SK, CZ

In production

How I Became a Partisan

Ako som sa stala partizánkou

The Second World War still hides numerous stories, some of which will clearly remain a secret forever. One such mosaic of memories are the fates of the Roma partisans in the former Czechoslovakia. Film director Vera Lacková, who is also the great-grandchild of one of these forgotten fighters, learnt about her great-grandfather’s deeds when she was a small child and her grandmother would tell her fairy tales about his adventures.
While uncovering her family’s history, Vera finds other Roma partisans. In addition to her great-grandfather Ján, the film tells the stories of four other people. Their dramatic stories are far from the sort one tells to small children. Imprisonment in concentration camps, the murder of family members, bloody battles during the liberation of Slovakia, partisan activity, cooperation with the American secret service, as well as what happened after the war – all this we follow through interviews with their descendants and those who remember, or with the help of documents from the archives. Vera moves from the archives to Slovak villages and mountains and to the Czech Republic, where some descendants live. Then she returns to the archives to confirm their testimony.
During her search she comes up against deep-rooted prejudice, indifference and hatred towards the Roma community, both in the memories of those she interviews and during her search in the present. This fact is reflected in the sad finding that most of the partisans mentioned do not even have a gravestone with their name. Vera decides to confront these wrongs, and to erect a monument to her murdered family in front of the forest where they were executed. Will she find understanding among the local villagers, or will indifference reign yet again?
The author’s motivation is to demolish the long-held stereotype of Roma as mere victims of Nazism. We are shown Roma whose deeds go beyond the history of a minority ethnic group and deservedly form part of European history.
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