Reunited after fifty years - Iveta Durdonova remembers an extraordinary conference

15-10-2002

Iveta Durdonova is a young journalist from Prague. She joined Czech Radio four years ago as an editor and producer in the department broadcasting for and about the Czech Republic's Roma minority. She is one of only a handful of Romany journalists working in this country's mainstream media. In the course of her work Iveta has witnessed a great deal, but none of her experiences have had quite the same impact as a conference that she was sent to cover just a few months after she started at the radio. Here she recounts that memory.

"Three-and-a-half years ago I was invited with a colleague to a conference about people who had survived the war - children of under 8 who'd been in the concentration camps. At that conference a wonderful thing happened. It was like this. We were all sitting there in the hall and the conference chairman said that two sisters were being reunited today for the first time in over fifty years. The war had torn them apart and now they were meeting again after all that time. They'd been separated as little children and as old ladies, they were coming together again. At that moment everyone stood up and began to clap and cry. It was something so strong and overwhelming that everyone in the room shared that feeling. The two women ran to each other from opposite ends of the hall, they embraced and kissed each other with tears pouring down their cheeks. I had this wonderful feeling that love between people and between brothers or sisters hasn't died out. These days people don't seem to like each other very much. Nobody seems to care about family, and here is was marvellous - for all those years those two sisters had never lost hope that they'd find each other again, even when they grew old."

15-10-2002