BIOGRAPHY
Veijo Baltzar, a leading and a world-known Finnish Roma author, was born in 1942 near Kuopio in middle Finland. His roots were strongly in Rautalampi, an old parish, where his ancestors had arrived in the 15th century. Veijo Baltzar is proud of his ethnicity and identity. He has lived in a close connection with the majority through his human relationships and work. Strong Roma identity and deep knowledge on the culture of the majority have opened strong and critical views on both worlds.
 

Arvid, Veijo and Armas Baltzar and the dog Rokko.

Veijo Baltzar's father was a horseman, mother a beggar and a craftswoman. He spent his childhood in wagons with his parents, six brothers and four sisters. The nights were spent under the stars, in saunas and sheds. The days they wandered. The food was obtained by begging or by working for farmhouses. Hunger, coldness, external persecution and fear were familiar visitors, like they have been for the Roma for hundreds of years when they traveled as a minority in every country. Still life itself, great emotions, safety and love were strongly present in the family. In between strong human relationships the children learnt their moral and identity, where from all the conventions naturally appear. The family had collective responsibility for its honour, it supervised its members and the siblings held each other in order. Blood revenge was a guarantee for the safety of the community when police or judicial system had no concrete position.

 

Fourteen-year-old Veijo Baltzar left his family and joined one caravan. He wanted to find real life from Northern-Finland: Kainuu, Kuhmo and Suomussalmi. The big Roma caravan roamed through rugged fir forests, wolves howled, drunken log-workers chased them and horses got stuck in the deep snow. For nights they camped under the trees in huts made of fir branches. During the wandering in north Baltzar found out what it really meant to be a Gypsy. Having spent a year in the north, Baltzar returned back to his family. The family with its thirteen members moved to a little red cottage near a railway. In those days he went to the local village school, where he soon though ran away. That was all the education Baltzar got, the rest has been thought by life.

Baltzar's parents were highly respected inside the Roma society. His father was a patriarch, a philosopher who could not read. Only traditions, culture and the civilisation of soul existed to him. His mother was a cultivated person, who was interested in classical literature. She taught her children to read when they were very young and led them to the world of literature. She even arranged literary meetings with her friend Liisa Peura, the richest woman in Kuopio. Already as a child, Veijo Baltzar attended to these meetings and got strongly influenced by them.

Baltzar's family members in front of the court of Haminalahti  in the late 1950s. 

"Veijo Baltzar is a great Finnish and European cultural figure. In addition to his diverse literal and artistic achievements, he is a dynamic cultural and social activist. Baltzar is one of the few Finnish personalities, who possess capacity in European cultural life, especially as the promoter of multiculturality."

Mr. Paavo Lipponen / Former Prime Minister of Finland 

 
CURRICULUM VITAE
Novels

The Burning Road (Polttava Tie)   

The Swedish translation  

The Engagement of Blood (Verikihlat)  

Mari  

The Crystal Ball of Black Sarah  

Käärmeenkäräjäkivi  

The Black Tango (Musta Tango)  

Phuro  

In Love & War (Sodassa ja Rakkaudessa) 

|  Tammi Publishers  

|  Brännande Väg published 

|  Tammi Publishers  

|  Tammi Publishers  

|  Tammi Publishers Novel for children  

|  Tammi Publishers  

|  Tammi Publishers 

|  Tammi Publishers  

|  Tammi Publishers

|  1968 

|  1969  

|  1969 

|  1970

|  1978

|  1988

|  1990

|  2000

|  2008

 LITERARY PRODUCTION 
Philosophy
&
Scientific Work

Towards Experiential Philosophy  

The English translation  

|  Ntamo Publishers  

|  Translation by Jüri Kokkonen  

|  2012/2014​

|  2014

TV & Listening 
Program Manuscripts

The Ballad of the Gypsies (Mustalaisballadi) 

The Red Garden (Punainen Puutarha)  

The Crystal Ball of Black Sarah  

Djengiba  

|  TV  |  Finland   

|  Finland & Dublin 

|  Listening program on radio  |  Sweden  

|  Listening program on radio  |  Finland 

|  1974​

|  1979

|  1980

|  1998

Movie Manuscripts

The Engagement of Blood (Verikihlat)  

The King of Töpäri (Töpärin Kingi) 

Whose Son? (Kenen Poika)  

|  with Illka Vanne  

|  with Armas Baltzar & Ilkka Vanne 

|  written and directed by Veijo Balzar 

|  1979​

|  1991​

|  1997

Librettos

Karma

Orli

The Celebration of Blood (Veren Juhlat) 

|   1994  

|   1996

|   1999

Poetry

The Seven-String Quitar  

|  Ntamo Publishers 

|  Poem collection 1968-2014

Other literary
works

Vappu. Short story on Uma Aaltonen’s anthology The Horse and I.

 

Numerous short stories, pamphlets, poems, etc. Published in different newspapers and journals.

Excerpt from the novel The Engagement of Blood pp. 105-109. The World from Home. Book of Encounters. Anthology of Finnish authors.

|   1978

|   2016

|  Otava Publishers

Lecti Book Studio

 
Theater

The Black Scourge (Musta Ruoska)  

The Hungry Cranes (Nälkäkurjet)

The Crystal Ball of Black Sarah  

I'll Forge Stone to Be a Horse (Taon Kivestä Hevosen

Iron Nights (Rautayöt) 

Iron Horses (Rautaratsut)

The God is Great (Jumala on Suuri) 

The Paradise of Gods (Jumalten Paratiisi) 

Backyard Carmen (Takapihan Carmen)  

The Gang 

The Dance  

I Will Not Leave My Friends (Kaveria Ei Jätetä)

The Forest of Women (Naisten Metsä)  

Love & Mary (Rakkauteni Maria) 

ORLI, Folk Opera 

The Paradise of God (Jumalten Paratiisi) 

BOTOX 

The God is Great (Jumala on Suuri)  

With the Seven-String Guitar 

Sin  

|  Roma Theatre Drom

|  Drom Theatre

|  Theatre Green Apple in Helsinki

|  Drom Theatre

|  Drom Theatre

|  Drom Theatre

|  Männistö Church, Kuopio

|  Kuopio

|  Kuopio

|  Helsinki Deaconess Institute (400-birthday celebration)

|  Pieksämäki

|  Pieksämäki

|  Adult Education Centre of Helsinki

|  Lappeenranta

|  Finland Hall, Helsinki

|  multiple venues (ex.Snåre Hall, Tammisaari)

|  Cultural centre STOA (Vuotalo and Caisa)

|  Rock Church, Helsinki

|  Alexander Theatre, Helsinki

|  Alexander Theatre, Helsinki

|  1981

|  1982 

|  1980

|  1983

|  1984 

|  1986  

|  1991  

|  1992 

|  1993  

|  1993  

|  1993 

|  1993

|  1996 

|  1997  

|  1994-1997

|  2004 

|  2009 

|  2011-2012 

|  2014  

|  2016 

Plays
Written & Directed 
Poetic Plays

Remembrance of My Life (Muistan Eläneeni)  

The Road (Tie) 

Wanderers of the Night (Yön Kulkijat) 

The Red Horse (Punainen Hevonen)  

Black Curls (Mustat Kiharat)  

Gypsy Poetry Theatre (Mustalaisrunoteatteri)  

|  1979 

|  1982  

|  1983   

|  1983  

|  1985  

|  2005 

|  Theatre Baltzar 

|  Theatre Drom

|  Theatre Drom

|  Theatre Drom

|  Theatre Drom

|  Helsinki

|  1976-1981

|  1981-1988

 

|  2013 -

|  Establisher, Manager, Director  |  Mikkeli/Helsinki 

|  Establisher, Educator, Manager, Director 

|  Theater Academy of Helsinki 

|  Manager & Director  |  Aleksander Theater Helsinki |

Theater Baltzar  

Roma Theater Drom  

Theatre Academy Helsinki Integration Theatre Baltzar  

 Theater 
Theater

The leading singer in Ludvig XIV Orchestra 

One of the leading roles in a musical play, Sin  

A Leading role in a Gypsy cabaret, With the Seven-String Guitar  

Soloist in Drom Orchestra, exchibition opening of 'Miranda- the Roma Holocaust 

Soloist in Drom Orchestra  

Gypsy Ballad TV play (Mustalaisballadi) leading role  

|  2017- 

|  2016  

|  2014  

|  2014  

|  2014  

|  1974  

PERFORMING ARTIST
 

|  1975  

|  1991  

|  1991 

|  2004  

|  2010 

|  2012  

|  2013- 

|  2014  

|  2014 

|  2014  

|  2016-2017  

|  15/2/2017  

|  11/5/2017  

|  Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki

|  Rautalampi Library

| Gallery Vintti, Kuopio 

| Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

|  Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

|  all around Finland

|  The National Museum of Finland

| Kellarikalleria, Suonenjoki

|  Latin Art Gallery, Check Republic

|  Iisalmi/Vantaa/Kokkola/Espoo/Rautalampi, FIN

|  Espoo Cultural Center, FIN

|  Estonia, Latvia, Croatia etc.

Exhibition for young artists  

Behind the Iron (Raudan Takaa) with Oili Marski  

The Time of the Stone (Kiven Aika) with Oili Marski  

The Road of Gypsies (Mustalaisten Tie)  

Barvalo Drom - Viable Roma culture  

Miranda - The Roma Holocaust. Who's afraid of the White Man? 

Personal art exchibition 

The display of exchibition Miranda - The Roma Holocaust 

Do you ask, who I am? A personal exchibition of 50 works  

The Nordic Tango, a personal exchibition og 45 art works 

Miranda Exchibition on display 

Miranda exchibition's World Tour opened by Tarja Halonen  

Exhibition Miranda-The Roma Holocaust starts Europen tour  

VISUAL ARTS AND EXHIBITIONS

Taught literary writing at the adult education center of Helsinki

The leading teacher of Roma theatre course in the Theatre, Academy of Helsinki   

Teacher at Theatre Academy of Helsinki

The establisher of Roma theatre Group Drom, teacher, director and leader

(originated from Theatre Baltzar, established in 1976). 

Various literary writing courses, e.g., at Adult Education Centre of Sisä-Savo.

Teacher of drama course in the Christian Institute of Pieksämäki.

Art college of Imatra

Teacher at Theatre Academy of Helsinki.

Pedagogical Director in the research project of Intercultural Experiential Education

at HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki.

International theatre workshop with Czech, Roma and Finnish participants. Teacher-director.

Realized as a part of the Czech projectTheatre of Nations: Roma at Nova Scena. National Theatre, Prague.

Integration Theatre Baltzar, Alexander theatre, Helsinki (annual educational art productions)

|   1970-1973  

|   1981-1984 

|   1981-1985  

|   1981  

|   1989-1991  

|   1993-1994 

|   1995-1996 

|   1997-1998 

|   2011-2012 

 

|   2012  


|   2013-   

 TEACHING ACTIVITY & LECTURES 
Teaching
Lectures in
Finland

Roma Conference, Helsinki

The "Novel 69" Event, Old Student House in Helsinki 

University of Jyväskylä, about Romani literature.

University of Helsinki, about Finnish literature, together with writers Kjell Westö and Marja-Leena Mikkola.

University of Helsinki, Renvall Institute, about Romani literature.

Helsinki University, Master’s programme for Intercultural Encounters, a panel discussion about multiculturalism.

About the novel In love and War. Library of Karjaa and Library of Itäkeskus, Helsinki.

Lecture The forgotten sufferings of Roma, Villa Hakasalmi, Helsinki.

Writer, the voice of his people, lecture at the international seminar “The Roma

and the Holocaust.” The House of Sciences, Helsinki.

Who’s afraid of the White Man? The problematics of equality. Lecture at the National Museum of Finland.

Panel discussion: Where’s the future? The future guarantee of multicultural youth (other panelists Deputy

City Mayor Ritva Viljanen and professor Laura Kolbe), Cultural Centre Caisa, Helsinki

The Conscience of Europe, lecture at a 2-day international minister-level conference

            (organization by Veijo Baltzar), Little Parliament Annex, Helsinki, Finland

The life of an author – lecturing tour in municipal libraries of South Finland 

The untapped resources of cultures. Panel discussion together with historian Jukka Relander and

researcher, director of Cupore Foundation Pasi Saukkonen. Tikkurila Library, City of Vantaa.

Where are the values? Unequal multicultural Finland. The panel discussion, restaurant Juttutupa.

Together with Speaker of the Parliament of Finland Eero Heinäluoma, CEO of the Finnish Broadcasting

Company YLE Lauri Kivinen and Candidate for Parliamentary elections Nina Castén

|  1968  

|  1969  

|  1998  .

|  2000  .

|  2007  

|  2008 

|  2008  

|  2009  

|  2010 

|  2013 

|  2014

  

|  2014 

|  2014  

|  2014 

|  2015 

Lectures
Abroad

Performing at the ceremony of Nordic Council as a representative of Liberal Party’s Youth

Association, Stockholm.

A guest of German Roma theatre Pralipe - lecturing about Drom theatre, Hamburg.  

Lecture at Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust: Conference on Education,

Remembrance, and Research. Stockholm.

As a representative of International Romani Writer Association, International Ars Baltica

Conference. Gdansk, Poland.

Umeå University, Sweden. About Romani literature and its situation in Europe.

Nordisk Museum, Stockholm. About the meaning of language, culture, and literature to Roma identity.

Book Fair in Sibiu, Representing International Roma Writers Association. Romania.

Romskt kulturcentrum, Stockholm. Lecture about the Roma Holocaust and the book “In love and war.”

Prague international book fair (Book World Prague), Czech Republic.

International writer symposium together with authors George Blecher (USA), Mikael Niemi (SWE), Maria Peura (FIN), Jean-Marie Blas de Roblés(FRA) and Sarah Waters (UK). Interviewed by Ph.D. Kari Senius (FIN) about the novel ”In love and War.” Prague.

International Book Arsenal Festival, Kiev, Ukraine. International Discussion on Roma Literature

The Holocaust amidst the cross-currents of multi-culturalism (lecture). National and

University Library in Zagreb, Croatia

The Spirit’s on the move, but who stands in the way? (a speech)  World-day of Romani

language celebration and international conference, Zagreb, Croatia

|  1970  

|  1997  

|  2000 

|  2004 

|  2005  

|  2006 

|  2007  

|  2009  .”

|  2010

 

 

 

|  2017 

|  2017

 

|  2017  

Restoration of doctor's house from 15th-18th century in Rautalampi (FIN)

Atelie House in Rautalampi (FIN)

American Villa in Pohja (FIN), basic repair into artist's house

Basic repair of an old school of Brasby into a modern villa in Karjaa  

Apartment in Helsinki,  basic repair, and interior design

Apartment in Helsinki, basic repair, and interior design

Architectural design of Writer's Atelier House in Karjaa 

Sauna Architectural design in Karjaa

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

|   1991   

|   1992   

|   2000   

|   2002   

|   2005  

|   2007   

|   2007   

|   2009   

One of the founders of the Finnish Roma Association, board member.

The Roma Conference, organizer. Helsinki, Finland.  

The Finnish Writer Union, member

The Theatre Society in Helsinki, vice-member.

The Roma children and youth educational fund, founder. Charity gala evenings for its benefit in Helsinki and

Tampere, organizer.

First Roma as candidate for Parliamentary elections in Finland, Liberal party.

The Roma housing issues committee, appointed by Finnish Ministry of the Interior, member.

The International Roma conference, one of the organizers. Hanasaari, Finland

Drom, Association for Creative Arts and Culture, founder and chairman (www.drom.fi) Chairman of Drom

Association’s strategic steering committee. Members: former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari, Members of Parliament Pekka Haavisto and Ilkka Kanerva, professor of multicultural education Fred Dervin, Youth Counsellor Olli Saarela and director of Aleksander Theatre Reima Jokinen

The Finnish Play-writer Union, member

Representing Finland with Roma theatre Drom at the Theatre Festival in Hamburg

The Culture board of the town of Karkkila, member.

1The Culture Society of the town of Rautalampi, active member.

Rotary club of the town of Suonenjoki, member.

The Arkadia society, member (For the members of the parliament of Finland and for notable culture

persons).

Candidate for Parliamentary elections in Finland, Green party.

The member of Finnish Social Democrat Party’s YPSY-department.

PEN Society, member.

International Romani Writers' Association, founder and President.

Ars Baltica -International Romani Writer Conference 2-4.7.2004, organizer. Snåre-Hall, Tammisaari,

Finland.

Finnish Cultural Association of Raseborg City, vice-chairman.

A member of the Finnish committee of International Holocaust Task Force (ITF), Finnish Ministry of

Foreign Affairs, member.

International event The Forgotten Genocide, Helsinki, dedicated to Roma Holocaust and the

            present situation of European Roma. The main event was international 2-day seminar The Roma

            and the Holocaust. -Initiator, project leader and one of the Chairmen of the seminar together with

            former PM Paavo Lipponen, Member of Parliament Pekka Haavisto and chairman of Romani

            Advisory Board Taito Lehmusta.

Award ceremony ”Gipsy Spirit”, awarding Slovakian organizations and individuals for outstanding

             work for Roma communities (org. ACEC). -One of the five international jurors. Radio Building,

             Bratislava, Slovakia
The Conscience of Europe project, supported by European Unions’ Europe for Citizens

              Programme. A series of events dedicated to the issues of multicultural Europe. The main event

              The Conscience of Europe 18-19 March 2014, a two-day international minister-level conference at

              the Finnish Parliament. Initiator and director. Among the participants and speakers of the

              conference were former Finland’s President Tarja Halonen, Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo

              (Estonia), former Finland’s Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, Ministers Krista Kiuru, Pekka Haavisto

              and Päivi Räsänen, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Petr Drulák (Czech Republic) and Minister

              of State for Social Inclusion Zoltán Kovács (Hungary). The conference issued 24-item set of

              proposals by Veijo Baltzar for reforming European policies of multiculturalism. Baltzar’s law

              proposals were sent to the European Commission. 

 International Roma Writer Association (IRWA), elected president for a next 5-year rul

|  1967-1974  

|  1968  

|  1970- 

|  1970-1973 

|  1970 

|  1970  

|  1971  

|  1972  

|  1976 

|  1981- 

|  1987 

|  1989-1992 

|  1989-1992 

|  1992- 

|  1994 


|  1995  

|  1999– 

|  2000–

|  2002–2005  

|  2004 


|  2008– 

|  2009–2012 

                    

|  2010 

|  2010

 


|  2014 

|  2017-2021  

 Societal activity & membership 

Research and documentation project about Finnish Roma together with

            photographer Henrik Schütt.

 

Interview research on Roma survivors of the Holocaust. Interviews 

                     conducted in Sweden, Germany, and Italy, 2001 and 2002.

 CULTURAL & Historical research 

 |     1969

 |     2001-2002 

​Permanent assistant in newspaper Aftonbladet.

Permanent assistant in newspaper Hyvinkään Sanomat.

Permanent assistant at Nyapressen

Finnish Gipsy Mission, publicist

Journalist, newspaper Kotitiellä

 |  1969-1970 

 |  1986-1987  

 |  1970 

 |  1970–1971 

 |  1970-1972 

PRESS WORK