NAME Paul (Pablo) Jay Polansky
ADDRESS Knez Selo bb, 18204 Serbia and Cortijo Grande, Turre, Almeria, 04639 Spain
DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH 17 February 1942, Mason City, Iowa, USA
EDUCATION University (majored in journalism; minored in history and speech)
Institution: Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Date: from September 1960 to August 1963
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES:
Life member President’s Council, Marquette University (USA)
Fellow Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK)
2004: unanimous winner of the Weimar Human Rights Award after being nominated by Guenther Grass, recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature.
2005: nominated and finalist for the John Humphrey Freedom and Human Rights Award, Montreal, Canada
2013: nominated for CNN Heroes Award.
2014: Recipient of the Italian Flussidiversi Poetry Festival Award of Caorle, Venice, resulting in one of his poems being permanently inscribed onto the city’s seawall in honor of his human rights work.
2015: Recipient of both the Alfonso Gatto National Italian Poetry Award, (Salerno, Italy); and The Italian National Human Rights Award by the Fondazione Romani Italia for his work with Roma in Italy and Kosovo.
Head of Mission (president)
Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation
YEARS WITH THE FOUNDATION: 10
Author, lecturer, Roma/human rights activist
LECTURES AND READINGS (mainly on Roma/Gypsy history, traditions and persecution)
- Tel Aviv University (Israel)
- King’s Colleague, Cambridge University (UK)
- Brown University (USA)
- University of Minnesota (USA)
- University of Wisconsin (USA)
- University of Iowa (USA)
- University of California, Berkeley (USA)
- University of California, Santa Rosa (USA)
- Commonwealth Cub, San Francisco (USA)
- University of Rochester, NY (USA)
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USA)
- Augsburg University (Germany)
- University of Nish (Serbia)
- Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic)
- University of Salerno (Italy)
- University of Catania (Italy)
- University of Bologna (Italy)
- University of Cagliari (Italy)
- University of Bari (Italy)
- University of Siena (Italy)
- City Colleague, NY (USA)
- Society for Threatened People (Germany)
- U.S. Committee for Refugees (USA)
- Mid-Lutheran College, NE (USA)
- Sonoma State University (CA, USA)
- Luther Colleague, IA (USA)
- Santa Cruz State University (USA)
- University of San Francisco (USA)
- Irish Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, Dublin (Ireland)
- Presentation to EU MEPs in Brussels.
- Two presentations to UK MPs in House of Parliament.
- EU, Commission on Human Rights, Brussels (Belgium)
- Helsinki University (Finland)
Various Cultural and Human Rights associations in USA, UK, Ireland, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, and Estonia,
Also lectures and readings several times/year at Italian high schools teaching tolerance for Roma and immigrants.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE RECORD
1964-1968: Editor of two magazines (TAB & Castellana) in Madrid, Spain.Authored and published three guidebooks on Spain.
1969-1989: Developed own sporting estate in Southern Spain. Conducted historical research in central and eastern European archives on immigration to the USA after the 1848 uprising. Published historical and current-events articles in American and European priodicals.
1990-1993: Sold sporting estate and founded Czech Historical Research Center (USA). Lectured at several American and European universities on human rights in Eastern Europe. Edited and published a biography on Czech composer: Antonin Dvorak, My Father (1963). Lectured at Brown University and University of Iowa on Dvorak. Published several papers on Dvorak’s life in America.
1993-1999: Discovered 40,000 documents in Czech archives on Gypsy death camp (Lety) run by Czechs during WWII. Established residence in the Czech Republic in 1995 to live with Czech Roma survivors of Lety to collect their oral histories. Lectured at UN Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Forced Czech government to recognize Lety as a holocaust site with Czech President Havel inaugurating a memorial. Poetry readings often for four years throughout Czech Republic and Slovakia. Poetry tour of USA reading at several Holocaust Associations, and universities. Visited India to find castes having same traditions as European Roma. Books published in Prague by G plus G: Living Through It Twice (1997); Black Silence (1998); The Storm (1999); Stray Dog (1999).
1999: Invited by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to serve as their advisor on Roma (Gypsy) refugee issues in Kosovo. Lived in a displaced persons camp near Pristina from July until September. Led 500 Roma on march to Macedonia to seek asylum. Continued work with UNHCR compiling the first survey of all Gypsy communities in Kosovo (almost 300). Project funded by the UNHCR, Oxfam, and the Society for Threatened People. Survey published by the Society of Threatened People in both English and German in Gottingen (1999).
2000: Monitored all minority communities in Kosovo for Society for Threatened People and wrote 65 reports on these communities. Poetry reading tour of California including major readings at the Commonwealth Club and City Lights, both in San Francisco. Books published: Not a Refugee, and The River Killed My Brother.
2001: Monitored all RAE (Roma, Ashkali & Egyptian) Kosovo for Voice of Roma and also updated his 1999 survey. Established two pilot projects for sustaining aid for Kosovo Roma funded by Swiss Development Corporation. Another poetry reading tour of California, mainly at universities. Books published: Blackbirds of Kosovo.
2002: Head of Mission for Voice of Roma in Kosovo. Began English classes for Roma teenagers funded by Swiss Development Corporation (SDC). Also began several small businesses for Roma funded by SDC. Lectured at Tel Aviv University (Israel) on the Romani Holocaust. Books published: Bez Domova v Srdci Ameriky published in Prague and sold by the homeless there for their benefit.
2003: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Established English classes for Roma in the municipalities of Pristina, Peja and Gjakova funded by SDC. Monitored Kosovo Roma stranded on Macedonia-Greek border for three months seeking asylum in Greece. Books published: To UNHCR With Love, and Bus Ride in Jerusalem.
2004: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Directed project to restore 16th century Jewish cemetery in Nish (Serbia) funded by Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), New York. Reported on Albanian uprising in Kosovo for Prague TV (embedded with Swedish army). Began monitoring Roma affected by lead poisoning in the UN camps in Kosovo. Awarded Weimar Human Rights award after being nominated by Günter Grass, recipient of the 1999 Novel Prize for Literature. Books published: Where Is My Life?, and Kosovo Blood.
2005: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Monitored Roma affected by lead poisoning in the UN camps in Kosovo. Wrote op-ed article for International Herald Tribune and a book about the lead poisoning. Started several small businesses for Roma in Nish (Serbia) funded by JDC. Produced a documentary film on the lead poisoning, Gypsy Blood, which won best informative film at the 2005 Golden Wheel International Film Festival. Books published: Sarah’s People and UN-Leaded Blood.
2006: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Funded by Bild Zeitung, Germany’s largest newspaper, he took eight Roma to Germany for medical treatment of lead poisoning and obtained their asylum there. Assisted an American lawyer to file a legal claim against the UN for compensation for 155 Roma affected by lead poisoning in the UN camps. Began extensive project to collect and film the oral histories of Gypsy survivors of WWII in the former Yugoslavia, funded by JDC. Continued funding small business projects for Roma in Nish. Several readings and lectures in Germany. Books published: Safari Angola, and Roma.
2007: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Lectured in India on the Roma (Gypsy) Diaspora and continued investigations there of castes in Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan that have same customs and traditions as European Roma. Expanded oral history project making trips to eight countries in the Balkans. Started sheep herd project for ten Romani families funded by JDC. Continued small business projects for Nish Roma. Continued monitoring and publishing reports of Roma dying of lead poisoning in the UN camps in Kosovo. Poetry readings in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Trieste, Italy and Bern, Switzerland. Books published: Gypsy Taxi (with reading from book on BBC radio). First volume of oral histories published: One Blood, One Flame: the oral histories of the Yugoslav Gypsies before, during and after WWII.
2008: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Completed WWII oral history project with 156 filmed interviews in nine countries. Poetry reading tour of eight cities in Italy and lectures at several Italian universities on Roma immigration to Italy from the Balkans. Lectures in Germany and Switzerland on human rights in the Balkans. Presentation to EU MEPs in Brussels and two presentation to UK MPs in London House of Parliament about the lead poisoning in the UN camps in Kosovo. Books published: One Blood, One Flame, volumes 2 and 3.
2009: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Traveled all over Turkey and filmed oral histories of Turkish Gypsies (Roma and Dom). Filmed interviews with Turkish Jews from France saved by the Turkish ambassador during WWII. Also filmed oral histories of Roma survivors of WW II in Bulgaria and Albania. Poetry readings in fourteen Italian cities. Books published: Undefeated (bilingual English/Italian).
2010: Head of Mission for Society for Threatened Peoples and Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). In Istanbul to edit biography of Behic Erkin (Turkish ambassador to France during WWII). Poetry readings: London, UK, and seventeen cities (including four universities) in Italy (three separate tours). Lecture at Helsinki University on Roma Holocaust. Lecture in Vrsac, Serbia, on Roma education problems. Poetry reading in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Sign contract with Rome publisher for his memoir “Living with Gypsies.” Books published: Deadly Neglect and Boxing Poems.
2011: Head of Mission for Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Conducting weekly monitoring project for 12 months of resettled lead-poisoned Roma refugees for JDC. Poetry readings in eight Finnish cities (Turku, Tampere, Sysma, Kotka, Oulu, Lahti, Hameenlinna, and Helsinki). Writer’s residence for one month in Sysma, Finland (wrote play on Antonin Dvorak in America allowing Blacks and women to attend a conservatory for the first time in history). Poetry readings in five Italian cities. And lecture/reading at Salerno University. Poetry reading at Nish University, Nish, Serbia. Publish op-ed article on Roma Begging in Helsingin Sanomat. Books published: Mustalaistaksi.
2012: Head of Mission for Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Visited Roma in Kosovo who have been deported from Germany, all without warning and with police kicking down their doors at 4 a.m. In Kosovo they have no home, no job, no future. Some have been in Germany for 15 years and their kids born there speak only German. In Kosovo they are lost. With Huw Thomas from UK made a film about the plight of these Roma. Began a collection of poems (Cry, Gypsy) to tell their story. First edition was in English/German. No German media reviewed the book. Published the books Silence of the Violins (about Roma in the camps in Italy) and The Hand of God both by II Foglio Letterario, Bergamo, Italy. Visited and lived in several illegal Roma camps in Italy. In Milano the camp was burned down by arsonist at 5 a.m. and was lucky to survive. In Cagliari after his speech at the university got the city to resettled the Roma in nice rented homes from their 1960s camp that had no facilities in makeshift barracks and open rat-invested sewage.
2013: Head of Mission for Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Second edition of Cry Gypsy is published only in Italian but with drawings. Both books were published by Volo Press in Italy. In Italy gave many readings of this book, esp. in Italian high schools to present the tragedy of the Roma. The book was well received by the students who bought all the copies. Later in the year his book Homeless in America was published and Polansky gave several readings. Radio Popolare of Milano presented a half hour interview with him which helped the book sell out in Italy. Also liveed for some time with homeless Italians in Milano but they were not interested in writing about them. Abandoned this project and plannned a similar project with the immigrants in Brescia. They are more interested in his work. Back in Serbia helped Serbian Roma “deported” from Belgrade to Nish. They ended up in an abandoned building owned by the municipality. It took Polansky several months to get them water and electricity and for the Nish town hall to accept them.
2014: Head of Mission for Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF). Spent January and February in southern Spain collecting the oral histories of old Gitanos and their experiences during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Also collected the oral histories of the descendants of Gitanos whose ancestors went from Spain to North Africa in the 18th century shedding light on the origins of the Gypsies (Kale) in North Africa, not coming via Egypt or the Middle East but from Spain. In May Polansky was given the annual award of the Caorle, Venice, international Flussidiversi poetry festival, and one of his poems was inscribed on the city’s sea wall in honor of his poetry and human rights work. In June attended a Romani conference in the Czech Republic and led a bus tour of Roma from several countries to the Lety Romani Holocaust site. Also gave several lectures on Lety and the tragedy of the Roma in the Czech lands during WWII and today. In June and July Polansky’s boxing poems were published in Serbian and Polish with presentations and readings in Kragujevac (Serbia) and Katowice (Poland). During July and August he wrote a collection of poems about the war in Gaza and immediately found a publisher in Roma (Italy) interested. The book called ROCKETS went to press in September while he spent the entire month living with immigrants from 17 countries in the old quarter of Brescia (Italy), collecting their oral histories and experiences. In October the book ROCKETS was presented at the publisher’s bookstore in Rome and Polansky gave a series of readings in Rome, Bologna, Piachenza, Pavia, Napoli and Salerno. Several hundred Palestinians attended the reading in Napoli and applauded the book. After spending the month of November in China researching immigration from there to Mexico (1840-1920) for his biography on Bong Way Wong, he returned to Prague for Romani Pride Week and then continued his reading tour for two weeks in December in Italy with the Rockets book, mainly in Italian high schools using the poems to teach tolerance to the students who enthusiastically embraced the theme and the book. On December 15, Polansky returned to Prague for the presentation of his book Lety Death Camp, a 570-page memoire of his discovery of the Lety records and survivors.
ANTONIN DVORAK, MY FATHER (non-fiction, introduction & editor), Czech Historical Research Center, USA, 1993
LIVING THRU IT TWICE, poems of the Romani Holocaust, English/Czech, G plus G, Prague, CZ, 1998
BLACK SILENCE, The Lety Survivors Speak, G plus G, Prague, CZ, 1998
STRAY DOG, boxing poems, English/Czech, G plus G, Prague, 1999
THE STORM, novel, G plus G, Prague, CZ, 1999
THE GYPSIES OF KOSOVO, A Survey of their Communities after the War, SFTP, Goettingen, Germany, 2000
NOT A REFUGEE, poems of Kosovo Roma IDPs, Voice of Roma, USA, 2000
THE RIVER KILLED MY BROTHER, poems of genocide against Roma, Norton Cocker/Jejune, Prague, CZ, 2001
THE BLACKBIRDS OF KOSOVO, poems of Kosovo Roma under UN administration, USA, 2001
BEZ DOMOVA V SRDCI AMERIKY, Society for Homeless People, Prague, CZ, 2002
BUS RIDE IN JERUSELEM, poetry, Roma Fund, USA, 2003
TO UNHCR, WITH LOVE, poems of Kosovo Roma asylum seekers on Greek border, Divus, Prague, CZ, 2003
KOSOVO BLOOD, poems and war reports of the 2004 Albanian uprising in Kosovo, KRRF, Serbia, 2004
SARAH’S PEOPLE, Jewish cemetery poems and photos, Nish, KRRF, Serbia, 2004
WHERE IS MY LIFE?, poems of Kosovo Roma, Feral Tribune, Split, Croatia, 2004
UN-LEADED BLOOD, poetry, reports & photos of Roma suffering in UN camp built on toxic wasteland, KRRF, Serbia, 2005
SAFARI ANGOLA, poems of big-game hunting with woodcuts, Gafis, Serbia, 2006
ROMA: verchtet, verfolgt, vergessen; selected poems 1991-2005, Wormser, Bern, Switzerland, 2006
GYPSY TAXI, poetry & drawings, KRRF, Serbia, 2007
ONE BLOOD, ONE FLAME: the oral histories of the Yugoloslav Gypsies before, during and after WWII, Vol. I, KRRF, Serbia, 2007
ONE BLOOD, ONE FLAME: the oral histories of the Yugloslav Gypsies before, during and after WWII, Vol. II, KRRF, Serbia, 2007
ONE BLOOD, ONE FLAME: the oral histories of the Yugloslav Gypsies before, during and after WWII, Vol. III, KRRF, Serbia, 2008
UNDEFEATED, Polansky poetry anthology 1991-2008, Multimedia Edizioni, Baronissi, Italy, 2009
DEADLY NEGLECT, reports on morally corrupt UN administrators & others, KRRF, Serbia, 2010
BOXING POEMS, Volo Press, Lonato, Italy, 2010
POESIE, Damocle Edizioni, Venice, Italy, 2011
MUSTALAIS TAKSI, Roma poems in Finnish, Savukeidas, Turku, Finland, 2011
LA MIA VITA CON GLI ZINGARI, Datanews, Rome, Italy, 2011
THE SILENCE OF THE VIOLINS, poetry about Italian Roma with Roberto Malini, II Foglio Letterario, Bergamo, Italy, 2012
THE HAND OF GOD, poetry about prostitutes with Roberto Nassi, II Foglio Letterario, Bergamo, Italy, 2012
KATURAKKI, boxing poems in Finnish, Savukeidas, Turku, Finland, 2012
CRY GYPSY, poetry about Germany’s forced deportation of Gypsies, Volo Press, Lonato, Italy, 2012
HOMELESS IN AMERICA, poems from the heartland, Left Curve Publications, Oakland, USA, 2013
SUMMER CAMP, memoir of a UN camp for Gypsies in 1999 Kosovo, Amazon.com, 2013
BOOK 7 OF DIAMANTINI COLLECTION, selected Polansky poems, II Girasole Edizioni, Italy, 2013
BOKSERSKE PESME, boxing poems in Serbian, Studentski Kulturni Centar, Kragujevac, Serbia 2014
BEZDOMNY PIES, boxing poems in Polish, Wydawnictwo Moon Dog, Warzsawa, Poland, 2014
ROCKETS, poems about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, Albeggi Edizioni, Rome, Italy, 2014
TABOR SMRTI LETY, 1992-1995 memoir of discovering a Czech death camp for Roma, Antifasisticka akce, Prague, CZ, 2014
CARMINE VOICES, Volo Press, Nish, Serbia, 2015
THE SEARCH FOR BONG WAY WONG and the Chinese Bullfighters, Amazon, USA, 2016
VICENTE HONG, The Artist, a Taurine Memoir, Amazon, USA, 2017
THE SECOND STORM, Amazon, USA, 2017
GYPSY GENEALOGY Through Their Traditions, Amazon, USA, 2017
WAITING TO DIE, Nerocromo,Qu.Bi, Vicenza, Italy 2019
- There are many journal and newspaper articles written by Paul Polansky published from 1963-2014
DOCUMENTARY FILMS (produced by Paul Polansky)
Gypsy Blood 2005
UN Death Camps in Kosovo 2009
DOCUMENTARY FILMS/NEW REPORTS MENTIONING POLANSKY’S WORK ON SEVERAL OCCASSIONS
Al Jazeera TV
Dateline Australia TV
Human Rights sub-committee Irish parliament (part 1) 2009– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-WCKRhbiHI
Human Rights sub-committee Irish parliament (part 2) 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aarM4rFECsM
Human Rights sub-committee Irish parliament (part 3) 2009– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVs5
Toxicity shock at UN camps 2009– http://youtu.be/Ckdeil-9ozU
BBC TV report on UN Roma camp on toxic wasteland in Kosovo 2009–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plrMEMVu6HQ
Roma gypsy children of Kosovo hold a deadly world record 2010– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzRYEDJZs0Q
Anti German Gypsy deportation poem read by Paul Polansky 2010– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcfYrqqzPUg
Pig farm over Roma Holocaust camp at Lety, Czech Republic 2011– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA3ExcqZBfE
My life with the Gypsies (English with Italian subtitles) 2012– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv6tCm9whnE
Around the Balkans in 20 Days (Part 4/5), 2012– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnHbk2drLkU
Burning of Roma camp in Milano (English with Italian subtitles) 2012– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W55vekcc7-Y
Poetry reading about Homeless in America 2013– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f8Rl8PkyEw
Boxing poems in Katowice, Poland 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dKHcCGKKRg
Interview on Roma/Gypsies, Katowice, Poland 2014– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAxoZbzVFNk
Press conference on presentation of Lety Death Camp book 2014– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLhQU6ZXOtI