Skinheads burn down family home in Bytom, Poland

05 January 1999

The Advisory and Information Center of Roma in Łódz (Centrum Doradztwa i Informacji dla Romów w Łódzi) reported to the ERRC that on September 8, 1998, at 10pm, a man connected with the skinheads threw a bottle of gas through the window of the house of a Roma family in Bytom, south-west Poland. The thirteen year old daughter of the family, Paloma Cerveniak was sleeping by the window and was badly burnt. She was taken to the local children's hospital in a critical condition. The surgeon on duty Dr Jeruzka confirmed the urgent need to operate but a lack of finance prevented this. The family obtained money from the Boston-based Dr Allen Keller, the Batory Foundation in Poland and the pharmaceuticals firm Tricomed in Łódz, and the girl was sent to Warsaw for treatment. The Advisory and Information Center of Roma in Łódz protested to various international organisations and publicised the case in the press. In the opinion of Mr Kakol, Head of the Investigation Division of the local police, the attack was not racially motivated. The police arrested the man involved. The mayor of Bytom provided the family with a new flat and they are living there now with their daughter, who has been released from hospital and is well. (Advisory and Information Center of Roma in Łódz, Physicians for Human Rights)


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