Elżbieta Kasprzak (Szoma)

* 1980

  • “I used to work here as Romany assistant a lot, I must say, because I simply love working with children. And I must say I started to apply for different programs. I used to go with Roxana on trips. There was such a program that we encouraged children to learn. And if a child learned well he was awarded with such a trip. We used to participate in such a program very often, and children were happy. (…) Then, I enrolled to different Romany common rooms. I was here at the Triangle (a kind of no-go area), there is such a common room there, but I have forgotten what it is called…near Kniaziewicza street opposite Municipal Social Welfare Centre there was also such a common room there … as if an integration one. There were children also Romany children but not only. Frankly speaking, the Romany children were calmer than the Polish children who were really hyper active… but you take it from home, from home. Later on, once I got to know their stories I felt sorry for them (…) I used to work for 2 years [as an assistant at school] I helped the Romany children to understand the problems, explain to them. I also taught how to read and write because for some girls it was hard to read. So I took them to supportive classes, to teach them how to write and that. It was as if they were learning to read from scratch. Because they were at home from birth and their basic language was Romany. Now parents know that a child has to know something because otherwise he will not communicate at school. Here, there is a family in which neither the mother went to school, nor the grandmother, so it was difficult to convince them. But she enjoyed it that I came, took the children and helped. During the lesson, but after the lesson she used to call me to help her with writing some motion or something. Because she could neither read nor write. And I was willing to go and help her even after hours. Frankly speaking… I think that not only the Romany children but children in general, regardless of their origin… and now even Ukrainian children or from other states who come here. Here there is one Ukrainian girl. So as I say I had contact with children. It is a pity I gave it up. But I did not leave the school because of children. I had to such was my choice. Also earnings and I wanted something else. They also could not work according to my principles and that is why I left… yes… Now there is somebody else, the President’s daughter Mania. I miss them, because it is not that I went there to work only. They were like a family for me. They used to call me “Auntieeeee” through the school”

  • There was a Romany woman once here who could foretell absolutely everything for you. Oh my God! She was so that she simply foretold me everything. She foretold me my future and told me in advance not to be with him. She did not know him but told me “you will cry”… and that. I laughed at that and said, I was 12 or 13 then, “OK Auntie!” but she said “But give me a coin or something and may be it will change” (…) You have to pay because if you do not pay it may be worse. The card may still change. And I thought then, and now I say “Dear God” why I haven’t listened to her? She told me everything I was in a state of shock… I told myself, auntie made it all up, because she knows me. She thought may be I will be with this man or that man. No, no I will go to my cousin, (…) she did not have a contact here with her, she does not know her so I will come here with her and we will see”. I went to fetch her and we arrived here. I told my cousin to buy her coffee or cigarettes to have something in exchange for it. So I am telling her: “so Auntie I have come with a cousin foretell her the future. You hardly ever see her because she comes here only to grandmother sometimes”. I knew in advance that she will not tell her anything because she does know her. She told her everything. She told her, because she was going with some Pole and they were going to get married and everything was already arranged. And she says: “You won’t be with him. You will be with somebody else. You will have twins”. She stared to laugh at that and said ”it is probably impossible”!. She told her everything… “She talks rubbish and you took me to such a fortune teller!” But later it all came true… She had twins and separated with him. She is with somebody else and it was as she[the fortune teller] told her “He will have dark complexion he will not be of Polish origin”. She says: “Yes! Listen to what she is telling me, what rubbish” “Twins?!” Girl, I told you before I do not want children”, and it came true. Later when she got pregnant there was a gypsy woman near her who did not foretell the future from hands or cards, she only looked into the eyes. Jesus. It was so, that when she looked at me I thought she saw me through. One day we were walking and she told me “You are already pregnant and you will have a daughter first” and she did not know she was pregnant. Everything is true. When she gave birth to the twins and sat down and I told her “Do you remember he the fortune teller in Brochów what she told you?” she says: “Don’t even tell me. If only I had known it was true!”. So, it is so. They have something in them, like her or the one who looks in the eyes, she could even tell you if you are ill and what you are ill with! When my aunt visited her she told her everything about her problems with ulcers, everything. Dear God! It is terrifying to go to her in case she tells you something! (…) It seems to me that she was born with such a gift.”

  • “My surname is Kasprzyk, but I am really from Szoma family. (…) Because I had it like that, when I was looking for a job:”Good morning, I am calling in reference to the job” “Hmm” Please give me your details” “Elżbieta Szoma”, “All right we will call you”. I say: “I haven’t given you my phone number”. “Very well we will call you”. It was very often so, when I came and said “Szoma”, “In that case thank you very much”, “We will contact you”. Very often the refusal was in advance just because of Szoma. I left, I had to leave but for me it was such a stupidity, because of the telephone, just because of the telephone… because of Szoma?… Yes… So I changed the surname for myself and for my daughter into Kasprzak. It was the maiden name of my cousin. I liked it so much. And so Kasprzak. Once the Kasprzaks were big! Once they were very famous recorders. Kasprzak was a kind of a surname, a superior surname!”

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    Wrocław, 08.07.2017

    délka: 01:14:23
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I used to sneak out to play ball. Grandmother: „ Don’t bring a shame on me, who has heard of a girl playing ball” (…) It is a thing a girl should not do, that’s for boys only.(…). She also thought that when I have a husband I should only wear a skirt all the time. But in spite of that, I wear trousers. I think she would rebuke me now for sure!”

Elżbieta Kasprzak (Szoma)
Elżbieta Kasprzak (Szoma)
zdroj: Zrobione w dniu wywiadu

Elżbieta Kasprzak, family name Szoma was born on 19 January 1980 in Wrocław and is ¼ Romany. He mother renounced her and her father died. She was brought up by her grandparents on her father‘s side. Her grandfather was a Romany and came from the Galician Romanies. The grandmother met the grandfather already before the war. They both lived in the region of Bieszczady. The were resettled to Wrocław. Her grandmother soaked up the Romany tradition and tried to bring Elżbieta up both in the Romany as well as Polish tradition. At the beginning they used to live in Komuny Paryskiej street in Wrocław. When Elżbieta was 12 they moved to Brochów to be close to the family of her grandfather. They were accepted by the local Romany people. Elżbieta learned the Romany language, however, she does not use it. Elżbieta finished primary school in Brochów, she was very fond of mathematics and physical education. She continued education in an economic secondary school. After final exams she began a course in computer graphics. At that time she was also in a relationship with Gracjan Paczkowski, who comes from a traditional Romany family. When she got pregnant Gracjan gave her an ultimatum: the school or the relationship. After giving up the community college they both leave for Scotland to work. There, their daughter Chanell is born. They broke up due to the differences in following the Romany tradition. Gracjan wanted a more submissive and traditional wife. Elżbieta came back to Wrocław to her grandmother. Soon afterwards her grandmother dies and Elżbieta becomes a single mother. She changes the surname for herself and her daughter into Kasprzak because with her Romany surname „Szoma“ she has problems with finding a job. She takes on a job in hospital, despite a clear prohibition of that in the Romany law. She gives it up because it is not well-thought of in the Romany community.She does a course of holiday camp supervisor and begins work in an integrative common room for Romany children, and then becomes a Romany assistant in a primary school in Brochów. Then, she works in a Romany common room in Brochów. At present she is working in an oriental restaurant as a waitress and at a hotel as a receptionist. She is not in touch with Gracjan, however, his parents help her in the upbringing of Chanel. She still lives in Brochów with her 12-year-old daughter, in a flat which was left after her grandparents. For most of her life she has been living among the Romany people and she tries to live in the Romany tradition, but it is very difficult for her to determine whether she is more Polish or Romany.