Was the persecution of the Sinti and Roma under National Socialism an act of genocide? This article posits that the conference of January 15, 1943 constituted a point of culmination for Nazi policy toward ‘Gypsies.’ Until now, researchers have attached little importance to this event, but the author will show that various actors gathered at this meeting to shape Nazi Germany’s racial policies – including those directed at Gypsies – and reached agreement on subsequent actions against Mischlinge, persons of ‘mixed race.’ This paper explores the increasing persecution of this minority and its escalation in 1943 with deportations to the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Such persons were to be rendered extinct within a generation by means of forced sterilization; only a very few were to be ‘Germanized.’ On the basis of empirical data, the author also shows that the group of ‘Gypsies’ defined as ‘racially pure,’ and therefore exempted from deportation to Auschwitz, was extremely small. The racially-motivated elimination of Gypsies continued until the end of the Nazi regime. The author also makes clear how the men who made Nazi racial policy correlated the lessons learned from the parallel processes of the persecution of Jews and the persecution of Sinti and Roma.
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