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Roma News October 2021


The "Czech Nightingale" pop music survey returns with improvements, Romani musicians are in the line up, write-in candidates also possible


On 2nd October reported that the Czech Nightingale popular music survey had returned to the Czech music scene in 2021 under new direction.

It was said that the popular music survey "Czech Nightingale" (Český slavík) had been revived and the announcement of the winners woukld be broadcast live on 19 November from the Karlín Musical Theater in Prague. It was noted that the survey was returning to the music scene after a four-year hiatus with a new voting sructure designed by Karel Janeček, the entrepreneur and mathematician who is the president of the survey's new entity, Český slavík 21.  

It was reported that members of the public would be able to vote with the aid of the D21 system, the organizers had announced to the press and that voting had launched and would be underway until midnight on 5 November through the Decision 21 platform.

It was noted that people could aso vote at the website  and that several Romani performers are included among those to vote for.


Czech Interior Minister, SocDem chair: The position of Roma will improve by combating the collections mafia and traffickers in poverty


On 2nd October reported that the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) saw the improvement of the inclusion of Romani people into society as depending on combating the collections mafia and traffickers in poverty, while access to education for all children was also important. It was further reported that the party also wanted to make public the names of all landlords who offer more than three units for rental to tenants entitled to housing benefits.

It was noted that the party believed that making such ownership a matter of public record would spark public debate about who is actually benefiting from trafficking in poverty. Jan Hamáček, the party chair who would become Prime Minister if the party were to win a majority in next weekend's elections, communicated these messages to news server in a recent interview.  


Doctor in Slovakia refuses treatment to Romani toddler because his mother was unvaccinated, he died shortly thereafter

Ton 4th october reported that the Markíza television channel in Slovakia ha dreported that a four-year-old Romani boy had died after an asthma attack in Jarovnice u Sabinova, Slovakia. It was noted that prior to the attack, a local doctor had refused to treat him because his mother was not vaccinated against COVID-19.  

It was said that the child, named Peter, had long been under treatment for asthma and had been hospitalized for it more than once and two days before he had died he was taken to the local pediatrician by his grandmother, who had been immunized.

It was said that the physician had refused to allow the grandmother into the consulting room and had examined Peter without her being present. Drugs were then said to be prescribed for the boy, but he did not improve. 

Peter's mother was then said to have returned to the doctor with him two days later, but the pediatrician refused to treat Peter because his mother was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

"He was doing badly, coughing. She could have sent him to the hospital, but she refused to examine him because his Mom was not vaccinated," neighbors of the family told the television channel.

Peter later suffered an asthma attack at home and collapsed. The emergency medical team who responded to the family's call were unable to help him.

"They were trying to revive him, but nothing more could be done," a woman from the Romani settlement was reported as telling Markíza.  It was also noted that when the physician had been asked why she didn't receive children whose family members were unvaccinated, her response was "No comment".


Czech Communist Party chair: Roma aren't denied rights by any laws, our system doesn't allow it, and most Roma don't declare their nationality

On 4th October, reported that, “according to Vojtěch Filip, chair of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) and its lead candidate in the elections to the lower house this next weekend, most Romani people in the Czech Republic do not declare their membership in the Romani community. According to him, that community has is own rules and anybody who doesn't want to live in accordance with them will be forced to leave it.”  

Filip wass aid to have made the remarks in an interview for news server and he also said it is decidedly not the case that Romani people are denied their rights by any laws currently in place.

"Our legal system can't even facilitate that. However, the creation of social stigma can, in some cases, lead to instances of unfair treatment," Filip was reported as saying. 


Czech welfare chauvinists call for abolition of inclusion, renewal of "special schools", and denial of welfare to "inadaptables"

On 5th october, reported that according to the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement of Tomio Okamura, none of the integration programmes in the Czech Republic meant to support Romani people work and they were only good for the nonprofit organizations that make a living off of them. It was said that the SPD wanted to use one standard of measurement for everybody and emphasize that there can be no exceptions when it comes to obeying the law. 

That was to said to be the message sent to news server by Czech MP Lucie Šafránková (SPD), who had responded to questions from instead of the statewide leader of the movement, Tomio Okamura. It was reported that in Šafránková's view, it was necessary to halt the massive abuse of welfare by those she calls "inadpatables".    

Šafránková was reported as saying that in most cases, the inhabitants of socially excluded localities would survive on welfare for as long as possible and did not want to change anything about their circumstances. It was also reported that in the arena of education, the SPD wanted to abolish inclusion and renew what used to be called the "special schools" to which, during the previous regime, Romani children had been systematically allocated. 


Czech Pirates: We will break up the monopoly of residential hotels for the poor, we reject the insulting term "inadaptables"

On 5th October reported that the Czech Pirates wanted to break up the monopoly held by the owners of residences that are falling apart, including the residential hotels that are providing accommodation to impoverished people, across the board throughout the country's entire territory. It was also reported that in the area of education, they back the idea of direct support to Romani students through scholarships.

It was further reported that it was not the only instrument the Pirates were in favor of.,when it comes to supporting Romani people. "In addition to Romani-specific supports, Romani people must have access to everything that all other citizens are able to take advantage of here, i.e., the instruments for supporting children from socially disadvantaging environments," Ivan Bartoš, chair of the Czech Pirate Party and frontrunner in its coalition with the STAN (Mayors and Independents) party, was reported as telling news server 

The insulting term "inadaptables" is one the Pirates refuse to use. "That is a degrading label used by those who suffer from an inability to tolerate differences," the Pirate chair was reported as saying. 


Czech Spolu (Together) coalition: Education is the path to better integration of Roma, "inadaptables" don't want to conform

 On 6th October, reported that Petr Fiala (chair of the Civic Democratic Party - ODS, in the center), Markéta Pekarová Adamová (chair of TOP 09, left) and Marian Jurečka (chair of the Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL, right) were running as the Spolu (Together) coalition in the 2021 elections to the Czech lower house.


It was also reported that the path to better integration of disadvantaged groups, including Romani people, is high-quality education and that that was the message of the Spolu (Together) coalition's response to interview questions sent by news server

It was noted that according to Spolu, the correct path is, for example, that of awarding scholarships to Romani high school and college students. "Positive motivation could contribute to more young Romani students striving for the better future that a quality education can provide them. There are already many Romani men and women today in this society who are successful lawyers, physicians, musicians, teachers or architects," Spolu representatives were reported as saying – but it was also noted that they had refused to distance themselves from the use of the "inadaptable" label, which in their view refers to those who have not adapted their behavior and life philosophy to the customs and values of the majority society, and who don't even want to do so.


Czech MP for governing ANO movement: Support for the nonprofit sector is important to the integration of the Roma

On 7th October, reported that the ANO movement said it wanted to support the nonprofit sector in the Czech Republic, which was playing an important role in integrating Romani people, and that it also wanted to beef up the housing stock owned by municipalities and the accessibility of social housing, as well as support education more, including through providing scholarships. It was noted that Czech MP Eva Fialová (ANO) had made those statements in response to the questions sent by news server in the runup to the elections to the lower house now underway. 

It was said that in her view, there was a problem with the abuse of welfare in the Czech Republic, but it was not easy to calculate the amount that is being misused, whileAffordable housing was said to be considered another important point of the ANO programme.


Czech elections once again fail to elect a Romani legislator to the lower house

On 10th October, reported that none of the Romani men and women who had run in the elections to the Czech lower house had succeeded this weekend, as predicted, and none would be seated in the Chamber of Deputies. It was noted that the most successful candidate from the Romani minority to run had been Jiří Lévay, who had run for the ANO movement in the Moravian-Silesian Region in 27th place, winning 913 preferential votes.

"I very much thank all of you who cast your ballots for me. You're brilliant," Lévay was said to have posted to social media. 

Andrea Kuchtová (SPD) was said to be the second most successful Romani candidate with 414 preferential votes, running in 16th place on the candidate list of Tomio Okamura's movement in the Ústecký Region. It was aalso noted that Romani candidate Anna Chválová of the Green Party had run in Prague and scored 386 preferential votes, followed in terms of results by yet another Romani SPD candidate, Ondřej Tancoš, and then another ANO candidate, Marcel Ščuka, who was the fifth most successful Romani candidate.

Ščuka received 226 preferential votes running in 27th place in the South Moravian Region. The remaining three Romani candidates scored results in this order: Jiří Daniel (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD), Emil Voráč (Greens) and Lukáš Mačo (The Left - Levice).


Hungarian court rules Romani children were discriminatorily institutionalized because of their origin and social status

On 12th October, reported that the Budapest Metropolitan Court had ruled in favour of the arguments made by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in a case against the discriminatorily disproportionate representation of Romani children in state care in Hungary's Nógrád County, according to a press release issued on 5 October 2021 by the organization. It was noted that the 4 October verdict had found the Human Resources Ministry violated the children's right to equal treatment when it had removed them from their families because of their parents' financial situations, as the majority of them are Romani. 

"These families have been discriminated against on the basis of their socioecnomic position, their poverty, and also because of their Romani origin," the court ruled. The ERRC acted as the plaintiff in this actio popularis case, representing all Romani children affected by the removals. 


Gunter Demnig marked the Nazi deportation route of thousands of Roma and Sinti from Cologne, Germany, then invented the Stolpersteine

On 13th october rewported that the Stolpersteine, which in the Czech language are being called the Stones of the Disappeared (Kameny zmizelých), was a project created by the German artist Gunter Demnig. It was noted that during the 30 years of its existence almost 90 000 stones had been installed in 26 countries, the biggest decentralized memorial in the world dedicated to the victims of Nazism. 

It was noted that since 2008 it had been possible to see the Stones of the Disappeared in the streets of towns across the Czech Republic. The 10x10cm brass plates were said to be affixed to the tops of cobblestones and inlaid into the sidewalks in front of the last known residences of the victims of the Nazi regime in order to preserve the memory of the people who were murdered or persecuted by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.  

It was noted that Stolperstein literally means "stumbling block". Katja Demnig, Gunter's wife and close collaborator, was reported as explaining the origin of the name to Romano voďi magazine:  "Gunter is frequently asked that question. He no longer exactly recalls how it occurred to him. He sincerely believed he was giving a name to a one-off artistic happening, nobody anticipated what a voluminous art project this would grow into. He liked the ambiguity of the name, he wanted to get people to stop in their tracks, to interrupt the flow of their everyday thinking."  


Czech MP loses re-election and immunity, police reopen case of his calling Lety a "non-existent, pseudo-concentration camp" for Roma

On 14th October announced that the Czech criminal justice authorities would revisit the remarks made by now former MP Miloslav Rozner about the WWII-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku. It was noted trhat several criminal reports had been filed against him in response to his criticism of the decision by the administration of ANO, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) to buy out the industrial pig farm that once covered part of the former concentration camp site, using the phrase "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp" to refer to the Lety facility.  

It was noted that officers had sought to prosecute Rozner on suspicion of the crime of denying, doubting, approving of or justifying genocide in 2019, but the lower house ahd declined to strip him of his immunity. "With regard to the fact that the person you have named was not re-elected and the matter concerning him was suspended temporarily, in accordance with the Criminal Code, exactly for the reason of a lack of agreement to his criminal prosecution, the criminal justice authorities will now continue the matter," Aleš Cimbala, press spokesperson for the Prague Municipal State Prosecutor's office was reported to have said when asked by news server about the reviving of Rozner's prosecution.  



Czech MP Okamura (SPD) to lose lower house vice-chair post because of his hatemongering, according to Civic Democratic Party member


On 14th October reported that the Czech MP Tomio Okamura would apparently no longer be a vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, according to a source who had spoken with the Hospodářské noviny (HN) newspaper and is familiar with the negotiations as to who will occupy which posts in the leadership of the newly-elected lower house, and extremists were also not wanted in the leadership of the lower house by the chair of the TOP 09 party, Markéta Pekarová Adamová, which is part of the Spolu coalition that won the Czech elections last weekend. It was noted that in 2018, the members of parties that were currently forming a governing coalition - Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), some members of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Mayors and Independents (STAN), the Pirates and TOP 09 - attempted to remove Okamura as a vice-chair of the lower house because of the remarks he had made about the concentration camp at Lety u Písku, which imprisoned Romani people before sending them to Auschwitz. 

"We aren't counting on including extremists, so that's easy," a member of STAN was reported as saying about Okamura's vice-chair post in the newly-elected lower house, according to HN. Another source claiming to be familiar with negotiations as to who will lead the lower house was reported to have told the newspaper that "It decidedly will not be Okamura or anybody else from the SPD." 


Czech Police prosecuting one of the men who assaulted Romani people in Sokolov this summer, Internal Affairs says officers' procedure was correct

On 14th October, reported that the Czech Police had launched the criminal prosecution of one of the assailants who attacked Romani people in Sokolov earlier this year. It was also reported that on the other hand, the behaviour of several persons who had insulted the intervening police officers in a vulgar fashion had been reported to the relevant local administrative body as misdemeanors against civil coexistence.

It was also noted that the behavior of the officers who had intervened at the scene of the clash had also been investigated by the Department of Internal Affairs and none of the officers had been found to have committed any wrongdoing. ROMEA TV reported the news yesterday.
It was said that the incident transpired on 23 July at the Sokolov train station. After disembarking from a train, a group of aggressive young men had first assaulted young Romani children who were playing there.

It was reported that the men later also attacked adults and that several Romani people had suffered minor injuries and one woman's arm had been broken by the aggressors.


Czech Supreme Court upholds sentence for hate posted about non-white first-graders: Not a joke, but the promotion of Nazism


It was noted on 15th October that the comment posted online beneath a photograph of first-graders in a primary school in Teplice, Czech Republic had been hate speech and could not be considered "black humor" or protected by freedom of speech, according to the Czech Supreme Court, which had rejected the appeal of Vítězslav Kroupa, who had been sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for three years, for the post. It wa sreported that the court's decision had been handed down this summer without being publicized and its full justification had now been made available. 

It was noted that the first-grade class at the Plynárenská Street Primary School was predominantly attended by Arab and Romani children. "They're from the Plynárenská ["Gasworks"] Primary School. The solution is obvious," Kroupa was reported to have commented beneath a photograph of the class on Facebook. 


Czech anti-totalitarianism festival Mene Tekel features exhibit about the architecture competition for the Lety Memorial to the Holocaust


On 17th October, reported that "The Right to the Law" was the theme of this year's anti-totalitarian festival, Mene Tekel, in Prague. The event, by then in its final days, had offered a concert, a conference, exhibitions and film screenings.  

Religious worship was also said to be part of the festival and it was noted that this was the fifteenth time it had been held.

It was reported that the programme had begun the previous Monday afternoon with exhibition openings. It was reported that at the New Town Hall (Novoměstská radnice) people could view an exhibit about the landscape-architecture competition for the design of the new Lety u Písku Memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in Bohemia, as well as an exhibition about the days in 1989 when thousands of East Germans fled to West Germany by entering Czechoslovakia and coming to the West German Embassy in Prague. 

It was noted that an exhibition about the subject of statehood for Ukraine was outdoors on Karlovo náměstí and that the Church of Saint Ignatius was showing an exhibit about the fates of the priests Jan Bula and Václav Drbola, who had been murdered by the Czechoslovak communist regime.

It was noted that the grand opening of the festival had featured a screening of the docudrama "The ATA" at the MAT cinema. The film was said to tell the story of the show trial of Stříteský et al, the aim of which was to tarnish the reputation of the church and the Scouts.


Czech court to hear appeal in case of brutal assault by non-Romani adults on Romani children in Lipník nad Bečvou

On 18th October, reported that this week the Olomouc Regional Court would hear the appeal in the case of the assault on a group of Romani children in the chateau park in Lipník nad Bečvou, Přerov district. It was further reported that the first-instance court in Přerov handed down suspended sentences against a married couple, Petra Pumprlová and Stanislav Pumprla, for the crimes of defamation of an ethnic, national, racial or other group, rioting, and battery in the much-followed scandal of 2019.

It was noted that the couple, according to the indictment, had physically and verbally attacked seven children, several of whom had to subsequently receive medical treatment at a hospital. It was said that the couple had appealed that verdict and deny their guilt.


Czech court hands down seven suspended sentences against members of neo-Nazi group after trial that lasted 11 years

On 19th October it was reported in that in the protracted case of the promotion of neo-Nazism invoving the National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) group, the District Court for Prague had imposed suspended sentences of between nine and 18 months in prison on the seven defendants. It was also reported that the court said that defendant Patrik Vondrák's case must be handled in a separate proceeding.

It was noted that when asked by the Czech News Agency, court spokesperson Pavla Hájková provided the information on 12 October. It was said that the defendants had always maintained their innocence.

It was reported that the court had initially stopped their prosecution due to its length, and that decision had been subsequently upheld by the Regional Court in Prague but, both lower-instance resolutions were annulled by the Czech Supreme Court in March 2020.

It was also noted that the courts had been hearing the case since 2010 and that the strictest sentence of one and a half years in prison, conditionally suspended, had been imposed on Michaela Dupová.

It wa salso reported that defendant Richard Lang had been sentenced to one year in prison, conditionally suspended, while the court had sentenced the remaining defendants - Milan Hroch, Martin Václavek, Daniel Zavadil, Petr Fryč and Filip Vávra - to nine months in prison with a one-year suspension. 

Romani actors featured on Czech "StarDance" television show

On 21st October, reported that on Saturday, 16 October, the 11th year of Czech Television's popular dance show "StarDance" had resumed its regular broadcasts of the season, and that the opening lineup had included Romani celebrities Jan Cina and Zdeněk Godla. Cina's dancing partner will be Adriana Mašková



Median polling agency says Czechs consider coexistence with Roma problematic, but younger people's attitudes toward the minority are improving


On 23rd reported that the findings of a Median agency poll about attitudes toward minorities had been presented on 18 October 2021 in Prague.

It was said that the attitude of Czechs in the younger generation toward the Romani minority is improving compared to recent years and that the Median agency's new poll has demonstrated this.

It was noted that the findings had been presented in Prague on 18 October at a press conference by representatives of the Agency for Social Inclusion and the HateFree Culture project. It was said that the poll had been conducted among roughly 2 000 people between the ages of 15 and 30, and its results had been compared with a poll conducted in 2014.

It was reported that according to this year's poll, Czech youth do not believe in minority stereotypes as much as they once did and they are also less amused by humor that is racist. "The younger a person is, the greater the chance that the person will have an attitude of tolerance and respect for human rights," Martina Veverková of the Median agency was reported as  saying.


Czech capital sees gathering of Romani students awarded scholarships by the ROMEA organization

On 24th October, reported that on Friday, 22 October 2021 the ceremonial gathering  of scholarship recipients supported through the ROMEA organization's Romani Scholarship Program for Romani students of high schools, higher vocational schools and universities had been held.

It was noted that it had taken place in the Czech capital. Donors, organizers and students had gathered in the Brožík Salon at the Old Town Hall.   

It was noted that more than 70 students had been awarded scholarships this year. Moderator Jarmila Balážová was the master of ceremonies and ROMEA TV broadcast the gathering live online.

It was reported that this year 70+ Romani college students had applied to ROMEA's scholarship program, more than 20 more college students than last year. Along with the high school and higher vocational school students who applied, the total number of scholarship applications exceeded 180. 


Czech nonprofit Romodrom celebrates its 20th anniversary


On 25th October, noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Romodrom organization in the Czech Republic. It was said that during its years of social service provision the organization has aided many families and individuals with solving their difficult living situations.

In addition to social counseling, support with finding housing and jobs, addressing personal debt, and running programs in the field, Romodrom also focuses on children's education. The organization was born in Prague but today has branches in all regions of the Czech Republic. 

It was said that the beginning of the organization had been the unwavering effort of its founder and director for many years, Romani community member Marie Gailová, to aid those in need. "I began working as a field social worker in Prague 22, where I first advocated for the closure of a ghetto. Back then I said to myself that far more needs to be done," she was said to have recalled in an interview for ROMEA TV about what led her to establish her own organization.   


Czech town demolishes yet another building on housing estate with mostly Romani tenants

On 26rh October, reported thatn ext year the Czech town of Most will demolish yet another of the prefabricated apartment buildings at the Chanov housing estate, predominantly inhabited by Romani tenants. It was said that five of the units in the building are occupied and the town will look for substitute housing for the tenants.

It was noted that the town hall is not counting on installing so-called "container housing" there given how expensive construction work has become, according to Deputy Mayor Marek Hrvola (ProMOST - "For Most"). The local budget for 2022 includes CZK 6 million [EUR 233 000] for demolition.

It was also noted that the town had previously applied for state subsidies for this work and has been rejected more than once and that the most recent building to be demolished at Chanov had been Block 3, and the town hall had covered the cost of that from its own resources.


Czech Police: Autopsy clears us in death of Stanislav Tomáš, attorney for his family doubts its findings, ERRC says they will continue to pursue justice despite police rhetoric

On 26th October, Romea.cvz/en reported that the Czech Police were reporting today that there was "no connection" between the intervention by officers against Stanislav Tomáš in Teplice on 19 June 2021 and his death shortly thereafter. It was said that they were referencing the final autopsy report in the case, also termed an expert assessment, from the Forensic Medicine Department of Masaryk Hospital in Ústí nad Labem. 

Police spokesperson Šárka Poláčková wass aid to have informed the public of the news through the police website. The lawyer for the family of Mr Tomáš is said to have cast doubt on the findings of that expert assessment, and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) was said to have responded by saying such rhetoric from police is nothing unusual and that they will continue to pursue justice in this case.

"The Ústecký Regional Police Directorate has received the final autopsy report (expert assessment) from the Forensic Medicine Department of Masaryk Hospital in Ústí nad Labem in the case of the man who died shortly after being arrested by police in Teplice on 19 June 2021. The expert assessment states there is no association between the intervention by the police officers and the death of the man," the police statement was reported as saying.

"The direct cause of death was intoxication by methamphetamine," the police conclude. Maroš Matiaško, the attorney representing the bereaved family of Mr Tomáš, was said to have told news server that "We are reviewing the content of the expert assessment and its conclusions."

"It must be pointed out that an expert assessment is just one piece of evidence and that the conclusions drawn by experts should not be received uncritically. From the beginning we have objected to the fact that an assessment produced by experts from Ústí nad Labem raises doubts as to their independence, given the natural ties such professionals have with each other in the region," Matiaško was reported as  saying.

The attorney was reported as saying, "our request that both the autopsy and the assessment be performed by persons who are demonstrably independent and who have no such ties was rejected by the police. For that reason, it is appropriate to approach the expert assessment and the conclusions drawn by these experts critically and with caution". 

Jonathan Lee of the ERRC was reported as responding to the news as follows: "Time and time again we hear the same thing from police forces across Europe: that 'there is no connection between the police's intervention and the death of a Romani person.' In all the cases where we have litigated police violence we have repeatedly heard how there has been no wrongdoing on the part of the offending officers."

lee was reported as saying, "this is an unfortunate part of the process and it is part of the reason why it takes years to bring cases of police brutality to justice. The European Roma Rights Centre remains committed to exploring every legal option available".

It was noted that on 19 June 2021, police officers in Teplice had used force to arrest and handcuff Mr Tomáš, who died thereafter; bystander video footage of the arrest was uploaded to social media and then republished by news server, where it was broadly criticized by both Czech and international activists and organizations, sparking protests all over Europe. It was said that the footage showed an officer kneeling on the arrested man's neck area in a way reminiscent of the intervention during which the African-American man George Floyd was murdered in May 2020 in the USA.


Czech Foreign Minister: Whatever is a crime offline in terms of hate speech must be considered a crime online as well

On 27th October, reported that on Wednesday, 13 October, a one-day International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism had been held in Malmö, Sweden, and its main subject, according to the Associated Press, was the question of how social media are contributing to the rise of antisemitism globally. It was said that Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jakub Kulhánek had been one of the speakers, and according to the ministry he spoke in favour of ensuring accountability and safety in the online environment and presented the Czech Government's commitments for improving the situation.


Greek Police shoot 20-year-old Romani man dead, unrest breaks out in Athens, officers involved have been arrested

On 28th October, reported that the Greek Reporter news server had reported that in the early morning hours of Saturday, 23 October, the Greek Police had shot dead a 20-year-old Romani man in the Perama suburbs west of Athens as the officers, who were on motorcycles, pursued a vehicle they believed had been stolen. Police shot the driver dead and also injured a 15-year-old passenger, while another teenager in the vehicle fled the scene. 

It was said that Romani people had then taken to the streets to protest and that seven police officers associated with the death of the Romani man have been arrested. 

It was noted that all of the arrested officers had been allegedly involved in pursuing the vehicle and had also been injured during the subsequent shootout, but the Greek Police have yet to publicize information about the seriousness of their injuries. It was said that the chase had begun after the officers tried to get the driver to stop the vehicle on the side of the road, and police subsequently confirmed that it had been stolen. 


"How I Became a Partisan": Vera Lacková's documentary about Romani partisans screened at Czech film festival

On 28th October, reported that the previous day a new documentary film by Vera Lacková, "How I Became a Partisan" (Jak jsem se stala partyzánkou), had been scheduled to be screened at the Jihlava International Festival of Documentary Film (IFDF Ji.hlava), which was also streaming online. Many stories from the time of the Second World War are still untold, and some of them apparently will remain secrets forever.

It was said that one such story from the mosaic of such memories was that of the Romani partisans in the former Czechoslovakia and the director of this film is the granddaughter of one such forgotten partisan.

It was noted that Lacková had learned about her grandfather's deeds when she was a child and her grandmother told her the stories of his adventures. The film was said to be scheduled for general release on 11 November.

It was reported that in the documentary, Lacková reveals, against the background of her own family history, the troubled destinies of four Romani partisans. Investigating them led her to discover facts that have never before been publicized and that tell the stories of people who, despite being of a different ethnic origin, managed to join the fight against evil.


Czech activists plant memorial lindens and oaks at places of importance in the life of Romani partisan Josef Serinek

On 30th Ocdtober, reported that the Vysočina Region of the Czech Republic has an important partisan tradition. It was noted that during the Second World War, thanks to the generosity of locals who had been willing to risk their own lives and those of their families for others, many fugitives and persons in illegal situations had been saved in the Czech-Moravian highlands.

It was said that these people had gradually formed partisan divisions that intervened in the events of the war toward its end. It was also noted that one such fugitive who had made a significant contribution to the resistance had been the "Black Partisan" Josef Serinek - a Romani man who had fled the concentration camp at Lety u Písku and, after an adventure-filled, exhausting journey, had found refuge in the environs of Nové Město na Moravě.


Collated by Peter Sagar, A Living Tradition CIC October 2021



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