Stories & Responses

ashamed

Author: anonymous, U.K.Location: u.kthere is a boy in my secondary school called Ian. he is a big lad and hates me for being a ‘gyppo’. it’s never out in the open- always secret. but i’m not even a Romani by blood. i speak lots of the language, have Roma or sinti friends, and i’m abused [...]

A new agency for unemployed Roma in Prague

Author: Katerina SidonovaLocation: PragueA new service for unemployed Roma in Prague. Free of charge.Personal Agency of Roma is a non-profit agency that was established by the Romani Union in the Czech Republic. The project is supported by the City Council of Prague. Its aim is to help Roma to find work and stay employed. It [...]

It is not possible to arrest a person because of his physical appearance

[This is a transcription of a sequence in a videotape shot in the police station in Terezin, Czech Republic on 18 September 2000 during the Stories Exchange Project workshop ARTS OF TOLERANCE. It is included in the second video documentary about the project: "MY WAY AND HIS WAY: The Stories Exchange Project"]Cenek RuzickaDirector Romany Holocaust [...]

Foreigners enrich our culture

Mateja SegistudentGymnazium Jan PatockaPragueRoms are citizens of the Czech Republic as much as anyone else. The problem is that most Roms are not educated – so it is hard for them to find work. Then they do nothing, and expect the state to help them. There are many cases of uneducated parents who don’t want to send [...]

I hope that my generation will overcome

Mariana WesleyovastudentGymnazium Jan PatockaPrague Roms should be looked at as individuals, not judged in terms of a whole ethnic group.The behavior of young Roms is shaped by their living standards, their interests, their environment etc. There are some who feel that they are different, that they are an ethnic group, that their social status is [...]

There are good and bad people in every society

Lucie MatuskovastudentGymnazium Jan PatockaPragueI don’t have much experience with Roms. I think they are not all to blame; we make mistakes too. A friend of mine who is very dark told me about her stay in a hospital. She was not able to move. Her parents would bring fruit and put it on her bedside [...]

They shouldn’t have been forced to assimilate

Filip CapandastudentJan Patocka Grammar SchoolPrague Roms are a minority in the Czech Republic. According to them, they are discriminated against. I think that is true.But what if so-called discrimination is only an excuse for their slow integration into our society? Roms came here a long time ago. They led a nomadic style of life, and [...]

It was full of joy

Tereza RehakovastudentJan Patocka Grammar SchoolPrague This is my only experience with Roms. It happened when I was less than five years old. I lived in Smichov, where there were a lot of Roms. No Roms lived in our house, but the house across the road was full of them. Like all children I was inquisitive, [...]

I mustn’t become white

Zdenka SvobodovaJuly 2000Milan H. is a tall and well-built young Romany man. He is twenty-six, and works as a policeman in a town in Central Bohemia. I recorded this story while we were sitting in the kitchen of the council flat where he lives with his wife, who is white. At his request I am [...]

I have a heart, and it’s not Czech

Hanka KozurikovaLibice nad CidlinouI was born in Kolin in 1966 to Anna and Koloman Conka. They had already had two boys; I was their first daughter. My mom was from the vicinity of Poprad in Slovakia. The village where she was born is called Lucivna. A Czech historian of the Roms, Milena Hubschmannova, has written [...]