By this time the sensitivity towards the term had increased greatly and a growing number of people had been labelled as such. The personal files compiled by Dillmann in , among which were those of many Zigeuner from other states, increased to in , the moment that Munich was recognized as the national centre of intelligence This increase can be explained only partly by normal demographic causes or by the extension of the Bavarian registration practice over the rest of Germany.
Another important cause of the rise in numbers was the application of the gypsy label to the Nach Zigeunerart umherziehende Personen people living like gypsies The increased power given to the police, who worked hand in glove with other authorities, is uncompromisingly revealed in the construction of guarded camps in a number of big cities At the same time, from , the police locked up small numbers of gypsies, with other so-called anti-social people, in work-camps.
From the concentrationcamps Dachau and Buchenwald were used for this very same purpose The police therefore was confronted with scholars and policy makers who began to take an interest in gypsies from these points of view.
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The answer, so it was thought, should not in the first instance come from the police, but from scholars specialized in hereditary problems. It is not surprising that a number of these academics seized their chance to dominate this new definitory terrain. In the case of gypsies the leading role was taken by the psychiatrist Robert Ritter 72 , who was appointed as head of the Rassenhygienische Forschungsstelle 73 of the Reichsgesundheitsamt in It was up to him to decide on a scientific basis who was a gypsy and who was not. Soon Ritter was appointed advisor to of the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt RKPA , where the files of the Munich Gypsy Station were concentrated, because the head of the RKPA, Arthur Nebe, realized that although he had a highly detailed gypsy registration at his disposal, it had not been compiled primarily on racial grounds This did not cause Ritter to reflect that perhaps his racial assumptions were flawed, on the contrary, he saw it as a proof for the far-reaching extent of mixing that had taken place in the past centuries.
He tried to corroborate this idea by gathering as much genealogical data as possible, which formed the basis for the decision of who was classified as full-blood, mixed, or non-gypsy The most probable scenario was that he based himself on the registration of gypsies by the police 77 and then tried to trace these people back in time. Judging from the smallness of Ritter's staff and the number of gypsies c.
In the few short months between December and April some Gutachten reports on individual gypsies were expected to be delivered Pausing to consider how time-consuming thorough genealogical research is, especially with travelling people, our conclusions must be most Gutachten were made on very dubious grounds. Scepticism about the reliability of Ritter's work mounts, when we remember that his institute benefited financially from the making out of Gutachten.
The German historian Riechert even argued that this played a crucial role in the financing of his Rassengygienische Forschungsstelle He offered them as it were on a salver and, moreover, defined who was to be regarded as such. Ritter's stock-taking two years later barely deviates from this categorization.
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Even the genealogical method was already widely used by the police after Finally it would seem that the police also had started gathering data on sedentary gypsies before Ritter began his research. The Munich Gypsy Station especially seemed to be much more important in deciding who was a gypsy than was Ritter's racial institute.
As a matter of fact, the distinction made by Dillmann between Zigeuner and nach Zigeunerart umherziehende Personen was what laid the foundations for the racial classification used later. But not even Dillmann worked in a void.
As we have seen his approach and methods lean heavily on the police practices which were developed at the end of the eighteenth and which were given extra impetus by publication of the police journals in the nineteenth century. The most important of these is the light it sheds on the early beginnings of the professionalization of the police.
In Siemann already pointed to the importance of the police journals 85 , stressing their preventive and proactive functions and their stimulating influence on a more structural co-operation by means of data exchange. This paper gives added support to his provisional suggestions and moreover shows that a systematic and proactive approach to the tracing of criminal or unwanted persons had already started in the eighteenth century with the issuing of Steckbriefe.
The authors, the Kriminalisten , can be considered the link between indirect and direct rule, or - from a different angle - between reactive and proactive policing In the eighteenth as well as in the twentieth century policemen were primarily interested in obtaining a better insight into the real and the potential criminals broadly defined , and thus curbing the danger that these persons posed to the public.
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Notwithstanding the multitude of studies on the persecution of gypsies in Germany that have been undertaken in the last fifteen years, the problem of the labelling has barely been touched by most researchers. This oversight can be explained by the implicit assumption that historical sources pose no problem about the question of who is a gypsy. An assumption that is re-inforced by the use of the ethnic term Sinti und Roma instead of gypsies.
This habit springs not such much from historical considerations, but is the fruit of the actual political correct struggle of interest groups from among and for gypsies. As this paper has tried to show, this easily leads to anachronistic and unjustified interpretations. What was the relationship between labelling and ethnicity? In the Bavarian police took up the thread again and erected a Landfahrerzentrale , building up among other files a new registration system of travellers and gypsies, based on the Bavarian Act of Only in was this Sonderbehandlung closed after protests by pressure groups, although grave doubts may be cast on whether the police really changed their practice after that date The genealogical material gathered by Ritter and his team made a series of strange and mysterious detours, to end up only in part in the general archive of Koblenz.
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