If Hitler was alive, I would be sent to the gas chamber first, says Jewish-Roma journalist

Gerhard Hadi was harassed by teachers in school and attacked by neo-Nazis in Slovakia. But he nevertheless became a successful journalist in Czechia

Sofija Kordic
Sofija Kordic NewsMavens, Czechia
If Hitler was alive, I would be sent to the gas chamber first, says Jewish-Roma journalist - NewsMavens
Gerhard Hadi, Facebook

Why this story matters:

Thirty-five year-old Gerhard Hadi grew up in the Slovakian city of Košice at a time when the neo-Nazi movement was flourishing, and this had a significant impact on his Roma-Jewish family. They eventually moved to Germany, but returned after a few years. In Slovakia, Hadi was harassed at school by both schoolmates and teachers. 

Hadi's situation improved when the school management allowed him to establish a school radio station. His schoolmates started to behave differently towards him and he decided to become a professional news anchor. When he started applying for jobs he was often rejected, sometimes with implications that a Roma cannot be a news presenter.

Hadi then moved to Czechia and worked his way up the career ladder. First he worked as a manual laborer, but looked for openings in journalism in his spare time.

Today, he works for the Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS, the state-owned public television and radio broadcaster) and as a correspondent and editor for the very popular Czech program “Roma Word”, among other media.

Details from the story:

  • Gerhard Hadi is half Roma, half Jewish and gay. 
  • Hadi’s mother comes from an educated Roma family. His grandmother was a conservatory professor, and his grandfather was a high-ranking politician who was dealt with Roma policy under communism. Hadi’s father is a musician and a manual laborer.
  • As a child Gerhard was not only attacked by neo-Nazis but also by Roma children for having Slovak friends.
  • Hadi also worked in Brussels for ERIAC (the European Roma Institute for Art and Culture).
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