Slobodan Berberski (1919–89), partisan and comrade of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito as well as a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, was a pioneer in both the Romani movement and of Romani poetry in the former Yugoslavia.

He has published more than ten poetry collections and a novel in Serbo-Croatian, and his works have been translated into Romani, French, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Albanian and Slovenian. Despite his impressive literary output, his journalistic work is considered more important for the Romani movement. His article published in 1969 in the Belgrade-based newspaper Večernje novosti calling for the term ‘Roma’ to be used instead of ‘Gypsies’ and for Roma to be recognised as a nationality (narodnost) is considered a watershed in Yugoslav Romani policies; thereafter, the term ‘Roma’ was officially used in public, scientific and political discourse at both the federative and republican level. ‘Roma’ was included as a category in official censuses and the association ‘Rom’ with a network of branches was created on the territory of the federation.

Berberski led the Yugoslav Romani delegation that participated in the First World Romani Congress in London (April 1971), at which he was elected president.

Selected bibliography

Berberski, Slobodan. 1950. Za kišom biće duga. Zagreb: Novo Pokoljenje.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1950. Proleće i oči. Novi Sad: Matica Srpska.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1955. Uze. Novi Sad: Progres.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1959. Nevreme. Beograd: Nolit.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1968. Kote. Cetinje: Obod.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1976. Odlazak brata Jakala. Beograd: Nolit.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1977. Kao beskožni jeleni. Subotica: Osvit.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1979. Još san sebe da dovrši. Zrenjanin: Gradska biblioteka ‘Žarko Zrenjanin’.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1982. Međje. Novi Sad: Matica srpska.

Berberski, Slobodan. 1983. Svakodnevnica. Zagreb: Naprijed.