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17. 1. 2020.
20-13 a1 MATEO MAXIMOFF ROĐEN NA DANAŠNJI DAN
MATEO MAXIMOFF ROĐEN NA DANAŠNJI DAN

Matéo Maximoff bio je francuski pisac i evangelistički svećenik, podrijetlom Rom Kalderaš. Rođen je 17. siječnja 1917. godine. Bio je jedan od prvih i najproduktivnijih romskih autora i imao je trajan književni utjecaj. Tijekom svog života objavio je jedanaest romana koji su prevedeni na četrnaest različitih jezika. Među najpoznatijima su: The Ursitory (1946), Cijena slobode (1955) i Svijet koji nije moj (1992) i još mnoge druge.

Autor: Chloe Gabbar

Matéo Maximoff rođen je u Barceloni u Španjolskoj. Otac mu je bio Rom Kalderaš iz Rusije koji je radio s metalom, a majka Manuš Romkinja iz Francuske. Tokom Španjolskog građanskog rata obitelj se preselila u Francusku. Maximoff je od malena bio vrlo talentiran. Govorio je tri jezika (jezik Roma Kalderaša, te francuski i španjolski jezik) a naučio je čitati i pisati iako nikad nije išao u školu. Maximoff je uglavnom bio samouk, ali ga je otac naučio osnovama čitanja, pisanja i brojanja. Otac ga je također učio mnogim vrijednim znanjima kao što su povijest Roma Kalderaša, govorio mu je o Rusiji i različitim romskim kulturama, a ta znanja su mu u velikoj mjeri pomoglo u njegovom kasnijem radu. Maximoff je bio adolescent kada mu je otac umro. Poslije očeve smrti Matéo je učio braću i sestre čitati i pisati. Iako je jezik Roma Kalderaša bio njegov prvi jezik, on je uglavnom pisao na francuskom. Tokom njegove književne karijere nije bilo puno prilika da se knjige objavljuju na jeziku Roma Kalderaša.

Međutim, Maximoff je objavio nekoliko priča o Romima Kalderašima u francuskom časopisu za romske studije, koji je izlazio pod imenom “Les Etudes Tsiganes”. Jedno od njegovih najznačajnijih djela bilo je prijevod Novog zavjeta na jezik Roma Kalderaša. To je kršćanstvo, a posebno bibliju, učinilo mnogo pristupačnijim zajednici i omogućilo im da bolje razumiju ovaj aspekt društva.

Tokom čitavog života Maximoff je svoju talenat za pisanja koristio kao obrambeni mehanizam, kako za sebe, tako i za svoju obitelj i svoj narod. U Drugom svjetskom ratu je zajedno sa svojom obitelji poslat u Lannemezan, koncentracijski logor u jugozapadnoj Francuskoj za nomadske zajednice među kojima su bili i pripadnici romske zajednice. Kako su uvjeti u logoru bili strašni, Maximoff je odlučio napisati pisma gradonačelniku Lannemezana u kojima opisuje vro loše i nehigijenske uvjete i zatražio je poboljšanje položaja svog naroda. Gradonačelnik je bio vrlo iznenađen saznavši da Maximoff zna čitati i pisati, te je odlučio da Maximoffa i njegovu obitelj preseli u bolnicu koja se nije koristila.

Nakon završetka rata, Maximoff je ponovo počeo pisati, ali ovog puta medijima. Stradanja romskog naroda tokom rata bila su nedovoljno zastupljena u medijima, a nakon završetka rata, šira javnost se i dalje prema Romima odnosila s nepovjerenjem. Maximoff je osjećao potrebu da privuče pažnju javnosti na taj problem.

Maximoff je pozitivno utjecao na poboljšanje slike o Romima u društvu i time ostvario svoju misiju. Htio je pokazati ljudima kakav je stvarni život Roma i pomoći široj javnosti da bolje razumije romski narod i kulturu. Želio je biti ambasador romske kulture.

Neposredno nakon Drugog svjetskog rata, 1946. godine, objavljen je njegov prvi roman The Ursitory. Bio je to početak prenošenja jednog dijela romske kulture pisanim putem, a ne usmenom predajom i tako je učinili dostupnijom ljudima izvan zajednice. Do tada nije bilo mnogo istaknutih romskih pisaca, pa je objavljivanje ove knjige postavilo temelje za moguće stvaranje romske književnosti.

Međutim, Maximoff se nije ograničio samo na riječi već je napravio i mnogo fotografija koje je uključio u svoje romane, a objavio je i etnografsku knjigu fotografija „Les Gens du Voyage“, što u prijevodu znači narod putnika. Etnografija je opis ljudi i njihove kulture, njihovih običaji i tradicije. Također je želio omogućiti budućim generacijama Roma da bolje razumiju svoju povijest i kulturnu baštinu, zato je u svom malom domu u pariškom predgrađu Romainville prikupio i arhivirao mnoge predmete, knjige pa čak i notne zapise.

Maximoff je 1961. godine upoznao pentekostnu crkvu, jedan od oblika evanđeoskog kršćanstva. Dvije godine kasnije postao je svećenik, odnosno pastor u evanđeoskoj pentekosnoj crkvi. To je doprinijelo da u drugoj polovici svog života postane ugledna osoba kako unutar tako i izvan svoje zajednice. Ne samo da je važna osoba Međunarodne unije Roma, već je bio i jedan od najvažnijih prevoditelja na prvom Međunarodnom kongresu Roma u Londonu, 1971. godine.

Francuskom titulom Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, to jest titulom Viteza reda umjetnosti i pisanja nagrađen je 1985. godine. Ovo imenovanje osmislio je francuski ministar kulture kako bi nagradio sve one koji su značajno doprinijeli kulturi u području umjetnosti i književnosti. Primanjem ove nagrade napravljen je veliki korak ka tome da romska kultura bude prihvaćena kao dio raznolike kulture Francuske.

Matéo Maximoff umro je 24. studenog 1999. godine. Iza sebe je ostavio baštinu, a jedan od primjera je Multimedijska knjižnica Matéo Maximoff, koja se nalazi u Parizu, a njegovo ime dobila je 2014. godine.

 

 

Born on the 17th January 1917, Matéo Maximoff was a French writer and Evangelical pastor of Kalderash Romani descent. He was one of the first and most productive Roma authors, and had a lasting literary influence. During his life, he published 11 novels which were translated into 14 different languages, some of the most well-known include The Ursitory (1946), The Price of Freedom (1955) and The World that isn’t mine (1992) among many others.

 

Matéo Maximoff was born in Barcelona, Spain: his father was a Kalderash Romani metal-worker from Russia and his mother a Manouche Romani from France. The family moved to France during the Spanish civil war. From a young age, Maximoff was very talented: he spoke three languages (Kalderash Romani, French and Spanish) and learnt to read and write despite never having been to school. Maximoff was mainly self-taught, but it was his father who taught him the basics of reading, writing and counting. His father also taught him a lot of valuable knowledge about Kalderash Romani history, Russia and different Roma cultures, which helped him greatly in his later work. When his father died during Maximoff’s adolescence, he then taught his siblings to read and write. Despite Kalderash Romani being his first language, he mainly wrote in French, the opportunities to have works published in the Kalderash language being quite limited during his literary career.

He did however publish some stories in Kalderash Romani in the French magazine of Roma studies, “Les Etudes Tsiganes”. One of his most prominent pieces of work was also a translation of the New Testament of the Bible into Kalderash Romani language. This made Christianity much more accessible to his community, and therefore enabled them to better understand this aspect of society.

During his whole life, Maximoff used his ability to write as a defence mechanism for himself, but especially for his family and his people. During the Second World War, he was, along with his family, sent to Lannemezan, a concentration camp in South-West France for nomadic communities, among which people belonging to the Roma community. The conditions of the camp were terrible, and Maximoff decided to write letters to the mayor of the town of Lannemezan, describing the difficult and unsanitary conditions and asking for a better situation of his community. Very surprised he could read and write, the mayor eventually decided to relocate Maximoff and his family to an unused hospital.

After the end of the war, Maximoff started writing again, this time to the press. The suffering of the Roma people during the war was being underrepresented in the media and, despite the war being over, the Roma were still treated with an air of suspicion by the general public: he felt the need to bring the general public’s attention to this.

Maximoff made it his life mission to positively influence the portrayal of the Roma people in society, wanting to show people what the real life of the Roma is like and to help the general public better understand the Roma people and culture. He wanted to be considered an ambassador of this culture.

In 1946, just after the end of the Second World War, his first novel, The Ursitory was published. It was one of the first times that aspects of the Roma culture were transmitted in writing rather than orally, and therefore making it more accessible to people outside the community. He was one of the first Roma writers, so the release of this book laid the foundations for the possible creation of a Roma literature.

He didn’t however limit himself to words, he also took a lot of photos: he integrated them to his novels but also published an ethnographic photo book, Les Gens du Voyage (The Travelling People). An ethnography is a description of people and their culture, for example their customs and traditions. He also wanted to enable future generations of the Roma community to better understand their history and cultural heritage, this is why, in his small home in the Parisian suburb of Romainville, he collected and archived many objects, books and even sheets of music.

In 1961, Maximoff was introduced to Pentecostalism, a form of Evangelical Christianity. Two years later he became a pastor. This contributed to him becoming a much respected figure in the latter half of his life, both inside and outside of his community. As well as being an important figure of the International Romani Union, in 1971 he served as one of the most important translators at the first International Roma Congress in London.

In 1985, he was awarded the French title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters). This is a designation made by the French minister of culture to reward those who have bought significant contributions to the fields of the arts and of literature. It is a great honour, awarded to only a small amount of people each year. By receiving this award, a great step is made towards Roma culture being accepted as a part of the diverse culture of France.

Matéo Maximoff died on the 24th November 1999, but he left behind a heritage. A great example of this is the Matéo Maximoff Multimedia Library, named in 2014, which can be found in Paris.