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November 29, 2021



Czech performance of "Gypsy Boxer" in Brno postponed due to illness

30.1.2017 7:03
Johann Trollmann, 27.12.1907 - 9.2.1943, the Romani boxer who was murdered by the Nazis. (PHOTO:
Johann Trollmann, 27.12.1907 - 9.2.1943, the Romani boxer who was murdered by the Nazis. (PHOTO:

Brno's Buranteatr was scheduled to give a repeat performance of the play "Gypsy Boxer" (Cikánský boxer) by the German playwright Rike Reiniger, directed by Gabriela Krečmerová, today, but has canceled because of illness and will announce a new date for the performance soon. The commemorative one-man show recalls the fate of the Romani (Sinto) boxer Johann Trollman, who became the boxing champion of Germany in 1933.

The Nazis stripped Trollman of his title because of his ethnicity. He was ultimately sent to a concentration camp, where he was imprisoned and then murdered.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated 72 years ago on 27 January 1945. In the year 2005, 27 January was declared by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and it is to honor them that this performance will be reprised in Brno and augmented by a discussion with Dušan Slačka, an historian working at the Museum of Romani Culture, and the creators of this show, director Gabriela Ženatá and the actor Filip Teller.

Johann Trollmann, aka "Rukeli" became the middleweight boxing champion of Germany in 1933. He was later stripped of his title because of his Romani origin.

Trollman performed his last boxing match as a caricature of an "Aryan" boxer, dying his hair blond and powdering his face. In 1943 he was murdered in Wittenberge, and extension camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

The story is told in Reinieger's play by a fictional character who is Trollman's sparring partner, friend and admirer. The author has inserted the fictional characer of a young German, Hans, into the play, which keeps the narrative from sliding into pathos and opens up questions of betrayal and guilt.

The performance has been financially supported by the Museum of Romani Culture, the Foundation for Holocaust Victims, and the City of Brno. The translation of the play from German into Czech was funded by the Goethe-Institut.

brf, Buranteatr, Museum of Romani Culture, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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