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Program 10

The Last Free People

Yeniche in Switzerland

Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7 p.m. 

„Die letzten freien Menschen“
D: Oliver M. Meyer, CH 1991, 90 min

The film, honored with the Zürcher Film Prize, documents the systematic tearing apart of Yeniche families by the Pro-Juventute “Hilfswerk für die Kinder der Landstrasse (Relief Organization for Children on the Road)” from 1926 to 1972. Hundreds of Yeniche children were taken from their families and stuck into foster families, youth detention centers, or even in prisons and psychiatric institutes. Those in charge did not even hold back from forced sterilization and castration. This meant a deep incision in the social structures of the Yeniche people in Switzerland. Meyer’s film tells their story and also shows the everyday life of the travelers in the early 1990s. Meanwhile a “historical document,” the film contributed to the recognition of the travelers (“Fahrende”) as a national minority in 1998. At the time, researchers came to the conclusion that Pro Juventute “heavily discriminated against people belonging to a minority, in pursuit of the goal of destroying their way of life.”

The activists Uschi Waser (Foundation "Naschet Yenische") and Venanz Nobel (Association "Schäft qwant") as well as the director Oliver M. Meyer will be present at the screening.