bavaria institutes a law forbidding Roma and Sinti to travel in family groups, or to own firearms. Those over sixteen are liable for inprisonment in work camps, while those without proof of Bavarian birth are expelled from Bavaria.
The journal Romani Zorya (Romani Dawn) is founded in Russia and starts publication in 1929.
- In Bavaria, an ordinance is approved placing Sinti and Roma under permanent police surveillance. In May, the same law is reissued and reaffirmed. The act is in direct violation of the provisions of the Weimar Constitution.
Professor Hans F. Günther writes that “it was the Gypsies who introduced foreign blood into Europe.”
- On April 3rd, resulting from the law of 1926, the jurisdiction of the Munich office is extended to include the whole of Germany; the German Criminal Police Commission renames it The Central Office for the Fight Against the Gypsies in Germany. On April 16th and 17th, police departments everywhere are told to send fingerprints and other data on Roma both to this office and to the International Criminology Bureau (Interpol) headquarters in Vienna. Working closely together, they enforce restrictions on travel for Roma without documents, and impose up to two years’ detention in “rehabilitation camps” on Roma sixteen years and older.
In the USSR, Nikolai Pankov’s book Buti I Dzinaiben (Work and Knowledge) is published.
- Michael Kwiek II succeeds his father Gregory as “King of the Gypsies” in Poland and is recognized as such by the Polish government.
In the USSR, the first issue of Nevo Drom (New Way) is published.
The Norwegian journalist Scharfenberg recommends that all Roma be sterilized.
- The Moscow Gypsy Theatre (Theatre Romen) is started as a Soviet experiment; it still exists today.
- The Uniunea Generala a Romilor din Romania(General Assembly of Roma in Romania) led by Gheorghe Nicolescu holds conference in Bucharest seeking to establish a library, hospital and university for Roma. Also proposed is the creation of a national holiday marking the end of Romani slavery.
Ten days before Hitler is elected Chancellor of The Third Reich on January 30th, officials in Burgenland call for the withdrawal of all civil rights for Roma, and the introduction of clubbing as a punishment.
On May 26th, The Law to Legalize Eugenic Sterilization is introduced by the National Socialists (Nazi Party) in Germany.
On July 14th, Hitler’s cabinet passes the law against “lives not deserving of life” (Lebensunwertesleben), called The Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. It orders sterilization for certain categories of people, “specifically Gypsies and most of the Germans of black color” (called the “Rhineland Bastards,” i.e. those resulting from unions between German women and the Senegalese and other African troops brought in from the French colonies to patrol the Ruhr Valley during the First World War, as well as residents in Europe from Germany’s ex-colonies in Africa). It also affectes Jews, the disabled, and others seen as “asocial” (social misfits).
The Law for the Revocation of German Citizenship is implemented against Roma without proof of German birth, as well as “Eastern Jews” (nearly 20 percent of all Jews in Germany in 1933).
The Sinto boxer, Johann Trollman, is stripped of his title as light-heavyweight champion of Germany for “racial reasons.”
In Romania, the journals Neamul Tiganesc (Gypsy Nation) and Timpul (The Time) are founded.
In Bulgaria, the Romani journal Terbie (Education) starts publication.
The Oberwarth District Prefect in Germany submits a petition demanding that the League of Nations investigate the possibility of establishing a colony for the resettlement of European Gypsies in the Polynesian Islands.
In the week of September 18th – 25th, the Reichsminister for the Interior and Propaganda of Germany calls for the apprehension and arrest of Roma and Sinti, according to the “Law Against Habitual Criminals.” Many Roma are sent to concentration camps as a result, and made to do penal labor.
In Latvia, Saint John’s Gospel is translated into Romani.
- Django Reinhardt forms “The Quintet Hot Club de France” and introduces French “swing jazz” to the world, influencing American jazz entertainers.
Sweden passes a law on sterilization, which becomes harsher in 194l. Anyone, including Roma, seen as leading “a socially undesirable life” are to be sterilised. Allthough the law does not explicitly say so, it suggests that Gypsies and “Tattare” (Norwegian “Wanderer”) are not socially desirable and thus must be sterilised to keep the Swedish race clean.
From January onwards, Roma in Germany are selected for transfer to camps for processing, which includes sterilization by injection or castration. Over the next three years, these camps will be established at Dachau, Dieselstrasse, Sachsenhausen, Marzahn and Vennhausen.
On March 23rd, The Law for the Revocation of German Citizenship is reinstituted, and again directed at Roma, Eastern Jews, stateless persons and other “undesirable foreigners.”
In July, two laws issued in Nuremburg forbid Germans from marrying “Jews, Negroes and Gypsies.”
On September 8th, the Düsseldorf District Administrative Court in Germany prohibits Roma from obtaining licenses allowing them to engage in itinerant trade.
On December 3rd in Berlin and Düsseldorf police ordinances are issued forbidding fortune-telling.
- In Yugoslavia, the journal Romano Lil is published.
In May, some five hundred Roma and Sinti are arrested because they are Gypsies, and incarcerated in a camp on Venloerstrasse in Cologne, Germany. This detention center is surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by armed police.
On September 15th, Roma and Sinti become subject to the restrictions of the National Citizenship Law (the Reichsbürgergesetz) and the NurembergLaw for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbids intermarriage or sexual relationships between Aryan and non-Aryan peoples. It states: “A marriage cannot be concluded when the expected result will put the purity of German blood of future generations in danger.” A policy statement issued by the Nazi Party reads “In Europe generally, only Jews and Gypsies come under consideration as members of an alien people.” Gypsies, Jews and Blacks are considered “racially distinctive” minorities with “alien blood.” On September 17th, the National Citizenship Law relegates Jews and Roma to the status of second class citizens, and deprives them of their civil rights.
On November 26th, the Central Reich Bureau and the Prussian Ministry of the Interior circulate an order to local vital statistics registration offices throughout Germany, prohibiting mixed marriages, specifically between “Gypsies, Black people, and their bastard offspring.”
In December all Roma in the town of Gelsenkirchen, Germany are incarcerated in camps on Crangerstraße and Reginenstraße, which are patrolled by the police, armed soldiers and dogs.
- On March 4th, a memorandum to the State Secretary of the Interior, Hans Pfundtner, addresses the creation of a national Gypsylaw (Reichzigeunergesetz), the purpose of which is to deal with the complete registration of the Romani population, their sterilization, the restriction on their movement and means of livelihood, and the expulsion of all foreign-born and stateless Roma.
On March 7th, Gypsies and Jews both have their voting rights taken from them.
On March 20th, “action against the Gypsies” is instituted in Frankfurt am Main, when the City Council votes to put all Roma into an internment camp. The camp, on Dieselstrasse, is selected on September 22nd this year, and arrests and internment begin a year later.
In June, the main Nazi institution to deal with Roma, the Racial Hygiene and Criminal Biology and Research Unit (which is Department 13 of the National Ministry of Health) is established under the directorship of Dr. Robert Ritter at Berlin-Dahlem. The National Interior Ministry supervises this entire project, partially funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemainschaft (the German Research Foundation). Its expressed purpose is to determine whether the Romani people and the Afro-Europeans are Aryans or sub-humans (Untermenschen). By early 1942, Ritter has documented the genealogy of almost the entire German Roma and Sinti population.
On June 5th, a circular issued by the National and the Prussian Ministries of the Interior instructs police to renew their efforts to “fight against the Gypsy plague.” Information about Roma should no longer be sent to Vienna, but to the Munich Centre for the Fight Against the Gypsy Nuisance.
On June 6th, the same ministries release a second circular, signed by Himmler which states that “Gypsies live by theft, lying and begging, and are a plague … It will be difficult for Gypsies to get used to an orderly, civilized way of life.” Also on this day, a decree issued by the National and Prussian Ministry of the Interior brings into existence the Central Office to Combat the Gypsy Menace. This office in Munich becomes the headquarters of a national data bank on Gypsies, and represents all German police agencies together with the Interpol International Center in Vienna. Interpol is located in the police headquarters on Roßauerlände in Vienna.
In June and July, several hundred Roma and Sinti are transported to Dachau by order of the Minister of the Interior as “dependents of the Munich Centre for the Fight Against the Gypsy Nuisance.” Attempts to escape are punishable by death.
In Bavaria, a deportation decree sends 400 Roma and Sinti to Dachau for forced labor.
In this year, Dr. Hans Globke, Head of Service for the Ministry of the Interior for the Third Reich, who serves on the panel on racial legislation, declares that “in Europe, only Jews and Gypsies are of foreign blood,” while race hygienist Dr. Robert Körber writes in Volk und Staat that “The Jews and the Gypsies are today remote from us because of their Asiatic ancestry, just as ours is Nordic.” This sentiment is reiterated by Dr. E. Brandis, who writes that “only the Gypsies are to be considered as an alien people in Europe (beside the Jews).”
Dr. Claus Eichen publishes his book Raßenwahn: Briefe über die Raßenfrage (Delusions of race: Notes on the race question) in which he justifies sterilization of “asocial” and “criminal” elements in German society.
Interpol in Vienna establishes the Centre for Combatting the Gypsy Menace, which has grown out of the earlier Bureau of Gypsy Affairs.
In Leipzig, Martin Block publishes his general study of Gypsies, and justifies Nazi racist attitudes by speaking of the “nauseating Gypsy smell,” and the “involuntary feeling of mistrust or repulsion one feels in their presence.”
In Berlin, Roma and Sinti are cleared off the streets away from public view because of the upcoming Olympic games. Fifty years later, the police in Spain do the same thing in preparation for the Olympic Games in Madrid.
- An editorial in the Hamburger Tagblattin August by Georg Nawrocki, takes the Weimar Republic to task for its lenient attitude towards Roma and Sinti: “It was in keeping with the inner weakness and mendacity of the Weimar Republic that it showed no instinct for tackling the Gypsy question. For it, the Sinti were a criminal concern at best — we, on the other hand, see the Gypsy question above all as a racial problem, which must be solved, and which is being solved.” .
On August 18th, Roma and Sinti in Frankfurt are arrested and incarcerated in the Dieselstrasse camp.
- On June 12-18, Zigeuneraufrämungswoche, “Gypsy Clean-up Week,” is in effect, and hundreds of Roma and Sinti throughout Germany and Austria are rounded up, beaten and imprisoned. This is the third such public action by the German state. Like Kristallnacht(“Crystal Night,” or the “Night of Broken Glass” on November 9th this same year) for the Jews, it is a public sanctioning and approval of the official attitude towards members of an “inferior race.”
On March 16th, Roma and Sinti are no longer allowed to vote in Germany. After March 23rd, Jews are also no longer allowed to vote.
Heinrich Himmler issues a decree entitled Bekämpfung der Zigeunerplage stating that Gypsies of mixed blood are the most predisposed to criminality, and that police departments should systematically send data on Roma and Sinti in their areas to the Reich Central Office.
In the USSR, Joseph Stalin bans the Romani language and culture.
- In Greece, the Panhellenic Cultural Association of Greek Gypsiesis formed.
1939-45. Second World War. Nazis draw up lists of English Gypsies for internment. British government creates caravan sites for families of Gypsies in the army or doing farm labour. These sites are closed after the war.
- Robert Ritter publishes a report in which he states that “we have been able to establish that more than 90% of the so-called ‘native’ [i.e. German-born] Gypsies are of mixed blood … Furthermore, the results of our investigations have allowed us to characterize the Gypsies as being a people of entirely primitive ethnological origins, whose mental backwardness makes them incapable of real social adaptation … The Gypsy question can only be solved when the main body of asocial and worthless Gypsy individuals of mixed blood is collected together in large labor camps and kept working there, and when the further breeding of this population of mixed blood is permanently stopped.”
The French government opens internment camps for nomads.
In Austria, internment camps are built at Maxglan, Slazburg, and Lackenbach.
At Buchenwald, 250 Romani children are used as guinea-pigs to test the Zyklon-B gas crystals.
- In August, Heinrich Himmler issues a decree in Germany stating the criteria for racial and biological evaluation. An individual’s Gypsygenealogy is to be investigated over three generations (compared to two generations for one’s Jewish genealogy). He implements a system of classification based on degree of Romani genetic descent: <Z> means “pure Gypsy,” <ZM+> means more than half Gypsy, <ZM> means half Gypsy, <ZM-> means less than half Gypsy and <NZ> means non-Gypsy. Having two great-grandparents who were even only part-Gypsy (i.e. if one were of 25 percent or less Roma ancestry) counts as <ZM->.
In Germany, Romani children are excluded from schools.
In Poland, a Gypsy camp is set up in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz for 5.000 inmates.
In Croatia, the Jasenovac concentration camp is opened.
In Serbia, the German Military Command orders that all Gypsies will be treated as Jews. In November, it further orders the immediate arrest of all Gypsies and Jews, who are to be held as hostages.
All Sinti Gypsy families living in the Volga Republic are deported to Kazakhstan.
In September, an SS Task Force carries out mass executions of Roma and Jews in the Baby Yar valley of the Ukraine.
In Yugoslavia in October, the German army executes 2.100 Jewish and Gypsy hostages as reprisal for soldiers killed by partisans.
- Heinrich Himmler issues the order to deport the Gypsies in Greater Germany to the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In Poland, all Gypsies from the Lodz ghtetto are transported and gassed at Chelmo.
- In March, Robert Ritter announces the completion of his work on classifying Gypsiesto the German Association for Research, saying “The registration of Gypsies and part-Gypsies has been completed, roughly as planned, in the Old Reich [pre-war Germany] and in the Ostmark [Austria], despite all of the difficulties engendered by the War. Our studies are still in progress in the annexed territories … The number of cases clarified from the racial and biological perspective is 21,498 at the present time.” Ten months later their figures increase to 23,822.
Nazi leader Himmler orders all Gypsy camps closed, resulting in the liquidation of the Romani prisoners.
- Zigeunernacht, literally, Gypsy Night. On August 2, four thousand Roma are gassed and cremated in a single action at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
In Slovakia, Roma join the fight of partisans in the Slovak National Uprising.
1933-45. O Porraimos, the Great Devouring. Up to 1,500,000 Sinti and Roma are killed in Europe by the Nazi regime and its puppet states. Determining the percentage or number of Roma who died in the Holocaust is not easy. Much of the Nazi documentation still remains to be analyzed, and many murders were not recorded, since they took place in the fields and forests where Roma were apprehended.
- In Bulgaria, the Romani Organisation for the Fight against Fascism and Racism is established.
1945-60. Gypsies begin to use motor-drawn trailers, and buy land for their own stopping-places in England.
- In France, Mateo Maximoff’s novel The Ursitoryis published.
In Poland, the Roma Ensemble is founded.
- Teatr Roma (Theater Roma)is established in Sofia, Bulgaria. It closes four years later.
- The first published poems of Bronislawa Wajs, a Romni poetess and singer from Poland, known as “Papusza,” appear in Problemymagazine.
1950s. In Germany, the Verband Deutscher Sinti (Association of German Sinti) and the Zentralrat Deutscher Sinti und Roma (Central Council of German Sinti and Roma) are founded to further reparation claims from World War II, and later to pursue equal civil and social rights.
1950-1967. In the Cologne region of Germany, identity papers given to survivors of the Nazi concentration camps are withdrawn from Sinti and Roma on the grounds that they could provide no written proof of their German nationality.
- The Romani Evangelical Churchmovement is started in Britanny, France under the leadership of Clément Le Cossec.
- In Denmark, Roma are readmitted to the country.
- Police authorities in Bavaria set up a special office, in conjunction with Interpol, for registering Sinti and Roma.
- Matéo Maximoff, a Kalderash Rom, writes the novel Le Prix de la Liberté (The Price of Freedom), dealing with the dying days of Romani slavery; Maximoff’s own grandfather was born into slavery in Romania.
- In Czechoslovakia, law no.74 bans nomadism. To enforce this policy, police kill all caravan horses and remove the wheels from their waggons. To remain a nomad is punishable by prison terms of six months to three years.
Bulgaria attempts an assimilation campaign by issuing a decree that prohibits Roma from travelling. Local councils are enjoined to channel them into factories and cooperative farms. This campaign will last for thirty years.
- Zohri Muller founds the organisation Pro Tzigania Svizzerain Switzerland.
The World Gypsy Community (CMG) is founded in Paris by Ionel Rotaru. The CMG includes Rom, Manush, and Kalé from France, with contacts in Poland, Canada, Turkey, and other countries.
- The Caravan Sites (Control of Development) Act in England stops new private sites being built until 1972. Eviction and harassment of Gypsies starts to reach a crisis.
- The National Association of Gypsiesin France is founded.
In the Federal Republic of Germany, courts rule that Roma were persecuted for racial reasons.
- In Italy, the Opera Nomadieducation scheme is set up.
- Poland approves settlement laws aimed at forcing Roma to become sedentary. Those who fail to observe these laws are expelled from the country and stripped of their citizenship.
- The French government issues a decree dissolving the World Gypsy Community (CMG). A group of the CMG leadership splinters off and forms the International Gypsy Committee, headed by Vanko Rouda.
In Slovakia, Roma are to be cleared and dispersed to Czech areas with fewer Roma. Roma deported under this plan either return to where they came from or are followed by their extended families, creating new concentrations of Roma, creating new government problems.
Pope Paul VI addresses some 2,000 Roma at Pomezia, Italy.
- Growing eviction and harassment leads to the formation of the British Gypsy Councilto fight for sites.
- The Association of Gypsies of Finlandis founded.
First Gypsy Council summer school, in Essex, England.
- The Caravan Sites Act insists that from 1970, local authorities should provide caravan sites for Gypsies in England. This Act is never fully enforced, and is later abolished.
Czechoslovakia abandons plans after years of failure to disperse Roma throughout Czech lands.
Rudolf Karway, President of the Zigeunermission, a civil rights movement based in Hamburg, leads a delegation to the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg, France.
- Miroslav Holomek becomes the head of the Union of Romain Czechoslovakia. The Union of Roma is later banned by the Czechoslovak government in 1973. Miroslav’s brother Tomas Holomek, a former parliament member, is the first Roma lawyer in Czechoslovakia.
In Bulgaria, segregated schools are set up for Roma.
Abdi Faik of Macedonia is elected to the Yugoslavian parliament.
- The National Gypsy Education Councilis formed in England.
- The First World Romani Congress is held in London with delegates from fourteen countries. An international Romani flag, anthem and motto are formally approved. The term Romis adopted as a self-appellation. Five commissions are set up dealing with social affairs, education, war crimes, language and culture.
The International Gypsy Committee is renamed the Komiteto Lumniako Romano (International Rom Committee) at the First World Romani Congress in London. Vanko Rouda is confirmed as president.
- The International Romani Unionbecomes a member of The Council of Europe.
In Sweden, the Finska Zigenarförening (Association of Finnish Gypsies) is established in Stockholm.
In France, the National Committee of Travellers is founded.
The British government begins to exempt some councils from building sites for caravans. The Gypsy Council begins to split. The government starts to give grants only to Gypsy organisations who cooperate with it.
In Czechoslovakia, a sterilisation programme for Roma begins.
- The Nordic Rom Councilis formed representing the interests of Roma in the Scandinavian countries.
The Communist government bans Romani associations in Czechoslovakia on the grounds that Roma are not a recognised national minority and that they “failed to fulfill their integrative function.”
Radio broadcasts in Romani start from Tetovo, Macedonia in Yugoslavia.
- The Association of Travellers in Switzerlandis established.
- A law is passed in Belgium making it possible for Roma born in Belgium to acquire citizenship.
In Hungary, the first issues of the magazine Rom Som (I am Roma) appear.
- The first Roma Festival is held at Chandigarh, India. Mrs. Indira Gandhi pledges support for the demand that Roma be recognised as a nationalminority of Indian origin.
The Czechoslovakian newspaper Vychodoslovenske Noviny publishes the official text of government plans for compulsory sterilisation of Roma as an act of “socialistic humanity.”
Sweden passes a parlimentary decision giving the State Immigration Authority responsibility for programs aimed at rehabilitating Roma socially and medically, and for providing housing for Roma in Sweden who had earlier been living under harsh conditions.
- In Italy, the Komiteto Romano ande Italia (National Roma Committee) is formed.
The Second World Romani Congress in Geneva renames the International Rom Committee to the Romano Internacionalno Jekhetani Union. The Congress is attended by some 120 delegates and observers from 26 countries. India is strongly represented.
- The International Romani Unionis given consultative status at the United Nations Social and Economic Commission (UNESCO).
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is founded by President Carter. There is no Romani representation on the 65-member Holocaust Memorial Council.
In Hungary, the first exhibition of self-taught Roma artists is held.
In Norway, an ABC Romani primer is published for mother tongue teaching.
In Romania, Saint John’s Gospel appears in Romani from an underground publisher.
- The Nasa Kniga publishing house of Skopje, Yugoslavia prints the first book of Romani grammar written entirely in the Romani script and orthography. The original printing of 3,000 copies sells out quickly.
The Union of Gypsies and Travellers in France is established.
- The Third World Romani Congress held in Göttingen, Germany. It is attended by some 600 delegates and observers from twenty-eight countries. It supports the demand that Roma be recognised as a national minority of Indian origin. The fate of the Roma under the Nazis dominates the discussions.
Chancellor Schmidt of West Germany meets with Roma and Sinti representatives led by Romani Rose. The Bonn government officially recognises that Roma and Sinti had been targets of racial persecution by the Nazis.
In Yugoslavia, Roma are granted national status on an equal footing with other minorities.
- The organisation Comili International Romholds a ceremony commemorating the 125th anniversary of the abolition of Romani slavery in Europe.
In France, the newly elected Mitterand government promises to help nomads.
- The Second International Roma Festival is held at Chandigarh, India.
The first national Gypsy Pentecostal Convention is held in England.
- The post of Special Advisor on Holocaust-related Gypsy Matters to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council is created; however the post is considered largely an “honourary” position.
Phralipé (Brotherhood) is founded in Romania. It is the first Roma organisation in nearly fifty years established with official government approval.
In France, the First International Exhibition (Mondiale) of Gypsy Art is held in Paris.
- The International Romani Unionbecomes a member of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The United States Romani Council is formed.
The International Romani Symposium is held at Sarajevo. It supports the demand that Roma be recognised as a national minority of Indian origin.
The musical drama Amaro Drom (Our Road) by Rom playwright Emile Scuka becomes only the second play in the Romani language ever to be staged in Czechoslovakia.
- The United States Holocaust Memorial Council appoints its first Rom member, William Duna, seven years after its creation.
- The European Union starts a five-year programme for the education of Romani children.
In Poland, the first Romane Divesa festival of dance and music is held.
The collapse of Communism in Europe marks the beginning of the Third European Diaspora of the Roma, according to some scholars. Racially-motivated violence against Roma increases.
In Germany, Roma protestors demonstrate in the former concentration camp at Neuengamme against the deportation of asylum seekers.
- Romany Gypsies are First recognised as an ethnic minority
- The Fourth World Romani Congress held in Serock, Poland. In attendance are some 250 delegates. Among the programmes discussed are reparations from World War II, education, culture, public relations, language, and a Romani encyclopedia, written in Romanes, not about Roma, but for Roma.
The International Romani Union is awarded membership in the European Conference on Security and Cooperation.
In Poland, the journal Rrom p-o Drom (Roma on the Road) is founded.
- The National Gypsy Education Councilin England is renamed the Gypsy Council for Education, Culture, Welfare and Civil Rights (GCECWCR).
Romani teaching starts at Prague University, Czech Republic.
In Macedonia, Roma are accorded equal rights in the new republic.
- The Theatre Romathan (Romano Teatro)opens in Kosice, Slovakia.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights passes a resolution on the protection of Roma.
- In Macedonia, the use of the Romani language in schools is officially introduced.
In Austria, indigenous Roma are recognised as an ethnic group.
In Scotland, the Scottish Gypsy Traveller Association is established.
The International Romani Union petitions for and receives promotion to Category II, Special Consultative Status at the United Nations.
- The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act abolishes the Caravan Sites Act leaving about 5,000 families with no legal home. British Gypsies look to Europe for protection.
In Hungary, the Budapest OSCE establishes the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues, to be based initially in Warsaw.
In France, at a meeting in Strasbourg, the Standing Conference of Romani Associations is formed.
A proposal to teach Israeli high school students about the murder of Roma by the Nazis draws loud protests, especially from Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial. Critics say the curriculum, titled “Sensitivity to Suffering in the World,” would blur the uniqueness of the Holocaust.
- The writer, Philomina Franz, a World War II concentration camp survivor, is awarded the German Federal Cross for Merits, the highest civil award which Germany confers. She is the first Sinti awarded the prize for her “activities endeavouring after understanding and conciliation.”
In the United States, the first national conference on the Porrajmos (Romani Holocaust) is held at Drew University.
The Union of Romani Political Parties is formed in Slovakia.
In France, the Second International Exhibition (Mondiale) of Gypsy Art is held in Paris.
- The European Roma Rights Centre is set up in Budapest, Hungary.
Five thousand Roma are evicted from the Selamsiz quarter of Istanbul, Turkey.
In Spain, the Romani Union’s second “Sarajevo” Peace Conference is held in Vittoria.
- On May 4th, Pope John Paul II beatifies Ceferino Jimenez Malla, also known as El Pele. The Blessed Ceferino Jimenez Malla was martyred for his faith in August 1936 at the age of 75 when he was shot by a Spanish Republican firing squad. El Pele becomes the first Gypsy elevated to beatification in the history of the Catholic Church. Beatification is the first step required for sainthood.
In Germany, President Herzog visits the Romani Holocaust Exhibition in Heidelberg.
In Romania, a conference is held in Bucharest on the Prevention of Violence and Discrimination against Roma in Europe.
In Spain, the first European Congress of Romani Youth is held in Barcelona.
Ian Hancock receives the Thorolf Rafto Prize for Human Rights on behalf of the Romani people. Later that year, he is appointed by U.S. President Clinton as the only Romani representative on the 65-member U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. He becomes only the second Romani representative on the Council in the USHMC’s 17-year history.
In England, Romani refugees from the Slovak Republic arrive in Dover seeking asylum and receive mainly negative reactions and scepticism from local residents and the national news media.
- In the United States, New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman signs into law Assembly Bill 2654, repealing that state’s anti-Roma law adopted in 1917. Governor Whitman’s signature effectively rescinds the last anti-Roma law on the books of any American state.