2 August 2020

Edward Dębicki

Holocaust survivor

Commemoration speech on the occasion of 2 August 2020, Holocaust Memorial Day for Sinti and Roma

Dear guests, dear fellow countrymen!

My name is Edward Dębicki. Despite my 85 years, the memory of the tragedy that occured in my life and in the lives of my compatriots is still vivid and does not let me forget. Therefore, I appeal to the witnesses of these Nazi atrocities.

Don’t let the memory of this tragedy fade away, don’t let it be concealed and the tragedy diminished! The truth of the Holocaust is only in us, the Witnesses of human destruction, and only we can give it an authentic image.

Forward this black image onto the young generation, which has to be vigilant and react to the slightest manifestation of racism so that it does never turn into a huge tragedy again.

God, protect the whole world!


Edward Dębicki was born in Kalush (now western Ukraine), 4 March 1935. He is a writer, accordionist and composer. He spent his childhood in a Roma group travelling through Podolia, Volhynia and the area around Vilnius. After the war, he stayed in western Poland. He attended the accordion class at the Gorzów Music School, which he finished in 1953. In 1955, he founded the world famous music theatre “Terno” and in 2002 the Stowarzyszenie Twórców i Przyjaciół Kultury Cygańskiej im. B. Wajs-Papuszy (‘Bronisława-Wajs Society of the Creators and Friends of Gypsy Culture’).

Dębicki has composed almost 200 songs, including “Cygański wóz” (‘Gypsy Wagon’) following the words of Jerzy Ficowski and “Idź swoją drogą” (‘Go your way’), which won the Grand Prix at the Polish Song Festival in Opole in 1995. Dębicki composed the music for films by Władysław Ślesicki, Jan Łomnicki and Ryszard Filipski. He is the author of the poetry collection “Pod gołym niebem” (‘Under the Open Sky’, 1993) and two volumes of memoirs: “Ptak Umarlych” (‘Bird of the Dead’, 2004) and “Wczorajszy ogień” (‘Yesterday’s Fire’, 2012).

He is the initiator and artistic director of “Romanes Dyvesa” – an international meeting of Roma ensembles, which has been held in Gorzów Wielkopolski since 1989. Dębicki has been awarded, among others, the Polonia Restituta Order and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal for Cultural Merits.

Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors

Christian Pfeil

Holocaust survivor – United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony January 26, 2024

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