| Treasury

The Leader - Romance Theater

The Leader


The Romance theatre company created the performance in memory of the Roma victims of the Second World War. The Leader does not only tell about the Roma and is not exclusively for the Roma. The play depicts the inner life of people and reflects on the battle of good and bad powers. There are positive stories about feelings, right actions, self-sacrifice, since love and sympathy can serve as a refuge in the most difficult times, too.
"What was it like before? Two people fighting, and the third one lives his life. That’s how we Gypsies used to live, on the sidelines. It won’t be like that anymore. We have to share in other people’s sorrows. In that way, our problems will also be shared by others. And I feel that that time is coming."


Writer, Director: Igor Krikunov
Performer:Victoria Yurkevich, Lyudmila Krikunova, Vadim Diaz, Marina Kravchuk,
Mikhail Gerasimchuk, Zhanna Krykunova, Natalia Zolotareva
Music:Igor Krikunov
Sound Edit:Gennady Bedratiy
Costume Design: Svetlana Butko
Lighting Design:Rostislav Humetsky
Ballet Master:Ludmilla Glushko
Translation (English, Hungarian):Péter Krasztev
Premiered:2020, IV. International Roma Heroes Festival, Budapest, Hungary (online performance)



The play The Leader is based on the novel entitled Caravan written by Zaharia Stancu and it shows the challenges a Roma community faced during World War II in Romania and Ukraine. The South-Western part of Ukraine was occupied by Romania in 1941. The area between the Dniester and the Bug River was constituted the so-called Transnistria Governorate. The Antonescu Regime started to deport Roma from Romania and Bessarabia to Transnistria in 1942. The deportation waves sent nearly 25,000 people across the Dniester River – close to 12% of the total Romanian Roma population. In the summer of 1942, the so-called “nomadic” Roma groups were subjected to deportation proceedings, but later the deportation order was extended also to the ones deemed ‘asocial’. Many Roma rode on their own horses and in wagons, which were also confiscated from them according to the order of Georghe Alexianu, governor of Transnistria. In Transnistria they were obliged to paid labor officially but in fact, after being deprived of their possessions, they were left alone with no food, clothes, medicines, or any other essentials. In the following years thousands of Roma people died during the deportation, and only around 14,000 out of the deported 25,000 survived. Approximately 36,000 Roma fell victims to Antonescu’s regime.

In Eastern Europe other genocides were realized by local regimes and different national governments, too. These mass murders were not committed directly by the German Nazis, but other European nations and governments.

Read More

Focus scene


In case you would like to request availability to the full play and/or the full video about the performance, write an email to info@romaheroes.org and describe the aim of your request!

photo credits

All rights reserved

 1: ©Romance Theater

2: ©Romance Theater

3: ©Romance Theater

4: ©Romance Theater

5: ©Romance Theater