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Karel Holomek was born in 1937 in Brno, Czech Republic to a family of original Moravian Roma, who settled in Moravia at the end of the 17th century. His father, Tomas Holomek, was the first university-educated Rom in the former Czechoslovakia.
Karel Holomek studied mechanical engineering at the Military Academy in Brno. He later worked on the faculty as an assistent specialist. For his statements opposing the Sviet-led occupation in 1968, he lost his place in the faculty. Until 1990 he worked a number of industrial trades: truck driver, demolition forman, etc. At the end of this period, he had his own ‘samizdat’ underground publishing house. After 1990, he was a deputy for the Civic Forum on the Czech National Council for two years.
Currently, he is the chairman of the Society of Roma in Moravia (polečenství Romů na Moravě), the honorary chairman of the Society of Professionals and Friends of the Museum of Romani Culture, the director of the International Roma Center attached to the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly, a member of the government’s Commission for Human Rights, and the editor-in-chief of the Romani magazine Romano hangos.
Ilona Lacková (1921 – 2003)
Elena (Ilona) Lacková, was born March 22rd 1921 in a Romani settlement in Veliki Šašir, Slovakia. One of nine children, she was the only girl to finish primary school in the settlement. She was a Slovakian writer and dramatist, author of childrens and youth literature. She is both famous as one of the most outstanding Romani authors and the first Romani woman in Slovakia to achieve a college degree. From 1963-1969 she attended and successfully graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague.
During 1949-1951 she was involved in the education of Roma in Prešovo, Slovakia. From 1961 onwards she worked in the Cultural Center in Ústí nad Labem in the then Czechoslovakian Republic. 1976-1980 she worked in the Union of Romani in Prague and in the same period she covered the Cultural Center in Lemeši.
She wrote verse, stories and theatre pieces in Romanes, all of which made her famous as the first Romani writer in Slovakia and in 1989 she founded the Romani newspaper “Romano Lil”. In 2000 she received the state Order of Ljudevit Štura from President Rudolf Šuster.
She was a very active writer and published in multiple genres including theater, radio, prose, and poetry. Some of these include:
Theater: 1946 – Horiaci cigánsky tábor – The Gypsy Camp is Burning; 1952 – Nový život – New Life; 1955 – Rómske srdce – Romani Heart; 1991 – Veľký primáš Baro – Dramatization of Fairytales.
Radio: 1989 -Žužika; 1992 – Iskry a popol rómskej lásky – Sparks and Ash – Romani Love; 1998 – usle s tromi srdcami – Violin with Three Hearts: original fairytale manuscript (1995), premier in Romani language.
- Cigánsky tábor – Gypsy Camp, Bratislava 1956.
- Mŕtvi sa nevracajú /o mule na aven pale – The Dead do not Return
In: Romano nevo ľil, Prešov 1994, č. 134-135.
In: Holokaust Romů v povídkách Eleny Lackové. Nakladatelství Fortuna, Praha 2011, s.126.
Združenie JEKHETANE – SPOLU, Prešov 2005
- Bieli krkavci / Parne garuda (Poviedka) – White Ravens [secrets] (short story)
In: Romano nevo ľil, Prešov 1996, č. 213-318
In: Holokaust Romů v povídkách Eleny Lackové. Nakladatelství Fortuna, Praha 2011
- Život vo vetre (poviedka) – Life in the Wind (short story)
In: Holokaust Romů v povídkách Eleny Lackové. Nakladatelství Fortuna, Praha 2011
In: Mŕtvi sa nevracajú /o mule na aven pale. Združenie JEKHETANE – SPOLU, Prešov 2005.
- Narodila jsem se pod šťastnou hvězdou /Uľiľom tel e bachtaľi čercheň – I was born under a Lucky Star. Autobiografia. podľa rozprávania autorky spracovala Dr. Milena Hübschmannová. Vydavateľstvo triáda, Praha 1997, s. 282.
Published in English as “A False Dawn: Volume 16: My Life as a Gypsy Woman in Slovakia (Interface Collection)” [Available to buy in English at Amazon]
- Rómske rozprávky / Romane paramisa – Romani Fairytales.
Východoslovenské vydavateľstvo pre Kultúrny zväz občanov rómskej národnosti, Košice 1992, s.95.
Vydavateľstvo Radix, Praha 1999, s.134.
- Husle s tromi srdcami – Violin with Three Hearts. Rukopis – Združenie JEKHETANE – SPOLU, nepublikované
- Ago, Ago, Ago, Tre Kale Jakha – Ago, Ago, Ago, Your Black Eyes [Available to read in Romanes here]
Tera Fabianova was born in 1930 and grew up in a Romani village in Southern Slovakia, one of ten brothers and sisters, in a house made of unbaked bricks that their father had built with his own hands. She went to school for just three years.
“No-one in my family could read and write. I would go and work as a little girl for the Gadjo for a piece of bread and lard. One day they came to tell us to go to school. ‘One from each family must go to school or you’ll be locked up.’ My mother said, ‘You’ll go ‘cos you’re naughty.’ I climbed trees and was a real tomboy. My mum washed my head and feet and I went off to school.
“I sat in the first row, because I wanted to be clever, and near the teacher. I didn’t have a pencil or paper or anything. I sat and waited for the teacher. She came and said, ‘Hey, you, Gypsy kid. Your place is at the back.’ There were three benches where the Romani and poorest children sat. I wasn’t allowed to sit at the front. But I wanted to be clever, wanted to learn.”
Tera later immortalized her memories from school in her autobiographical story “Sar me phiravas andre škola – How I Went to School”.
“The teacher made me suffer. When my little sister Helena was born I was at the birth. I saw the miracle of someone being brought into the world. The midwife told me to bring water and cloths. It was cold and I helped to bring Helena into the world. We didn’t have running water, I had to go to the well, I had to cut wood for the midwife.
The next day I went to school. We had Catechism – I sat down. Because I hadn’t slept all night, I fell asleep. The priest said – hey, you bighead – because I had lots of hair – tell me how Jesus was born. And I said – Father, you’ve never seen it, but I was there when our Helenka was born. He gave me ten slaps with the cane on my bottom and on my hand. And he sent me off to the church to pray”
After the Second World War, which had brought immense hardship to Slovak Roma, the family went to work in what is now the Czech Republic, and Tera met and married her husband Vojta. They were to have four children. Their eldest son, also Vojta, has inherited his mother’s musical talent and is a well-known musician singing both in Czech and Romanes. The family never had it easy. Tera worked with her hands all her life, starting from the age of five, when she would chase crows from the fields. Although she won numerous literary awards, she would laugh when someone described her as a writer.
She published many poems and anthologies and before her death won the distinguished European Roma Literary Award.
- Čavargoš: [romaňi paramisi] – Tulák/Tramp: [Romany fairy tale] – 1991
- Sar me phiravas andre škola – As I went to school – 1992 [download Rromanes PDF here]
- E Baxt ke amende avel – Happiness comes to me
- Miro Dživipen – My Life
- So džalas o Miškos sune – Co se Miškovi zdálo (Miško’s dream) [available to read in Rromanes here]
- Poem – Phosadji Luludji (Thistle Flower) [available to read in Rromanes and English here]
- Poem – Ratjate Avljom (I came at night) [available to read in Rromanes and Slovak here]
“It is no exaggeration to say that without Andrej Giňa there would be no Romani literature. At the very least it would be deprived not only of a number of excellent texts that can absolutely be compared to the better works of Czech literature, but also of a distinctive author who has brought to Romani writing an irreplaceable variety of styles, themes and topics.” (Romea.cz, 2014)
Born in a Roma settlement in Eastern Slovakia, Giňa spent the first part of his life surrounded by traditional village life. At age 10, his parents moved to the Czech Republic and became some of the first Romani settlers in the industrial areas of Bohemia – specifically, in Rokycany. He was the only Romani boy from his settlement to attend school, despite having no proper clothes or shoes for the winter. At the time, Roma were regularly harassed by the Fascist Hlinka Guard (Hlinkova garda), who only let them trade during certain hours. They would beat anyone suspected of violating their orders or who was found in certain areas. They often shaved girls heads – either completely bald or partially in the design of a cross, and in larger cities such as Prešov, they regularly sent Roma to labour camps. After school, Giňa served his apprenticeship as a furnace-man and then studied evenings at teacher training college for two years before joining the army. As a professional soldier he subsequently studied at medical college in Hradec Králové and worked as a regimental medic. After marriage, he returned to Rokycan, where he worked in a foundry called Žampírka, first cleaning castings and later as a driver. Today, he is still an active businessman, distributing raw materials for the traditional Roma delicacy Goja.
He was one of the leading figures active at the end of the 1960s in the Union of Gypsies-Roma (Svaz Cikánů-Romů – SCR) and made his debut on the pages of its bulletin, Romano ľil, with his transcription of a traditional fairytale “About the Roma and the Black Lady” (O Romovi a černé paní).
Giňa remained active in the Romani movement even after the SCR was banned, and during the 1980s his home was one of the central places where the Romani intelligentsia gathered, some of whose meetings were even reported on in the mainstream press. After the Velvet Revolution, Giňa was an active member of the Roma Civic Initiative (Romská občanská iniciativa – ROI) and also published a great deal in the emerging Romani press while dedicating himself to music at the same time.
- Paťiv. Ještě víme, co je úcta. Vyprávění, úvahy, pohádky, [Paťiv. We Still Know What Respect Is. Stories, reflections, fairy tales.] Triáda: Prague 2014. Translated from the Romanes by Milena Hübschmannová, Jana Kramářová, Denisa Miková, Karolína Ryvolová, Helena Sadílková, Alena Smutná and Martina Vyziblová.
- “Phuro” (Dědek – Old Man) [Available to download in Rromanes here]
- “Pal o Škiparis” (O Škypárovi – About Škypár) [available to download in Rromanes here]
- “Bijav” (Svatba – Wedding) [to come]
- “Sar mušinďam te rozčhivel o khera” (Jak jsme si museli zbourat vlastní domy – How We Had to Raze Our Own Homes)
- “O Rusi kij’amende” (Rusové jsou tady – The Russians Are Here)
- “E Maruška” / Maruška
- “Pre lavkica” / Na lavičce – On the Little Bench
- “Sam diline, či nasvale?” / Jsme hloupí, nebo nemocní? – Are We Stupid Or Sick?
- “Na bisterďam pre peskeri paťiv” / Ještě víme, co je úcta – We Still Know What Respect Is
An appendix to the collection includes a selection of Giňa’s letters to Milena Hübschmannová, the founder of Romani scholarship in our country who was an editor and friend to Giňa for many years, a valuable document that provides further insight into the context of the Romani movement and Giňa’s works.
- Pal o duj phrala – short story [available to download in Rromanes here]
- Pre boňa / Na křtinách – The Christening [Available to read in Rromanes and Slovak here]
“Pativ : jeste víme, co je úcta : vyprávení, úvahy, pohádky” – available to buy here.
Vlado Oláh (1947 – 2012)
One of the most acclaimed Slovak Romani poets Vlado Oláh, was born 22 May 1947 in Stropkov Svidník in eastern Slovakia. His parents worked in construction, so he was raised by his grandparents. Although both grandparents were illiterate, he still discovered a deep interest in the school and especially literature. He attended the mining school in Banská Štiavnica, but due to financial reasons, did not finish. After a year working in the mine and the onset of the war, he decided to supplement his education at the military school. As a professional soldier he remotely studied under the Philosophical Faculty of the University of PJ Safarik in Kosice, in the field of adult education, and in 1984 he received his doctorate. For health reasons, he left military service in 1986 and lived with his family in Prague.
After 1990, he joined the Roma “ethnoemancipation” efforts. In addition to participating in various cultural activities (the Helsinki Committee, the Tolerance Foundation, the Society of Professionals and Friends of the Museum of Roma Culture, World Council of Churches Commission for Evangelization and Pastoral Care of Gypsies, and the educational committee of the Ministry of Education) he founded in 1991, “Matice romská” – Roma Christian and educational associations, of which he is chairman. He studied theology and deals with the translation of the Bible in Romani (and published translations of John’s Gospel, Apostolic works, and some other parts of the Bible), and is co-author of a selection of texts from the Bible intended for children – “Del vakerel to peskero čhave (God speaks to His children)”.
He made his writing debut in 1990 with three short stories written in rhythmic prose, which were published in the Black Rose anthology: “I started writing in the 80s, still in Slovak, but those things were very philosophical. When I showed Milena [Hübschmannová] what I wrote, she told me that I would never be a poet. I wanted to prove her wrong, and so I took her notes and took up to cleanse my work.My first poems were born! Before I started writing, I started to paint. When I stopped painting, I began to express feelings in poems. Could I be nineteen, twenty years old? I wrote for myself and then I began to write for the public and I tried to publish in various Romani journals.”
About the inspiration that gave him his early work, he said: “These are tunes, perhaps inherited from my grandfather’s double bass, or my mother, who sang beautifully. My later poems with Christian themes are simpler, focusing on communication. If you submit basic truths of the faith in the form of poems, people find them easier to remember. “(Interview with Alena Scheinostova, Vlado Olah for Catholic Weekly 18/2009)
In addition to texts published in magazines he also regularly published poetry collections: Khamoro luluďi (Sunflower, 19996 and 2003), Le khamereske čhave (Children of the Sun, 2003), Khamutno kamiben (Glow of Love, 2005) and most recently Amaro Drom pal of Udut (Our path to the Light, 2006). In 2008 his poems were included in the book Devla, Devla! Poems and stories about the Roma, which is the result of literary challenges to writers on the subject of Roma-Gypsies to mark 200 years since the birth of K. H. Máchy.
Vlado Oláh Roma was the first author admitted to the Czech Writers’ Association. In 2006 he was awarded the Literary Prize for his contribution to Roma literature.
- Kali ruži/ Černá růže / Black Roses, Prague, 1990.
- Khamoro luluďi / Slunečnice / Sunflower, Matice romská, Radix, Prague 1996 and 2003 (2nd ed.).
- Le khameskere čhave / Děti slunce /Children of the Sun, Matice romská, Prague, 2003rd
- Khamutno kamiben / Žár lásky /Glow of Love, Matice romská a Sdružení Dženo, Prague, 2005th
- Amaro Drom pal of Udut / Naše cesta za Světlem / Our Way to Light, Daj Romani, Prague, 2006th
- Pal oda, so kerenas le devleskere bičhade – Acts of the Apostles, G plus G: Czech Bible Society, The Matrix Roma, 2000th
- Devla, Devla! Poems and stories about Roma, Dauphin, Praha, 2008.
- my journey, video on www.romea.cz of 9 4th, 2008.
Poem – Paljikeriben, available to read in Romanes and English here
Three Poems / Trin Giljuntnja (O kham lake andro burňik thovav / Slunce jí do dlaní vložím; Andre dukh uľiľom… / Z bolesti jsem se narodil; O Jankel / Jankel), available to read in Romanes and Slovak here
Short story – Lajos, the big partisan, available to read in Romanes and English here
František Demeter (1948 – 2003)
Demeter is most widely known for his prose work, the most famous being his fairlytale saga, “Pal Sumnakuno Sidoris” (The Golden Sidor) from the early ’70s, published in Romano džaniben (in 2005 it was also converted into a theater piece). As a writer, however, Demeter started with poems and texts from simple responses to song forms and self-expression. His poetry is summarized in Romane giľa. In 1996, he moved with his extended family to Belgium, where he died.
- Kaskero Del feder / Čí Bůh je lepší / Whose God is better – Romano džaniben 1-2/1997
- Pal o Somnakuno Sidoris / O Zlatém Sidorovi / The Golden Sidor – Romano džaniben jevend (winter)/2003
- Pro kerestos khosnoro / Šátek na kříži / Scarf upon the Cross – Romano džaniben, jevend (winter)/2003
- Romaňi čirlatuňi phuv / Dávná zem Romů / The Ancient Land of Roma – Romano džaniben, ňilaj (summer)/2007 [ available in Romani and Czech here]
- “Lačho Jilo Mira Babakero” – available to read in Romanes here.
Margita was born in Malých Bukovcích in Slovakia, and is a writer who publishes in the Romanes. She was born in Slovakia, but after the war her family moved to Prague. Her literary activity consisted largely of writing poems and prose-style fairy tales . The formation of the Romani inspired her group of authors around the first Romani periodicals lived in Czechoslovakia Romano (Roma list), which was founded in 1970 mainly text Tera Fabiánová that make the poetry section in the magazine to ensure a fixed place, in the words Reiznerové showed that “Is it possible to write a Roma” and “what is beautiful Romany language”. She Margita Reiznerová began after 1989, when she co-founded the Association of Roma authors and contributed to the proceedings Kale rose as several poems and prose tale Le Romengero gendalos ( Mirror Roma). In 1992 he published tale of Kali. He also wrote a collection of poems dvojazyčnou romskočeskou Suno (Sen) (Czech: Dreams – (translated from romšriny Lada Viková ), which was published in 2000, made a significant contribution to the running-based association for several years was its chairwoman. Between 1991 and 1994, was deeply influenced by Romani publishing editor and also worked as editor gendalos Romano (Roma Mirror). published his poems out of periodicals and magazines Amaro Lav and Romano džaniben.
Profession was Margita Reiznerová nurse, worked at the post auxiliary nurse for 11 years in Prague Podolí . In addition to writing devoted to music, she was a soloist of Roma folklore ensemble Perumos. In the 90 years of the 20th century emigration to Belgium , where she settled permanently.
- Kalji – Fairytale (1992 and 1994)
- Suno – a collection of poems (2000) [available to download in Czech and Romanes here]
- Kale Ruža – Black Roses – Anthology of Romani Authors (1990)
- Roma Mirror (1991-1994)
- Angličanos / Angličan / Englishman, 1-2/1995, orální tradice / memoráty
- E žamba / Žába / Frog, 3/1998, literatura – próza
- Karačoňa / Vánoce / Christmas, Margita Reiznerová, 4/1995, zvyky a obřady, orální tradice / memoráty
- Le dadeskero bovoro / Tatínkova kamínka / Father’s Stones, 1-2/1996, literatura – poezie
- Ohnivé místečko / Thanoro jagutno [available to read in Czech and Rromanes here, along with Suno I]
Ilona Ferková’s education finished at 15 with primary school. At the time, her father was seriously ill, her family were struggling to make ends meet and she had to start working. She worked in a series of menial jobs until the 1990s, when she was offered a position in a bilingual Czech-Romany kindergarten in Rokycany supported by the Open Society Fund.
Ever since childhood, she had wanted to record the stories of her father, who was a great storyteller, but she had not considered Czech a suitable language for the job. However, when she met Milena Huebschmannova in the mid-1980s, she realized that her mother tongue Romani could also be used as a literary language. With Huebschmannova’s support, she first of all penned some traditional folk tales, but gradually she developed what was to become her trademark, namely stories reflecting the lives of contemporary Romany women.
Ferková records the everyday injustices of the former regime, the unwelcome visits of social workers to the home, the placing of children into care, the humiliating attitudes of authorities towards young Roma families, but she does not shy away from problems widespread within the community itself, such as teenage pregnancy, lack of education, crime, and the inequality between women and men. More importantly, her subject-matter did not die with the transition from totalitarianism to democracy, but has changed along with the times, so her short prose can be read as a chronicle of developments in the Roma community.
Between 1999 and 2003 Ferková and her family were seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. After her return, she wrote a cycle of sketches Vakeriben pal e Anglija (Stories from England), which has since been published in an anthology of Czech Romany prose entitled Čalo voďi (A Soul Well-Fed, 2007). With her extensive magazine production in Romany periodicals such as Romano džaniben, Amaro lav, Romano kurko, Romano hangos, Kereka and others, and her collections of short stories Mosarďa peske o dživipen anglo love (She ruined her life over money, 1992) and Čorde čhave (Stolen children, 1996), she is one of the strongest voices of the 1990s generation of Roma writing.
- Chudľom te gondoľinel pal o romipen, kana me man zgejľom la Milenaha – Začala jsem uvažovat o romipen, když jsem se setkala s Milenou – ňilaj/2006, romisté, romské osobnosti, literární historie
- Kalo, či parno / Černý, nebo bílý / Black or White, 4/2000, literatura – próza
- Romano bijav andre Rumuňija / Romská svatba v Rumunsku / Roma wedding in Romania, 3/1998, etnografie obecně, zvyky a obřady
- Rozhovor s paní Stenzlovou, rodačkou z Kunešova, 4/1994, orální tradice / memoráty
- Sar o Roma avenas pal o mariben pro Čechi / Jak přicházeli Romové po válce do Čech, 1-2/1995, orální tradice / memoráty
- Vakeriben pal e Anglija / Příběhy z Anglie, ňilaj/2008, literatura – próza
Andrej Pešta is, among other things, a writer and artist. He lives in Letovicích u Brna. He was born in Italy, but was soon orphaned, and at age 15 years he moved to Carpathian Ruthenia. There Andrej got in touch with the local Roma and he learned Romani well. He also changed his name. When he was twenty years old, he enlisted in the Czechoslovak army. He also worked in Svoboda’s [Свобода] staff and was sent to Italy, where he fought on the side of the partisans until the end of the war. After the war he returned to Czechoslovakia. First, he lived in Písečné, and then in 1950 he moved to Spišské, Slovakia. When working he attended evening technical college studying and working in various technical professions. He connected with the Olah Roma community and fell in love with his wife. He met with Milena Hübschmannová and introduced her to the Roma. In the late sixties he moved to Moravia, where he is active in the Association of Roma and Gypsies in the newsroom Romano Lil. In 1980-1984, lived and worked in Podbřežice at Vyškova and stays at his house in Letovicích u Brna. He works with both metal and wood. He paints and creates sculptures, which are now in the collections of the Museum of Roma Culture (Brno).
- Barvaljipen miro / My Wealth – Available to read in Romanes and Czech here
Expresses herself in a specific dialect called Roštár. This dialect, which is a mixture of Slovak and Hungarian dialects, is spoken by Roma in several villages around Rožňava, Slovakia. No other information available at this time.
- Odozvy svedomia (novela) (4/1995)
- … angle oda bino – … a pro ten hřích (autorská legenda) (1-2/1998)
- Pal i Kaji Sara – O Černé Sáře (autorská legenda) (1-2/2001)
- Tíha svědomí / The Burden of Conscience [available to read in Czech here]
Born on August 24, 1939 in Hradišti to a family of smiths, Banga attended primary and secondary school in Hungary. In 1958 he graduated from the teacher training college in Krupine and went on to study Slovak and History at Comenius University (Univerzita Komenského), in Bratislava. After completing his university studies in the years 1963-69, he worked as a secondary school teacher at a grammar school in Trebisov and in the years 1969-78 as Literary editor of Slovak Television (STV – Slovenská televízia).
In 1979, he moved to Bratislava and became an editor of the magazine, New Road (Nová Cesta), where he worked until termination of the magazine in 1990. At present, he is the chairman of the Civic Association of Romani Culture and the editor of the magazine, “Roma” and children’s magazine “Luluďi” issued by the association .
Dezider Banga first began publishing poems and Romani fairy tales (folk literature) in the first half of the sixties in contemporary magazines. His first extensive series of poems was published in the anthology of poetry “Dúfam, že nevyrušujem, Eva” in 1963. In a separate poetic debut “Záružlie a Lekno” (Buttercup and Water Lily) (1967) he is presented as a poet of spontaneous lyricism, taking inspiration from not only Romani folk literature, but also utilizing the findings of modern European poetry. From the thematic point of view, his poetry is dominated by the nature and love, with a strong ballad feel. Similar poetic and thematic areas are presented in the collections “Interviews with the Night” and the “Blue Storm” (“Rozhovory s Nocou” and “Modrá búrka”), both published in 1970.
After more than ten years, Banga published a new collection of poems “Burning Cherry” (“Horiaca Višňa” – 1983), based on the memories of his childhood and youth. In several collections of poems, however, he confronts Romani social experience with the changed social background of their own children. He also published Dying Magnolias (“Magnólie Zhasínajú”, 1989) and Poetry (“Lyrika”, 1992).
Dezider Banga is also a major collector and translator of Romani poetry and folk tales. A selection of Romany folk poems were published in the collection The Song of the Wind (“Pieseň nad Vetrom”, 1964) and a selection of Roma folk tales in the children’s book, Black Hair (“Čierny Vlas”, 1970) and an extensive anthology of Romani folk tales “Paramisa” (1993). He compiled and authored an anthology of Roma poetry “Verses from the Willows” (“Verše z Vrbiny “, 1993), which includes many Romani poets. For the youngest pupils of Roma origin he authored the Roma primer (“Rómsky šlabikár”, 1993), and the textbook “Painting/Colouring Romani” (“Maľovaná rómčina: Farbindi romani čhib”, 1997)
An important part of the creative interests of Banga was television production for children and youth. He wrote Epaš (1969), Black Hair (Čierny Vlas (1970, 1969, 2007), Barborkin Pavúk, Rozprávky z dlane, Tehliar a kráľ (“Spider Barborkin”, “Tales of the Palm”, and “Tehliar and the King”, 1972), Girl with roses in her Footsteps (“Dievča s ružami v šľapajach”, 1978) and series bedtime Buroviarko (1971), Fairytales of the Palm, (“Rozprávky z Dlane”, 1972), Slimáčik’s drum (“Slimáčik bubienok”, 1977) and Tales from the Meadow (“Rozprávky z Lúky”, 1979).
- Poézia – Poetry
- Záružlie a lekno (1967)
- Modrá búrka (1970)
- Rozhovory s nocou (1970)
- Horiaca višňa (1983)
- Magnólie zhasínajú (1989) [out of print]
- Lyrika (1992)
- Slnečný vánok (1999)
- Agáty neumierajú (2004)
- Le Khamoreskere čhavora / slniečkove deti / Children of the Sun (2012, 1.vydanie)
Pre deti a mládež – For Children
- Romano hangoro (1993, rómsky šlabikár)
- Maľovaná rómština (1996)
- Čierny vlas (2007, 1.vydanie) [available to download in Slovak here]
Scenáristika – Screenwriting
- Epaš (1969)
- Buroviarko (1971)
- Barborkin pavúk (1972)
- Čierny vlas (1972)
- Rozprávky z dlane (1972)
- Tehliar a kráľ (1972)
- Slimáčik bubienok (1977)
- Dievča s ružami v šľapajach (1978)
- Rozprávky z lúky (1979)
Editorská činnosť – Editorial Activities
- Dúfam, že nevyrušujem, Eva (Bratislava, 1963) [out of print]
- Pieseň nad vetrom (1964, antológia rómskej ľudovej poézie) [available to buy in Slovak here]
- Čierny vlas (1970, výber z rómskych ľudových rozprávok)
- Paramisa (1993, antológia rómskych ľudových rozprávok)
- Verše z vrbiny (1993, antológia rómskej autorskej poézie)
Michal Šamko (b. 1967) is a Romani poet and prose writer. His work as a whole is very much related with the works of other Romani authors, however it often exceeds the current state (of Romani life and literature) and further develops it in a new way defines a new and different position.
He debuted in 2000 in the Romani magazine Romano džaniben with his story “Papuskeri paramisi – My grandfather’s Tale” (Romano džaniben 4/2000, pp. 68-75), and two years later published another piece of prose “Košiben – Curse” (Romano džaniben 1-2 / 2002, p. 71-86). The 2004 issue (1-2 / 2004) offered a selection of his poems.
For contemporary authors the option to write in Romaniis more or less natural and Šamko writes both Romani and in English, though Romani better corresponds with the thematic and ideological focus of his work.
Šamko’s poetry and prose are shaped by two main topics, which correspond to two basic tendencies in Romani literature as a whole: the first involves Romani history and tradition. The second is a reflection of the current status of the Romani, which is usually foreshadowed by feelings of physical and moral hazard on the part of the majority.
For Michael Šamko (and many Romani) our past is an attractive source of inspiration. How his work is channeled directly to specific Romani history makes his writing utterly distinctive. However, they also can be traced to the view of a “golden age”, which appears a little stronger in his non-historical works. .
Both Papuskeri paramisi and Košiben are inspired by real events of Romani history – Papuskeri paramisi is a legendary story about the causes of Roma nomadism, which is told against a background of drastic scenes from the Roma Holocaust. Košiben connects thousands of years of the Roma in Byzantium with the figure Cinky Panny, who actually lived in the 18th century in Hungary.
The violin ballad unlike his prose does not refer to specific historical events, it is more of a vague historical background. Defense of traditional Romani values also has its place in the poems Andro sados (In the Garden) or Phurde balvaľori. For most Roma authors the world view of the majority is the source of all evils in the Roma community (based on the general opinion of the public against Romani).
- “Papuskeri paramisi – My grandfather’s tale.“ In Romano džaniben 4/2000, pp. 68-75, translated by H. Šebková [available to read in Rromanes and Czech here]
- “Košiben – Curse“. In Romano džaniben 1-2 / 2002, p. 71-86, translated by M. Hübschmannová
- “Kam se vše podělo (Where has everything gone); Violin (Housle); Amari; Andro sados; Phurde balvaľori; Devla miro, mangav tut; So len daha“. Unpublished.
- “Mek sal ciknoro”. In Romano džaniben (ňilaj/2005)
Gejza Demeter was born on 11 May 1947 in Ústí nad Labem, but grew up with his grandfather in Dlhém Cirochou. Here Gejza Demeter graduated with honors from elementary school. He then graduated grammar school in the Czech Republic, where his parents lived. He began to study medicine, but after three and a half years of study, he married, settled in Neratovice and started to go to work.
He worked at many different professions. Among other things, he devoted himself to journalism in the weekly magazine Spolana, was several years in the police force (then public security), and then worked as a laborer. After the Velvet Revolution, he returned to journalism. He began as a correspondent for the Romani magazine “Romano lil” then he met Margita Reiznerová, chairwoman of the “Association of Roma Authors,” (Sdružení romských autorů) and encouraged by Milena Hübschmannová first started writing short stories in Romani. The first three (Stavka – Bet, Duj jepaša – Two halves, O Umblado – The Hangman) were published in 1992 in a small booklet entitled “O mule maškar amende” (“The Ghosts Among Us”) in the series “Romaňi čhib” and released by the Association. He continued to write many short stories, some of which have disappeared, though others have been published (usually without the knowledge of the author) in magazines, as well as a book.
In the nineties Gejza Demeter became a reporter for the newspaper “Expres” and as he says, he stopped working for the Roma, but instead worked for a Gadže newspaper. He traveled throughout Europe reporting, though he does not avoid Romani issues. Since 2007 occasionally he works as a lecturer in the Seminar of Romani Studies at Charles University in Prague. In memory of his grandfather he wrote eleven stories. A special feature of Demeter’s work is that he wrote these fairy tales twice – in Romani and Czech – as two books. In Romani they are called “Le Devleskeri bar” and Czech version will be released under the name of “Rajská zahrada” – The Garden of Eden
- Duj jepaša – Two Halves. Romano džaniben, 1-2/2001. [Available to read here in Czech and Rromanes]
- Karačoňa / Christmas – Romano džaniben, 4/1995
- Kirvo / Godfather – Romano džaniben, 2/1994
- Le Čukčuskeri bari bibacht / The Gossip’s great misfortune – Romano džaniben, jevend/2007
- Pal o ričkara / O medvědářích – Romano džaniben, 3/1996
- Sar o pavucikos ratinďa le devlores / Jak pavouček zachránil pámbíčka – Romano džaniben, 1-2/1995
- Ráj na zemi – Heaven on Earth, Triada, 2011 [available to read in Czech here]
- O vysloužilém vojákovi / Pal o phuro slugaďis / The Old Soldier [available to read in Rromanes and Czech here]
- Zavražděné děvčátko/ Murdarďi čhajori / Murdered little girl [available to read in Rromanes and Czech here]
Novelist Geza Horvath was born in 1948 in Písečné (Šumperk), in the Czech Republic. He grew up in a settlement near the town of Krompachy, Slovakia. He comes from a musical family, which led him to music since childhood, and for twelve years he played with the greatest bands in Slovakia. He worked as a storekeeper and after completing his military service he went to Brno, where he began playing with a Romani group. But it was not enough to make a living for his family, so he started working as a telecommunications labourer. He also teaches accordion and he opened a musical instrument shop in Brno. Since 1980 Gejza Horváth has been a professional musician, notably with Romano Rat. He composed his own songs with several Romani ensembles. Since the late 90s he has also worked as editor of Romano Hangos (Romani Voice).
- Trispras, G plus G, Praha, 2006. [Available to buy in Czech here or here]
- Miri baba/ Moje babička / My Grandmother. In: Romano hangos 4/1999, s. 4.
- Hančuša. Romano hangos 9/ 1999, s 4. [Available to read in Rromanes and Czech here]
- So pes mange ačhľas paš o bašaviben/ Co se mi stalo při hraní / What happened to me while playing. In: Romano hangos 10/1999, s 4.
- Pervi maj/ První máj / May Day. In: Romano hangos, 7/ 2000, s. 4.
- Miro papus/ Můj dědeček / My Grandfather
O Driľkus/ Drilko. In: Romano džaniben 1-2/2001. [Available to read in Rromanes and Czech here]
- O džide the o mule/ Romové žijí s mrtvými. In: Romano hangos 18/ 2002. S. 5.
No information available.
- “Ko som?”- 1991 Brno ROMPRESS. In: Amaro lav 4/91, pg.6
- “Ajsi som phuri” – 1990 Praha Federální ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí a Romská občanská iniciativa. In: Lačho lav 10/90, pg.15
- “Eržika” 1990 Praha Federální ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí a Romská občanská iniciativa. In: Lačho lav 10/90, pg.10-11+14
- Jak člověk žije na tomto světě, tak bude žít i na onom světě / Sar manuš dživel pr’oda svetos, avka dživela the pr’aver svetos [How a person lives in this world, in this way they’ll live in the next world] – Available to read in Czech and Rromanes here.
- Sar me dživavas. In: Romano džaniben 1-2/2001
No information available.
- Pal e romňi Krivaňa / O paní Krivaně, Jagori / Ohníček, Vareso garudo / Tajemství, E daj na kamelas / Maminčina rada, Duj pheňora / Dvě sestřičky. In: Romano džaniben 3/1998
The poet, playwright and novelist Irena Eliášová spent her early childhood in a Romani village (Novej Dedine) in south-western Slovakia. The memory of this time has become the defining experience in her writing. But Irena does not write just about the lost world of her childhood in the 1950s and 60s. She has also written powerfully and poignantly about the life of Roma in the Czech Republic today. Yet even when she writes about the present, her work is permeated with a sense of family and community that also draws us back to an older world of Roma tradition.
- Zatracený život – Damn Life. Available to read here in Czech
- Vánoční pohled – Christmas Card. Available to read here in Czech
- Nové sako – New Coat. Available to read here in Czech
- Žvýkačka – Chewing Gum. Available to read here in Czech
- Listopad, Tak trochu jiná červená knihovna – Available to download in Czech here (PDF)
Emil Cina was born on 13 December 1947 in the Libeň quarter of Prague. His forebears came from Slovakia, from Kurim u Bardějova, where they owned agricultural estates and made their living trading horses.
Mr Cina is the nephew of the famous Romani author Ilona Lacková. He trained as a milling-machine operator in the Auto Praga factory in the Vysočany region and after his military service, during which he was a tank operator, he delivered coal around Prague for 20 years with his brother and father.
In the 1990s Mr Cina began working at the Czech Radio Regina station, based in the Prague quarter of Karlín. He started there as the building manager and in 1992 became an editor and moderator of the “Klub dorozumění” (“Understanding Club”) program for minorities.
“Through my poems I do my best to inspire Romani people not to forget Romanes. This is our language. It’s what keeps us together, which is why I do my best to preserve it,” Mr Cina said recently in an interview for news server Romea.cz when asked to describe what motivated his creativity.
Mr Cina, like many other Romani authors, was guided towards writing by the founder of Romani Studies in the Czech Republic, Milena Hübschmannová. His first poems were published in the 1990s in the Romani magazine Amaro lav / Naše slovo (“Our Word”), followed by his editorial work for the magazines Gendalos / Zrcadlo (“The Mirror”) and Nevo romano gendalos / Nové romské zrcadlo (“The New Romani Mirror”), in which he established and ran a column for children.
In 1997, at the International Competition of Romani Artistic Creativity, “Amico Rom”, in Lanciano, Italy he won two prizes, second place in the prose category and third place in the category of poetry for children.
Mr Cina also translated Duhový most (Rainbow Bridge), a book of children’s fairy tales by Ludvík Středa, into Romanes. He also provided the Czech translation for Emir Kusturica’s feature film “Black Cat, White Cat” (1998) and translated several passages from the film “Roming” (2007) into Romanes.
In 2002 Mr Cina’s poems were published in a collection entitled Legendy, balady a romance národů (Legends, Ballads, and Romances of Nations). In 2008 he published two myths in the book Devla, devla!
Mr Cina also wrote stories of the lives of Romani people in Slovakia based on his visits to relatives and matched with motifs from paintings by the Benedictine monk Lukas Ruegenberg. That material became the basis for the pieces in his 2010 book Ivan a Dominik (Ivan and Dominic).
Recently Mr Cina contributed to the Romani biweekly newspaper Romano hangos, the children’s magazine Kereka, and to news server Romea.cz, as well as collaborating with the KHER publishing house. He also authored the Czech and Romani texts of Ibra Ibrahimovič’s book of photographs O školara / Školáci (Schoolchildren).
Thanks to his active position toward using the Romanes language and to his creations, Emil Cina is one of the most popular and recognized Romani cultural figures. His years of work for young readers, not just in literature but also in cultural outreach, were very beneficial and of high quality.
His poems call on Romani people not to abandon their identity and their language. In his stories about life, in which he displays not just a talent for observation, but also wisdom and a capacity for self-irony (and a humor based on that), he shows people, through his own example, what it means to live in accordance with Romanipen.
- Poems and prose in Romano Hangos [in Rromanes and Czech]:
- Gendalos / Zrcadlo
- Romano voďi
- Devla, devla!
- Four Poems – Amaro lav / Naše slovo; Dar / Strach; Bacht / Štěstí; and “z veršů pro děti” (a verse for children) available to read in Rromanes and Czech here.
- Duhový most / Le Devleskeri phurt. Liberec : Krajská vedecká knihovna v Liberci, 2004
- Legendy, balady a romance národů. [Praha] : Velká Ohrada, 2002 [available to buy in Czech here]