Raising awareness about the Roma genocide in Croatia

Local commemoration

Small Commemoration – visiting Roma Commentary Ustica and Roma Memorial Center in Ustica.

Roma Youth Organisation, the Croatian partner of the Dikh He Na Bister Initiave organized on December 15th 2021 a visit of the Roma Memorial Centar in Ustice as well as the visit of the Roma Umbrella Association Kali Sara. Considering the fact that this visit was taking place in December 2021, participation of the general public was restricted. Limited number of participants were from the Roma Resurce Center, Roma Youth Organization. The visit was held by the custods of memorial center while the open speech was held by the President of Kali Sara. After visiting memorial center the small commemoration was held in front the plate in Roma Cemetery.

Later, on December 15th and 16th Dr. Danijel Vojak from the Institute Ivo Pilar delivered a lecture in House of Human Rights in Zagreb. The captivating lecture was followed discussion which brought more understanding of the complex situation at that time. It is always very interesting to learn how many people were part of Nazi Croatian politicians were acting against their believe, as for exampleone of the Croatian Nazis protected a Roma group during the war. The whole lecture was not only focus on commemoration but also on rising awareness of Roma youngster about the time the actions taking place before and after the genocide. Consequently, the ROM HR and RRC agreed to mutually organize the Roma youth and assist them in more active participation in the context of Croatia and Europe.

Forum Theater and Testimony of Mr. Zijo Ribić

Apart from academic segment of the commemoration activity, Roma Youth Organisation also prepared in cooperation with the Forum Teatar a workshop and performance which via different scenes expressed their experiences where and how they experienced different forms of discrimination. The performance opened space for further discussions and activities for Roma and non-Roma participants.

Participants were also joined by Zijo Ribić, a peace activist and reconciliation advocate. At the very beginning of the war in Yugoslavia, Zijo Ribić’s entire family was murdered. Although he himself was shot in the massacre, he miraculously survived, spending the rest of his childhood in foster homes. In 2001, Zijo returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Tuzla. He shares his story in public schools and forums around the region and Europe, for which he has received a special peace prize in Trieste.

The project is funded by the EVZ Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office as part of the program YOUNG PEOPLE remember.