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»Sie wurden in einer großen Synagoge eingesperrt, wo sie starben«

Vanya Kochanowski | »Sie wurden in einer großen Synagoge eingesperrt, wo sie starben« | self-evidence | United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | 1946 | voi_00026

Rights held by: Vanya Kochanowski | Licensed by: Gypsy Lore Society | Licensed under: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International | Provided by: Liverpool University Press Online

SOME NOTES ON THE GYPSIES OF LATVIA
By One of the Survivors
Vanya Kochanowski

The new ›Liberators‹ – the Nazis – were a hundred times worse than any mediaeval oppressors, and deportations and tortures became the order of the day.
All Jews were herded into ghettos, and soon the forests near Riga became a veritable charnel-house for these poor wretches.
In the provinces the same awful fate befel[l] the Gypsies. Just before the arrival of the Nazis, the Balto-Slavonic Tziganes quitted the capital for fear of bombs. Among them about 30-50 per cent were my own relatives. They fled to Eastern Latvia, to Latgale. Many Letts [sic!], I grieve to say, in that district supported the Nazi authorities in their desire to slaughter both Jews and Gypsies. There were even some among them who said: ›From the Jews we do at least get some trade, but what can these parasites, the Gypsies, give us?‹
So all the Gypsies in Eastern Latvia were assembled in three towns: Rezekne, Ludza and Vilani. At Ludza they were locked up in a large synagogue where they died, in hundreds, of hunger and disease. I happened to meet a young Gypsy girl whose relati[ves] were all imprisoned in this terrible place, and amid her sobs she confirmed every one of these horrors. […]
At last there came an order that Gypsies were not to be killed. But it was already too late! At Vilani my uncle was murdered with his wife and six children. The Romá were executed at midnight, and the order to release them arrived at 2 A.M.! And so the number of Slav and Lettish [sic!] Gypsies slaughtered by the Nazis supposed to have amounted to from 1500 to 2500 persons. After this appalling massacre I could only find at Dvinsk about ten families of Čuhny (Cigny), all the rest having been murdered at Libau, Ven[t]spils and Bauska. At Riga, Tukkum and Ragaciems the Gypsies were spared.

EINIGE BEMERKUNGEN ÜBER DIE ROMA* LETTLANDS
Von einem der Überlebenden
Vanya Kochanowski

Die neuen »Befreier« – die Nazis – waren hundertmal schlimmer als alle mittelalterlichen Unterdrücker. Deportationen und Folter wurden zur Tagesordnung.
Alle Juden wurden in Ghettos zusammengepfercht und bald schon wurden die Wälder nahe Riga zu einem regelrechten Leichenhaus für diese armen Seelen.
In den Provinzen traf die Roma dasselbe grauenvolle Schicksal. Kurz vor der Ankunft der Nationalsozialisten flohen die baltisch-slawonischen Roma aus Angst vor den Bomben aus der Hauptstadt. 30–50 Prozent davon waren meine eigenen Verwandten. Sie flohen nach Ost-Lettland, nach Latgale. Viele Letten, so traurig es mich macht, dies zu sagen, unterstützten die nationalsozialistischen Behörden in diesem Bezirk bei ihrem Vorhaben, die Juden und auch die Roma abzuschlachten. Es gab unter ihnen sogar solche, die sagten: »Von den Juden kommt immerhin noch etwas Handel, aber was können uns diese Parasiten, die Zigeuner, geben?«
Also wurden alle Roma
in Ostlettland in drei Ortschaften zusammengetrieben: Rezekne, Ludza und Vilani. In Ludza wurden sie in einer großen Synagoge eingesperrt, wo sie, zu Hunderten, an Hunger und Krankheiten starben. Ich traf zufällig ein junges Romamädchen, dessen Verwandte alle an diesem schrecklichen Ort eingesperrt waren, und unter Tränen bestätigte sie jede einzelne Gräueltat. […]
Endlich kam der Befehl, die Roma
nicht zu töten. Aber es war bereits zu spät! In Vilani war mein Onkel mit seiner Frau und den sechs Kindern ermordet worden. Die Roma wurden um Mitternacht hingerichtet, der Befehl, sie freizulassen, traf um 2 Uhr morgens ein! Und so wird angenommen, dass die Zahl der von den Nazis abgeschlachteten slawischen und lettischen Roma auf 1.500 bis 2.500 Personen angestiegen war. Nach diesem erschütternden Massaker konnte ich in Dvinsk nur noch etwa zehn Familien der Čuhny (Cigny) ausfindig machen, alle anderen waren in Libau, Ven[t]spils und Bauska ermordet worden. In Riga, Tukkum und Ragaciems wurden die Roma verschont.

NESAVE HRAMOVIBA KOTAR E RROMA* KI LATVIA
Kotar jekh manuš so ačhilo dživdo
Vanya Kochanowski

E neve »Manuša so ande e slobodija « – e Nacistora –šelvar maj džungale sas kotar sa avera marutne manuša ko maškar-purano vakto. E deportacija thaj tortura kerdi si sakodives.
E Bibolde sas sare čhuvde ke getora thaj ande veša paša e Riga sigo kerdile meribasko kher
akale čorore odjenge.
Ke provincije gasavi kali bibax reslas vi e Rromen. Skurto angleder no so e Nacistura avile, e Baltikake-Slavikane Rroma mukle o šerutno foro thaj gele peske kotar sebet e dar kotar e bombe. Maškar lende 30-50 procentora sas mire familijake džene.Von našle ki Latvijaki dizjorig, ko Latgale. Bukadar Latvijake manuša, so kerel ma bilošalo kado te phenav, ažutisarde e nacistikane institucije ke akava than, ke lengo plano e Bibolden thaj e Rromen te čhinen. Sas maškar lende nesave manuša so vakarenas: ›Kotar e Bibolde avel nesavo bućarnipe, ba so šaj akala parazitora, e Rroma te den amen?
Sa e Rroma kotar e Latvijaki dizjorig kethanes sas ingarde ko trin forura: Rezekne, Ludza thaj Vilani. E manuša ko Ludza phangle sas ki bari sinagoga thaj kote muletar, šel thaj šel olendar, mule kotar i bokh thaj nasvalipe. Kerdilas te maladivav jekhe terne Rromane čhajorasa, olake njamora sas phangle ko akava džungalo than, thaj rovindos mothovdas sako jekh džungali bući ..[…]

Po agor avilas komanda e Rroma te na mudardon. Numa sas docna! Ko Vilanim miro dajo sas mudardo pire romnjasa thaj pe šov čhavorenca. E Rroma sas mudarde kodi dopaš raći, i komanda reslas anglamezmeri ko 2 časo! Kadija o numero kotar e Slavikane thaj e Latvijake Rroma save masovno sas mudarde kotar e Nacistora, si kotar e 1500 dži ke 2500 manuša. Pala akava džungalo masakro ko Dvinsk šaj arakhlem numa deš familijen kotar e Čuhny (Cigny), sa avera mudarde sas ko Libau, Ven[t]spils thaj Bauska. Ki Riga, Tukkum thaj Ragaciems e Rroma* naj sas mudarde.

Credits

Rights held by: Vanya Kochanowski | Licensed by: Gypsy Lore Society | Licensed under: CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International | Provided by: Liverpool University Press Online

Playlist

Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Vanya Kochanowski
2.56 min
voi_00086
Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Vanya Kochanowski | Spoken word | Germany | 2018 | voi_00086
EN

Contextualisation

Futile protests of a Riga student
This article from 1946 by Vanya Kochanowski, also known as Vania de Gila-Kochanowski – from which excerpts are presented here – is one of the most important testimonies about the National Socialist persecution of Roma in Latvia. Archival sources verify some of the details given. In other instances, Kochanowski’s statements provide the only evidence of the crimes committed by the Germans.

Kochanowski, born in 1920 in Cracow (Poland), was studying in Riga when in 1940 Soviet and then in 1941 German troops marched into the city. Upon hearing about the mass deaths in Ludza, he sought out the highest German administrative authority and lodged a protest in person. In the desperate attempt to save Latvian Roma, he even wrote a study that sought to prove the integrity of the minority. In March 1943 he was recruited to perform forced labour. Five months later he succeeded in escaping but he was captured and imprisoned at various locations, including in Kaunas prison Finally, he was incarcerated in a camp in Salaspils and from there deported to France to perform forced labour. He escaped again and joined the Résistance. After the liberation of France, he remained in Paris, where he studied linguistics and at the same time trained as a classical dancer. In 1960 he obtained his doctorate from the Sorbonne. Throughout his life he saw himself as an activist for the rights of Roma and was involved in French and international organisations, including the International Romani Union. Vanya Kochanowski died in 2007 aged 86. Commentary, translated from German into English by Paul Bowman

Martin Holler (2017)

Playlist

Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Vanya Kochanowski
2.56 min
voi_00086
Lesung des Selbstzeugnisses von Vanya Kochanowski | Spoken word | Germany | 2018 | voi_00086
EN

Details

übersetzer Titel
»Von sas ph»Von sas phangle ki bari sinagoga kote so mule «
original title
‘They were locked up in a large synagogue where they died’
übersetzer Titel
‘They were locked up in a large synagogue where they died’
Production
1946
Credits
Production Credits
  • Vanya Kochanowski (Author) (Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Object Category
Material
Technique
Object Number
voi_00026

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