In the end of July 2013, 60 young Roma and non-Roma from Albania, Germany, Macedonia and Poland came together in Zywiec, Poland, to learn more about the Roma Genocide during World War II and to fight antigypsism and racism in the present. The group was divided into four working groups: theater, comic/graffiti, installation and music. In only one week we created a 30 minute-long theater play, sprayed a graffiti on a public wall in Zywiec, drew “Birds of freedom” and practiced several songs dealing with the topic of Roma Genocide and exclusion.
Still in Zywiec, we organised a public event with the mayor of the town and a local TV station to present our graffiti to a broader audience. We were especially happy that the mayor of Zywiec told us he was proud to have dedicated people like us in his town and offered us support for further projects in the future.After the week in Zywiec we joined the conference “Dik i na bistar”, a big conference on Roma Genocide remembrance with all in all 450 participants. One of the highlights of the conference was the performance of our theater play in front of all participants. We brought the story of Else Baker on stage, a Roma girl who was deported to Auschwitz, but survived. The vehemence of the play caused both, goose flesh and at the same time confidence in a better future. Our group also participated in a commemoration of the Roma Genocide on August, 2nd, in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. We contributed with two emotional songs and a poem in the ruins of the so-called “Gypsy camp”. With this commemoration we confirmed our demand to acknowledge the 2nd of August as official day for the commemoration of the Roma Genocide in World War II.
All in all, our project was a big success. We could learn and at the same time directly express our feelings and emotions through the artistic methods. Although the topic was hard, we could nevertheless also have fun and create a feeling of belonging together as a group. We could experience the power of working together against racism and antigypsism. So, we will come back and we will continue our work. And this is our message: Go through the world “with open eyes” – „Pravde Jakhenca”!