You got him moving

The following exchange between a Romany adviser to a Czech regional government office and a Jewish survivor of Terezin and Auschwitz focuses on the fact that some seventy per cent of Romany children in the Czech Republic have been placed in so-called special schools for the mentally retarded.
This is an issue which the 27 July 2001 United Nations Human Rights Report singles out – along with police abuse of minorities – as a significant problem in the Czech Republic.
"UNITED NATIONS Information Centre Prague
UN Human Rights Committee Concerned About Discrimination AgainstMinorities in the Czech Republic
PRAGUE, 3 August (UN Information Centre)
The Human Rights Committee concluded its seventy-second session on 27 July 2001 by issuing its final conclusions and recommendations on reports submitted to it by the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Monaco, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of Korea.
With regards to the report of the Czech Republic, the Committee commended the State party for its commitment to rebuilding a democratic legal orderand undertaking the process of bringing its legislation into harmony withits international obligations, since the road to democracy started in 1989;however, it was deeply concerned about discrimination against minorities,particularly the Roma; and about the disproportionate number of Roma children who were assigned to special schools designed for mentally disabled children.”]
11 June 2001
Eva Bajgerova Romany Adviser to the Regional GovernmentUsti nad Labem
in conversation with
Helga Weissova-Hoskovapainter, survivor of Terezin and AuschwitzPrague Eva Bajgerova
Since the end of Communism more and more Romany children are being sent to special schools for mentally handicapped children.
When I think of my school years, there were only few classes in the special school. Nowadays we have a whole school in our town, and it is not the only one in our region.
I don’t think that’s normal. I think that some children have been wrongly sent there.
And all the special schools in our region have about ninety per cent Romany pupils.
But we attended your lecture at the Jewish Museum here in Prague last year, and we brought our children with us. You told us the story about your school: about the Nazis not allowing you and the other Jewish children to go to school.
At that time one of the kids attended a special school for mentally retarded children. But after your lecture this child studied and managed to catch up with pupils from normal schools. He passed the exams, and now he attends a secondary school.
That’s beautiful.
Helga Weissova-Hoskova
One never knows if the stories have any effect on people. But when I hear that they influence someone, I see that it makes some sense.
Even if the boy you’re telling me about was the only one it influenced.
Eva Bajgerova
You certainly played an important part in his story. You got him moving.
[Helga’s talk at the Jewish Museum appears in The Holocaust menu on this Web-page, “You can have a great influence”; a story about another Romany special school student appears in this menu, Learning: “She played the first violin.” ]______On 16 May 2002 Karolina Kopicovaresponded:
I agree with you. You helped your child to get into a school where he will get better education. But I am also of the opinion that if more handicapped children did the same, there needn´t be so many Romany kids in speacial schools. But – there is a question: Do they deserve it? Do they have abilities for normal schools? Some kids have to attend speacial schools. And not because of the color of their skin.

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