During the first years of the Nazi regime, many policies that targeted Romani people also impacted non-Romani people deemed to be living a “Gypsy-like” existence. Laws and decrees affecting Roma and Sinti reflected widespread anti-Romani racial prejudices. They targeted behaviors and lifestyles that authorities considered incompatible with Nazi visions for an orderly society.
In December 1938, SS Leader and German Police Chief Heinrich Himmler issued another decree on Roma and Sinti. It stated that the regime’s anti-Romani policies should be treated primarily as a matter of race. This decree marked an important shift in Nazi policies toward Roma and Sinti. Himmler ordered police to register all Roma and Sinti living in Nazi Germany and to classify them racially. He also called for the physical separation of Roma and Sinti from so-called “Aryan” Germans. This decree helped establish a foundation for the anti-Romani policies the Nazi regime imposed during World War II. These policies included segregation, deportation, and mass murder.