A letter from Paul Polansky

photo: Paul Polansky

Paul Polansky, born in Mason City, Iowa in 1942 as a son of german and czech parents is an american author and activist working for the rights of the Roma. He left the USA as a protest against the Vietnam War and settled in Europe. He published more than 25 books, produced a documentary film about the camps of Osterode and Cesmin Lug, is head of the Kosovo Roma Refugee Foundation (KRRF) and head of mission for the Society for Threatened Peoples (Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Völker) in Kosovo and Serbia. In 2004 he received the human rights award of the city of Weimar. When we started our correspondence, he sent me the following letter:

Hi Florian,

I'd be happy to do anything that would draw attention to the tragic plight of the Roma in the former UN camps in north Mitrovica, now administered by the Kosovo govt thru KAAD.

Jacky Buzoli the only Rom on the KAAD staff has been fired for letting people know the truth about the camps...about his Romani people dying of lead poisoning.

My NGOs (KMEG and GFBV) keep calling for evacuation from the toxic camps and medical treatment but the UN and now the Kosovo govt refuse to evacuate the people. Roma who volunteered to return in 2006 to their original neighborhood in south Mitrovica if they were finally treated for lead poisoning have not been treated. One three day old baby born with a deformed brain and damaged kidneys from lead poisoning recently died in the south mahala, mainly because his mother was never treated for lead poisoning. We have hundreds of children suffering organ damage in the camps but KAAD/the Kosovo govt refuse to evacuate them from the souce of poisoning.

In 2005 Elizabeth Morphew visited all the families in the camps telling them they didnt have lead poisoning but were sick from the NATO bombing. Hana Klimesova refuses to talk to me for fear of losing her job.

You're seeking donations for what? To bury the Roma dying in the camps of lead poisoning? So far 82 have died. No UN official, no KAAD staff have ever attended one funeral.

Have you read my book UN-Leaded Blood? You can find it on my web page. It was written in 2005. Nothing has changed since its publication except the number of deaths have gone from 27 to 82.

The Kosovo govt now has a five year plan to resettle the Roma from the camps. In five years we wont have any Roma, at least no children, left.




  1. Hi Polanski,

    We respect your great efforts to advocate for Roma rights and fights against lead pollution in toxic camps in Mitrovica north.