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December 15, 2018
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Renata Berkyová


Author's articles

Stills from a short Czechoslovak film from 1960 about  the fate of the Romani children who were imprisoned in the concentration camp at Lety.
Stills from a short Czechoslovak film from 1960 about the fate of the Romani children who were imprisoned in the concentration camp at Lety.

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Renata Berkyová: Concept of the Porajmos as a reflection of the marginalization of Roma in historiography

6.6.2018 13:25 In recent years, in connection with commemorations of the tragic fate of Romani people during the Second World War and the expansion of our awareness of the Holocaust and its Romani victims, a breakthrough event has been in the making. Apparently the most recent example of this in the Czech Republic is the state buyout of the pig farm located on the site of former so-called "Gypsy Camp" at Lety u Písku, which was preceded by years of relentless pressure on the highest state representatives by the relatives of the victims, activists, and experts.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: How a Czech gadjo from Reflex magazine couldn't help showing his racism

30.5.2018 12:40 The discussion of what words we are supposed to use to refer to people who are not Romani has apparently been underway since the term "Rom" became domesticated as part of Czech journalistic discourse. The Editor-in-Chief of Reflex magazine, Marek Stoniš, published a commentary on 24 May in which he objects to the term "non-Rom", specifically, the term "non-Romani children".  full story

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Novel about the Holocaust and its Romani victims, "Jacob's Colours", now in Czech translation

30.4.2018 10:09 Te den, cha, te maren, denaš. "If they give you food, accept it, if they beat you, get out of there."  full story

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Jana Horváthová: Today Czech society perceives removing the pig farm from the Roma genocide site as necessary

19.12.2017 6:01 On Thursday, 23 November a breakthrough moment happened with the signing of the contract to buy out the pig farm in Lety u Písku. The farm has been standing since the 1970s on the place where, during the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, a so-called "Gypsy camp" used to be, a place where Czech Roma and Sinti were forcibly interned in order to then be transported to Auschwitz.  full story

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Renata Berkyová for DVTV: Even the Czech President doesn't know how to honor the memory of Lety, the pig farm remains

30.7.2017 7:57 A recent edition of the Apel ("Appeal") program broadcast by the Czech Internet television station DVTV has been dedicated to the existence of the pig farm at Lety u Písku that stands at the location of a former concentration camp for Romani people. Renata Berkyová was featured and news server Romea.cz publishes her words in full translation here.  full story

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Romani fashion designer wins one million Czech crowns, will launch brand

3.7.2017 7:39 Romani fashion designer Pavel Berky has won the competition on the Czech designer reality show "The Way". The main prize of the contest, which ran over the course of the last few months each Saturday on the cable television channel TV Óčko, is one million crowns [EUR 38 000] and the opportunity to develop a fashion brand.

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Testimonies of survivors of the Nazi-era concentration camp for Roma at Lety in Czech Republic still not discussed

27.3.2017 7:53 On 15 March 1939, Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler proclaimed the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in those regions of occupied Czechoslovakia. His representatives
proceeded to violate the provisions of the Czechoslovak Constitution concerning human rights for the duration of the Protectorate and, in addition to imposing binding,
discriminatory regulations targeting Jews, the Protectorate Government, led by Rudolf Beran under the direction of Nazi Germany, also targeted persons living on the fringes of society.  full story

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"Baruvas" Romani student meeting in Brno, Czech Republic confirms that education makes sense

14.3.2017 7:11 "It was a brilliant feeling to see Romani people around me who are interested in education, who are motivated, who have dreams and vision. I am glad that none of us are alone in this now. Personally, it gave me a lot of new energy and appetite to work on myself even more, because I have the hope that it makes sense to do so," says Martin Dudi, a student of Philosophy and Religion at the South Bohemian University who attended a meeting of Romani college and high school students, "Baruvas", that took place in Brno during the first weekend in March.  full story

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Romani fashion designer wins international competition in the USA

20.11.2016 11:09 Pavel Berky, a fashion designer from Slovakia of Romani origin who lives and works in London, England, was one of four finalists in the international fashion competition Exalt Fashion Show. On Saturday, 19 November, he showed his collection in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA at the final evening of the contest, which he won.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: Who were the guards at Lety by Písek?

7.11.2016 8:58 Even though more than half a century has passed since the camp at Lety by Písek came into existence, to this day that place and especially its story continues to spark tempestuous emotions. For some, the Romani Holocaust is one of the most tragic episodes in the life of the Czech Roma, while for others this controversial topic seems, at a minimum, one that it is appropriate to cast doubt on or to exploit as a way to score votes  full story

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Czech Vice PM calls Roma "parasites" during his visit to Roma Holocaust site

8.9.2016 7:45 During the past few days we have witnessed an absolute masterwork of manipulation and the populist abuse of power in the Czech Republic. Czech Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš is a political phenomenon who apparently still has a lot to say to the country.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: Gays, hands off the Romani flag!

19.8.2016 17:09 What some Romani people are posting on social networks these days about the topic of sexual orientation has prompted me to respond. The springboard for these heated
debates is the fact that Prague Pride, the parade celebrating people of various sexual orientations, included Romani people this year who proudly raised the Roma flag.  full story

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videoCzech Republic: Documentary "Shadows of the Romani Holocaust" marks a sad anniversary

23.7.2016 12:37 On 10 July 1942 the commander of the plainclothes police of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia issued the so-called "Decree on Suppressing the Gypsy Nuisance". On that basis, following the model of the leader of the SS for the Nazi German Reich, the Czech authorities compiled a list of "Gypsies, Gypsy Half-Breeds and persons living in the Gypsy way" which radically changed the lives of the Romani people then living in the Czech lands.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: Slovak party wants to take Romani children from their families to counter public fears

16.9.2015 22:50 One might think that the state removing children from the care of their own parents in order to re-educate them is an historical phenomenon only. In Slovakia, though, Ms Nicholsonová of the "Freedom and Solidarity" Party has said she believes such a concept could spare Romani children from "inhuman treatment" in the settlements.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: Should the Czech Gov't Agency for Social Inclusion have been more "Romani"?

24.4.2015 21:33 Over the last few days, Martin Šimáček has become a popular face in the media in connection with his dismissal from the post of director of the Agency for Social Inclusion. The entire Agency staff and a noticeable portion of the public have protested the decision of Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier to remove him.  full story

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Czech Republic: Nonprofits help unemployed Roma, save the state millions

Prague, 27.3.2015 23:51, (ROMEA) Last year, within the framework of a project run by the ROMEA nonprofit (the publisher of news server Romea.cz) and the Slovo 21 NGO, 59 Romani clients in Prague succeeded in finding jobs, saving the state budget more than CZK 6 million (EUR 218 000). "We are glad that last year we succeeded in helping almost 60 Romani residents of Prague find work, and we managed to change their life situations. That is no easy task and I consider it a big success," said Jelena Silajdžić, director of Slovo 21.  full story

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Renata Berkyová: Slovak reporting on same-sex adoption and marriage casts aspersions on Roma

Prague, 12.2.2015 0:26, (ROMEA) Last Saturday an eighth referendum was held in Slovakia, a referendum "for the family" which has sparked a rather large fuss. The "Alliance for the Family" group, as the initiator of the referendum, has been haunting the public with the idea that the Slovak family is at risk, talking about freedom of speech and of the press, human rights violations, and forced, ideologically-driven sex education.  full story

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Czech Republic: ROMEA meets with Romani job-seekers, debt collection and discrimination main concerns

Prague, 12.12.2014 22:06, (ROMEA) Almost 30 people gathered last week in the House of National Minorities in Prague to get more information about the processes of debt collection, job seeking and the welfare system as well as how to address discrimination in education and employment. Almost all of them had been involved during the past year with the ROMEA organization's "Support for Romani Employment in Prague (2013-2014)" project and have been doing their best to find work.  full story

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Renata Berkyová on wall demolition in Slovakia: What principles do we honor?

Prague, 18.9.2014 17:54, (ROMEA) Several days ago a report came out about the demolition of a wall at the Luník VIII housing estate in Košice, Slovakia and a visit paid by activists to the residents of Ostrovany there. The media reports that this was the work of activists from abroad, including the Czech Republic.  full story

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