Stefan Racovitza
Caminul Romanesc

Mr. Racovitza, you undertook in 1992 the editing work of the Romanian language magazine „Caminul Romanesc, foaia de legatura a romanilor din Elvetia“ (“Romanian Home, connecting folio for Romanians in Switzerland”). Since March 2000 you publish it also on line. How do you evaluate now, after 13 years, your work for this magazine? What were your positive experiences? And negative?

Besides an enormous work volume, editing „Caminul romanesc“ allowed my return to journalism after many years. One cannot write about the current situation in Romania without knowing what is going on in this country. Therefore I was obliged to be up to date with events in the country. This became my second nature, my first daily concern was to read the Romanian newspapers on line. This is both negative because it needs time and positive.

Who is part of the editing team? How do you choose the authors of the articles you publish?

Unfortunately, there is only me in the editing team. Everything takes shape in the tiny 10-m2 room in my apartment, which is at the same time library, office, editing space, archive and everything else. I used to have two colleagues, who helped me a lot. I also have lots of collaborators. Some provide more or less permanent texts, others only occasionally. There are different ways to choose them: some I inherited with the magazine, others kept on changing. There are persons I ask to write and others come by themselves. I receive lots of materials; many of them cannot be published.

What kind of feedback do you have from your readers? Where are they coming from? Is this magazine a real „connecting folio“?

I do not know if the magazine is a true connecting publication. This was my wish. Sometimes I think it is. I do not have any statistical data or other means to check the exact situation. Some echoes, subscriptions, readers’ letters make me think that I am quite close to what I wanted to achieve.

Of course, our issue of 650 to 1500 copies remains somewhat confidential. The mailing list covers Western Europe, Romania, Moldova, United States, Canada, Mexico and some other countries.

In September last year (2004) a monument was inaugurate in the yard of the Romanian church in Chene-Bourg. This monument was raised to the memory of the communist victims in Romania „Harta Gulagului Romanesc” (“The Map of the Romanian Gulag”). Were you involved in this project? Who initiated it? Who provided the financing? How were selected the three students who made it? Was there any echo about this monument outside the Romanian community (in Geneva there was January 2005 an exhibition about the Soviet Gulag which lasted a few months)? What other projects do you have in the future?

Of course I was involved in the making of the Romanian Gulag Map, together with all the committee members of the „Romanian Community in Switzerland“. Some old former political prisoners such as Dumitru Ionescu, Georges Mazilu and others took the idea of another former prisoner, Mr. Ion Ganea-Arges. They have done the main work for this initiative. Without their determination to bring this idea into being, the monument would have never been done. Financing was not a problem. Everything has been achieved on a volunteer basis as all accomplishments of our Community so far, starting with the building the wood church and the magazine „Caminul romanesc“. A contest was published, four projects were presented. A specially appointed commission selected the project of the three young Romanian architecture students. I do not exactly know how the media covered this event but I do know that the Map in Geneva is acknowledged and will be a part in a circuit of such kind of monuments. I know nothing about other similar initiatives.

Could you tell us something about the „Romanian Community in Switzerland“? When was it founded? What kind of activities does it develop? Who could be a member?

As far as I know, this Community has been founded in 1980, maybe a bit earlier. The founder was Mr. Ion Brosteanu. He also founded the magazine „Caminul romanesc“. The first issue came out in April 1982. The Community was created as an association to raise funds for building a Christian orthodox church for Romanians living in Geneva. The money were raised, the church was built and now the purpose of the Community is the good functioning of the parish and maintaining this wood church - a very beautiful architectural monument of wood in Canton Geneva.

The Community organises different events such as the Community Festivity, an occasion for Romanians in the area to get together. After a two-year break, this tradition will be resumed this year since the hall of Chene-Bougeries is available again. Anyone who agrees and is willing to contribute to the purposes of the Statute of Regulation of the Community is free to be a member of it.

Your articles indicate that you are up to date with the current social and political events in Romania. Which are your impressions regarding the elections in 2004 in Romania?

As any change of power this has aroused lots of hopes. Without being too optimistic, I think that this new team, in spite of its shortcomings (they are still Romanians, they have all lived in Romania) will end the incredible corruption created and maintained by Iliescu, Nastase and their team. If this will be as it should or just as it could remains to be seen. Anyway, I think it will be better.

Do you publish outside „Caminului romanesc“? Maybe for the Swiss media some of your articles could represent a source of information regarding the past and present situation of Romania. Looking out to the EU integration such information would be needed .Did you do something in this direction? Did you think about publishing in the Swiss media?

I had substantial collaborations outside „Caminului romanesc“, mostly in Romanian publications outside Romania. I published sporadically in the Swiss press. But since my political convictions are not on the left side, my access to the Swiss press is limited. There is a kind of political militant attitude, almost like a sect in the Swiss press, and the French one too, which exasperates me. Apart from some few exceptions, the western journalist is mostly uninformed, without culture, has a sect member attitude, is bias and anti-American by definition, in other words undesirable. At least for me. That is why I am not interested to address myself to the Swiss newspapers.

Thank you.

Alina Mondini, Zürich

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