Chapter 8 Czechoslovakia

In: Roma Voices in History
Open Access

8.1 Naming and Labeling of Roma

8.1.1 A Letter to the State Attorney’s Office in Uherské Hradiště

Slavné státní zastupitelství!

Já podepsaný Libor Daniel dne 24. července 1893 v Bílovicích u Uh. Hradiště narozený cikán a kovář bydlel jsem od roku 1909 v Ludkovicích i se svou manželkou Josefou Danielovou i s našimi 6 dítkami zcela pokojně až do poslední doby, 6 let před tím byl jsem u vojska a ve válce a dle dovolenky náhradního praporu čs. pěšího pluku č. 3 11. náhr. rota, běžné číslo seznamu 212/11 vystavenou v Kroměříži dne 25. května 1920, byl jsem po dosažení vojenské hodnosti jako svobodník propuštěn od vojska domů na trvalou dovolenou.

Já podepsaný František Didy, dne 23. ledna 1896 narozený na Velkém Ořechově blíže Uh. Brodu, cikán a kovář v boudě v Hřivném Újezdě, bydlel jsem i se svou manželkou Františkou Didy a s našimi 7 dítkami již 8 let v naší boudě v Hřivném újezdě, když jsem byl před tím od roku 1915 sloužil u vojska a když mně byla od čs. domobraneckého okresního velitelství v Kroměříži pod běžným číslem seznamu 14542/20 vystavena dne 24. února 1921 dovolenka a já jsem byl demobilisován a propuštěn cestou superarbitrace na trvalou dovolenou jako pěšák 27. pěšího pluku.

Obě rodiny živily jsme se i se svými četnými dítkami poctivě buď kovářskou nebo nádenickou prací, až do poslední doby.

V neděli dne 29. května 1921 večer, když jsme již všichni i s našimi dítkami v našich leženích spali, přišli všichni obvinění, a ještě více jiných osob ozbrojených holemi a tyčemi, asi v 10 hodin večer k nám do našeho ležení v Ludkovicích a vyzvali nás, že se musíme z Ludkovic ihned v noci vystěhovat i s našimi dětmi.

Já, Libor Daniel, jsem pana starostu Antonína Novotného i ostatní pány obecní radní prosil, aby mne nechali v našem táboře přespat alespoň do rána i s našimi dětmi, ale 1. pan radní Jan Gavenda mně na to pravil, že jak v 5 minutách se neodstěhujeme z Ludkovic, že budeme ihned všichni zabiti. Na to tloukli všichni obvinění silnými koly, holemi a tyčemi do naší boudy, až tuto celou roztloukli, a naše děti strachem pojaté se rozutekly do blízkého lesa a nalezli jsme je až ráno v lese celé ustrašené, a my sami byli jsme od obviněných přinuceni v noci po 10 hodině ze své boudy v Ludkovicích pryč odejíti a přespali jsme také v lese sousední obce Hřivného Újezda.

Při tom měl p. obecní radní Josef Matouš též flintu a vystřelil z ní jednou, aby nás postrašil a vzbudil v nás důvodnou obavu a aby nás všichni obvinění přinutili své dosavadní bydliště opustiti a z Ludkovic pryč se odstěhovati.

Škodu, kterou nám všichni obvinění obecní funkcionáři z Ludkovic roztlučením našich boud v Ludkovicích a na území Hřivného Újezda a roztrháním plátěných plachet nad těmito boudami způsobili, odhadujeme každou boudu i s plachtou alespoň na 500 Kč a tedy obě 2 boudy na 1000 Kč a připojujeme se jako poškození a soukromí účastníci s tímto odškodným k trestnímu řízení, budeme žádati přisouzení tohoto odškodného 1000 Kč od všech odsouzených pachatelů.

Za svědky uvádíme samy sebe a sice:

Libora Daniela, Josefu Danielovou, Františka Didy, a jeho manželku Františku Didy a pak Ferdinanda Heráka, cikána a nádeníka 19 ti letého a Cypriána Daniela, 17 ti letého cikána a nádeníka, všichni nyní bytem v Hřivném Újezdě blíže Uh. Brodu.

Uvádíme ještě, že jsme před tím ani od obce ani od obecního úřadu v Ludkovicích nedostali žádného písemného vyzvání, abychom se z této obce ihned vystěhovali, a nebyli jsme dosud od obecního úřadu obce Ludkovice právoplatně vypovězeni, k čemuž ostatně nepozůstává docela žádných důvodů, poněvadž se všichni poctivě živíme a chováme.

Zůstavujeme tomuto slavnému státnímu zastupitelství, aby shora subsumovalo pod příslušná ustanovení trestného zákona a my jen tvrdíme, že se všichni obvinění dopustili proti nám zločinu ve smyslu §§ 85. lit. ab, § 98 ab, a 99 tr. z. a očekáváme, že třeba jsme cikáni, zasloužíme jako vysloužilí vojínové také ochrany trestního zákona a povolaných k jeho hájení slavných úřadů.

Předkládajíce sub A/ plnomocenství našeho právního zástupce, prosíme tímto zástupcem uctivě:

Slavné státní zastupitelství rač v této věci proti všem obviněným zavésti trestní vyšetřování pro zločiny shora uvedené.

Náš právní zástupce Dr. Karel Večeřa, advokát v Uh. Brodě, plnou mocí vykázaný prosí, aby o případném hlavním přelíčení proti obviněným nařízeném byl uvědoměn.

V Uh. Brodě, dne 4. června 1921.

Libor Daniel, Josefa Danielová, František Didy, Františka Didy.

Glorious Public Prosecution!

I, the undersigned Libor Daniel, born 24 July 1893 in Bílovice u Uherského Hradiště, a Gypsy and a smith, lived in Ludkovice since 1909 with my wife Josefa Danielová and our 6 children perfectly peacefully until recently, 6 years ago, I served in the army and in the war and, according to a furlough of the reserve batallion of the Czechoslovak infantry regiment no. 3, 11th reserve company, regular list number 212/11, issued in Kroměříž on 25 May 1920, I was, after progressing to the rank of lank corporal, discharged home from the army on permanent leave.

I, the undersigned František Didy, born 23 January 1896 in Velký Ořechov, near Uherský Brod, a Gypsy and a smith, lived with my wife Františka Didy and our 7 children 8 years already in our shanty in Hřivný Újezd [1], before, from 1915, I served in the army and, when I was given a furlough by the territorial district command in Kroměříž under the regular list number 14542/20, issued 24 Feb 1921, I was demobilized and medically discharged on permanent leave as infantryman of the 27th regiment.

Until recently, both our families with our many children made living by doing honest smith or menial labour.

On Sunday, the evening of 29th May 1921, when we were all sleeping with our children in our camp, all the defendants came, and some more other people, armed with sticks and rods at around 10 pm to our camp in Ludkovice and called upon us to move out together with our children.

I, Libor Daniel begged Mr. Mayor Antonín Novotný and other gentlemen to let me sleep in our camp with our children at least until the morning, but Mr. First Councillor Jan Gavenda answered me that lest we move out from Ludkovice in 5 minutes, we shall all be killed at once. At that, they were banging on our shanty until they smashed it all to pieces, and our children, taken over by fear, scattered into the near woods and we found them only in the morning in the woods, terrified, and we ourselves were forced by the defendants to leave after 10 o’clock at night, to abandon our shanty in Ludkovice and we also stayed overnight in the woods, in the neighbouring village Hřivný Újezd.

During the time, Mr. Councillor Josef Matouš also had a rifle, from which he shot once to scare us and raise reasonable fear and to have all the defendants make us to leave our existing residence and move out from Ludkovice.

We estimate the damage, that the accused village officials of Ludkovice caused by smashing our shanties in Ludkovice and in the municipality of Hřivný Újezd and by tearing the canvas canopies over the shanties, to be at least 500 crowns for each shanty with a canopy, that is 1,000 crowns for both shanties, and we join as the aggrieved and private parties with the damages to the criminal prosecution, and we demand to award the damages of 1,000 crowns from all the defendants.

As witnesses we present ourselves, that is:

Libor Daniel, Josefa Danielová, František Didy, and his wife Františka Didy, and Ferdinand Herák, a 19-year-old Gypsy and a labourer, Cyprián Daniel, a 17-year-old Gypsy and a labourer, all living in Hřivný Újezd near Uherský Brod.

We further state that we had not been given, neither from the village neither from the municipality in Ludkovice, any written notice to immediately move out, and, until now, we have not been lawfully evicted by the municipality of Ludkovice, for which there is no reason whatsoever, for that matter, since we all work and behave dully.

We cede to the glorious Public Prosecution to subsume under the relevant provisions of the Penal Code, and we only claim that all the defendants have committed a crime against us according to Art. 85 ab Art. 98 ab, and Art. 99 of the Penal Code [2], and we, albeit Gypsies, expect to also deserve, as retired soldiers, the protection of the Penal Code and the glorious authorities which guard its defence.

Submitting under A/ the authorization of our attorney, we respectfully ask via our attorney:

Glorious Public Prosecution, please, launch a criminal investigation of the crimes mentioned hereinbefore.

Our attorney Dr. Karel Večeřa, attorney in Uherský Brod, with authorization, asks to be informed about any potential main proceedings against the defendants.

In Uherský Brod, 4 June 1921.

Libor Daniel, Josefa Danielová, František Didy, Františka Didy.

Notes

1. The name of the municipality was Hřivínův Újezd. It is located near Luhačovice, a Moravian spa town, and fell within the authority of Zlín District.

2. The Czechoslovak Republic adopted the Penal Code of the former Habsburg Monarchy. According to the Act No. 117/1852 On Crimes, Offences and Misdemeanours the Article No. 85 defined the malicious damage of the private property which could be punished by imprisonment ranging from at least six months to a maximum of ten years. The article No. 98 concerned the blackmailing and No. 99 defined threats.

Source: MZA, f. C 48 Krajský soud v Uherském Hradišti, II. Manipulace, inv. č. 2184, sign. Vr VIII 2146/21, obž. 1632, kart. 448.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.1.2 A Letter to the Provincial Office in Prague

Zemský úřad v Praze

č. 24627. III 7 R 17.

Dne 30.V.1939.

Růžička Josef r. nar. 7. III. 1899 v Držkrajově, pol. okr. Milevsko, bytem, Nová Ves u Písku

Jmenovaný žádá zemský úřad v Praze, aby vyhověl jeho prosbě a neuvrhnul ho do cikánského života, v kterém již 11 let nežije.

Udávám, že ve 28. r. jsem narukoval k 11. pěš[ího] pl[uku] v Písku, kde jsem sloužil 14 měs. úplně bez trestu.

Ve 30 r. jsem se usadil v Čížové, kde jsem pracoval jakožto dělník ve velkostatku Jiřího K. z Lobkowicz, za denní mzdu deseti korun až do 32 roku, takže mě nebylo možno uživiti 5 člennou rodinu z čehož moje manželka byla nucena hledati obživu pro rodinu u dobrosrdečných lidí. Ve 33 r. jsem se uchytil jako sezonní dělník na státních silnicích technického oddělení v Písku, kde konám nejtěžší práce jako polevač asfaltu a kde jsou se mnou úplně spokojeni.

Ještě jednou žádám laskavě zemský úřad, aby vzal zřetel na moji rodinu a zachránil ji od nebezpečí, které by povstalo vyhoštěním z obce Nová Ves-Čížová.

Jsem ženatý, mám 4 děti od 3 do 14 let, z nichž jedno chodí do 1 tř. druhé do 3 tř. obecné školy v Čížové a nejstarší do druhého ročníku mešťan. šk. v Písku, což jest mojí snahou vychovati z nich řádné občany a neuvrhovat je do cikánského prostředí v kterém nejsou vychovány.

Ještě jednou laskavě žádám zemský úřad, aby nehleděl na mou špatnou minulost a vzal zřetel, že ji chci napravit a žít jako pořádný občan. Co se týče zdejších občanů, nejsou proti mně nijak zaujati a každý se mnou vychází v dobrém přátelství. Uvádím, že ve zdejším zastupitelstvu jsou 3 osoby, které by mě chtěly vyštvat a kterým nezáleží na tom, jestli moje rodina bude zničena či ne. Jsem již zde 9 let, aniž bych měl hodinu trestu. Co se týče mé manželky, žádám zemský úřad, aby vzal ohled, že nic neudělala ze ziskuchtivosti, nýbrž z bídy.

Čímž slibuji zemskému úřadu, že se to vícekráte opakovati nebude. Co se týče četnické pátrací stanice v Písku, jsou se mnou úplně spokojeni a jsem-li bez práce vždy pro mě nějakou práci najdou a vždy mě napomínají, abych se již k cikánskému životu nevracel a živil se poctivou prací. Ubezpečuji zemský úřad, že se chci poctivou prací živit, jen když mě bude dána možnost, abych mohl dále pracovat a vést rodinu k pořádnému životu.

Ještě jednou žádám zemský úřad, aby vyslyšel moji prosbu a vyhověl mé žádosti, za což mnohokráte děkuji. S veškerou

Úctou,

Josef Růžička.

The Provincial Office in Prague

no. 24627. III 7 R 17.

May 30, 1939.

Růžička Josef, born March 7, 1899 in Držkrajov, district Milevsko, resident of Nová Ves u Písku.

The named asks the Provincial Office in Prague to comply with his plea and not cast him into a Gypsy life, which he has not led for 11 years.

I state that, at 28, I enlisted to 11 Infantry Reg. in Písek, where I served 14 months without convictions.

At 30, I settled in Čížová, where I worked as a labourer at Jiří K. of Lobkowicz’s [1] manor farm estate, for a daily wage of 10 crowns until 32 years of age, so I could not provide for a family of five, due to which my wife was forced to seek subsistence from kind-hearted people. At 33, I found employment as a seasonal worker at a state road maintenance unit in Písek, where I performed the hardest tasks as asphalt paver and where everyone was satisfied with me.

Once again, I kindly ask the Provincial Office to take into account my family and save it from the dangers that would arise from expulsion from the village of Nová Ves-Čížová.

I am married, I have 4 children from 3 to 14 years of age, one of whom attends the first grade, the other the third grade of the elementary school in Čížová and the oldest the second grade of a secondary school in Písek, which is thanks to my effort to raise them as proper citizens and not to cast them into a Gypsy environment, in which they are not brought up.

Once again, I kindly ask the Provincial Office to look away from my bad past and to consider that I want to rectify it and live as a good citizen. When it comes to local citizens, they are in no way prejudiced against me and everyone is on good terms with me. I state that there are 3 persons in the local government, that would like to chase me away and that do not care whether my family is destroyed or not. I have lived here for 9 years [2] without an hour of a sentence. Regarding my wife, I ask the Provincial Office to take into account that she has acted not from greed, but from poverty.

Thereby I promise the Provincial Office that it will never happen again. Regarding the Gendarmerie Search Station in Písek [3], everyone is fully satisfied with me, and when I lack work, they always find me some and always remind me not to return to the Gypsy way of life and to make an honest living. I can assure the Provincial Office, that I wish to make an honest living, the main thing is that I be given a chance to continue working and guiding my family towards a proper life.

Once again, I ask the Provincial Office to hear my plea and comply with my request, for which I thank you very much.

With utmost respect,

Josef Růžička.

Notes

1. Jiří Kristián Lobkowicz (1907-1932) was a member of the large noble Bohemian family who died in a car crash during car racing in 1932. Since 1932 the ownership of the manor farm estate in Čížová, a village in South Bohemia near the city of Písek, devolved upon Ludmila Lichtenstein (born Lobkowicz).

2. According to the former Habsburg legislation on the Domicile (domovské právo in Czech) which the Czechoslovak republic adapted every person who lived in a municipality for ten years and didn’t present a burden for the local charity could obtain domicile in the municipality (Šmídek, 1904; Břeský, 1923).

3. Search stations of the Czechoslovak Gendarmerie were special institutions established in 1928 for combatting the so-called habitual criminals. Since the Czechoslovak Act No. 117/1927 On Wandering Gypsies the inhabitants who were labelled as “wandering Gypsies” were included to the newly established police register which was created by the Czechoslovak Gendarmerie and which conjoined the register of “habitual criminals”. One of the tasks of search stations was to keep a record and fingerprints of “wandering Gypsies” in the region (Macek & Uhlíř, 1999, pp. 59-62). Albeit Josef and Vicencie Růžičkovi led a settled life in Čížová, they were labelled as “wandering Gypsies” and included into the police register.

Source: SOKAP, f. Okresní úřad Písek, inv. č. 1351, sign. III 7 R, kart. 758.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

Comments

These two documents are examples of how the inhabitants who were labelled as Gypsies in interwar Czechoslovakia defended themselves from the state authorities’ persecution. Both families, were from the Moravian village of Ludkovice and Josef Růžička living in a village near South Bohemian town of Písek, took advantage of the possibility to make an appeal against actions of the respected local municipality. In their letters, these families claimed equal citizenship status. Furthermore, by hiring a lawyer on their behalf and writing their own appeal they acted as citizens. In this way, they contested the boundary between the notions of ‘orderly citizens’ as the proper citizen-subject of the nation state on one hand and ‘Gypsies’ as the embodiment of non-citizen, dangerous and ungovernable inhabitant on the other.

The first case concerns a period shortly after the end of the First World War, the so-called building of the Czechoslovak Republic when institutions and ideologies of the newly created nation state were being established. The period between 1918 and 1922 were tumultuous years during which the young liberal nation state was on the brink of a civil war and far from free from physical violence which was a means of achieving political goals (Frankl & Szabó, 2015; Konrád & Kučera, 2018; Kučera, 2016). In this context, the two families who lived at the outskirts of Ludkovice, a village in South-Eastern Moravia near a spa town Luhačovice, and were labelled as Gypsies testified that on May 29, 1921, they were attacked by a huge crowd of local inhabitants including municipal representatives and forced to flee the village (Document 1.1.). Based on their testimonies the state attorney’s office launched an investigation. The members of the municipal government who were accused admitted that they went to the so-called Gypsy camp on May 21, 1921, because a week before they ordered the two families to move out of the village. The decision of the municipal government was made on the basis of popular accusations of those families of committing offences. The accused also admitted that they challenged the Gypsies to immediately leave the village. One of them confessed that he told Libor Daniel that if he won’t move out, the citizens will help themselves and will give them a beating. The accused were at the same time denying that Gypsies’ shelters were destroyed purposely by them or by the crowd. The mayor, for instance, stated that it just happened that somebody who he couldn’t recognise jogged one shanty and after that the Gypsies dismantle their shanties and left the village. Others simply stated that the Gypsies dismantled their shelters and left the village.

The sole judge believed the statements of the accused, ‘orderly citizens’ and members of the municipal government. Firstly, the court adopted the narrative of the accused that due to the fact that Gypsies were suspected of committing crimes in the village the municipal council decided to move them out, and fixed a time limit to do so. Secondly, the court believed the statements of the accused that the Gypsies themselves dismantled their shelters and left the village on their own. Thirdly, the court also accepted the explanation of the accused that they were not making threats but actually only warned the Gypsies of the people’s anger. And finally, the court also believed the accused in claiming that the Gypsies didn’t belong to the village despite Libor Daniel having claimed that he lived in the village since 1909. The presence of the crowd at the scene was explained by the judge as normal, curious behaviour of citizens who wanted to witness the expulsion of the Gypsies which was their goal. The Gypsies’ testimonies, however, were labelled as implausible because they allegedly only wanted to obtain money and also because “as a rule Gypsies are not truthful”. Thus, despite the fact that the court stated that there is no doubt that the accused didn’t act in proper manner, the accused were freed of all charges (MZA, f. C 48-II, Krajský soud v Uherském Hradišti).

The trial confirms the restrained attitude of the Czechoslovak judiciary in punishing the perpetrators of the acts of collective violence (Frankl & Szabó, 2015, pp. 94). The violence in this case represented an alternative means through which the villagers and their own political representatives sought to achieve their goal: to exclude Gypsies as dangerous foreigners from their community in order to secure the society of ‘orderly’ Czechoslovak citizens. Although the court admitted certain illegality of the actions of the perpetrators, the judge accepted the narrative of the accused which led him to blur the distinction between perpetrators and victims. The verdict also shows that the Czechoslovak state authorities were willing to suspend the universal liberal principles of the equality before the law in order to secure the public order (see Baloun, 2017; Illuzzi, 2014). Despite the Gypsies having claimed their belonging to the Czechoslovak society and also to the local community on the account of military service, settled lifestyle and decent jobs for more than ten years, their extraordinary effort was not successful. By dismissing their testimonies with reference to the popular notion of Gypsies, the court legitimized their exclusion from the equal position in the newly established nation state.

The second case took place in Čížová, a small rural village near South Bohemian town Písek. Between 1928 and 1930 an extended Gypsy family settled there. According to the state census from 1930 sixteen persons from the village were counted as Gypsies by the nationality. The author of the chronicle counted the Gypsies beside seasonal workers as temporary inhabitants (SOKAP, kronika obce Nové Vsi - Čížová, p. 51), even though they were permanently employed. The Gypsies lived in a wagon and a few wooden barracks they built for themselves at the outskirts of the village. The three-generation extended Gypsy family was deeply affected by the Czechoslovak law from 1927 On Wandering Gypsies. All family members received special Gypsy ID cards which embodied their status as second-class citizens (Donert, 2017, pp. 21-26). Furthermore, around 1930 three kids were taken away from one couple and put into Czech foster families in Písek (Baloun, 2018, pp. 195-200). Their parents were labelled as “workshy” and permanently expelled from the district. However, the second couple – Josef Růžička and Vincencie Růžičková and their kids – were regarded as “orderly”, “decent” and “hard-working” Gypsies. Their respectability was based on their permanent employment and on the regular school attendance of their kids. But as Gypsies their status could be questioned at any time. For example, in 1931 the local gendarmerie stated that “some members, especially women, don’t want to break the habit of begging in neighbouring villages in their spare time” (SOKAP, f. Okresní úřad Písek - presidiální spisy, kart. č. 5). This attested to the ways in which the local gendarmerie used the former Austro-Hungarian vagrancy laws (Wadauer, 2011) to police the movement of family members and their relationships with their neighbours.

The whole case started in 1937 when Vincencie Růžičková got arrested for attempting to steal a hen. Before the trial at the district court started the gendarmerie contacted the municipality of Čížová and revealed the intention to expel Vincencie as a “workshy individual” from the district. The municipality replied that Vincencie was pestering the local inhabitants by begging and committing petty thefts and her behaviour became intolerable. The municipality also noted that the family lived nearby a school and the presence of the Gypsies allegedly had bad influence on the local children (SOKAP, f. Okresní úřad Písek, kart. č. 758). The motivation for expulsion was to get rid of the whole family, who had lived in the village more than ten years, i.e. long enough to ask for domicile.

In 1938, the District Office in Písek decided to expel Vincencie from the region. But she wrote an appeal addressed to the Provincial Office in Prague in which she told her side of the story. She admitted committing a few petty thefts but pointed out that she committed them only because her children were hungry and only when her husband Josef Růžička was without work. She appealed to the higher authority that if she would be expelled from the district the whole family would follow and would return to nomadic way of life. In this statement, Vincencie exposed the tension inherent in the anti-Gypsy measures between implicit long-term assimilationist state goals and interests of local authorities to get their regions of inhabitants who were labelled as Gypsies (Zimmermann, 2000, p. 206). In 1939, after two years of investigation, the higher authority in Prague rejected the ruling and Vincencie could stay in Čížová.

But in the meantime, the municipal council initiated the same proceedings against her husband Josef Růžička. He was accused of having a criminal record (before he settled in Čížová), of Vincencie’s criminal behaviour (begging) and of providing various nomadic individuals with shelter. The District Office approved the expulsion despite the local gendarmerie headquarters considering him to be an “orderly” Gypsy. Therefore, Josef Růžička had to address the higher authority in Prague as well (Document 1.2.). The letter was probably written by his daughter who attended a secondary school in Písek. In the letter, he stated that he lived in the village for nine years and performed all civic duties: had no criminal record since the time he moved in, led a settled life, had a permanent work, his children attended local schools and he served in the Czechoslovak army. Then, he undermined the municipality’s effort by saying that he had a lot of friends in the village, and that only three members of the municipal council hated his family. He also pointed out that if he would be expelled the whole family would return to a nomadic lifestyle.

The unsettled case was eventually closed in 1940 and the family lived on in the village until 1943. Although the case ends in the period of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia it’s clear that it started already in 1937 and the occupation of the Czech lands by Wehrmacht in March 1939 didn’t change anything in regard to the domicile proceedings. This well-documented local case outlines the practice of a common form of Gypsies’ persecution. It shows how local state authorities and municipalities utilized domicile proceedings and subsequent expulsions in order to get the regions rid of Gypsies, but at the same time the case illuminates the tensions between municipalities (and local state authorities) and central state authorities.

Both these cases illustrate how those who were labelled as Gypsies resisted the persecution and how they forged the claim for equal citizenship status as Gypsies yet ‘orderly citizens’.

Pavel Baloun

8.2 Schooling of the Roma

8.2.1 A Letter to the President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk

V Petrově dne 24/5 1923. P. T.

Váženému panu Presidentu Dr. Masarykovi.

Vážený pane President, neračte naši prosbu oslišet a zastaňte se nášeho nešťastného národa, který je každým opovrhován, posuzován a dokonce i zvířetem nazýván. Proto s největší svou jistotou obracíme se na Vás, neboť nemáme žádného, kdo by se o nás jen trochu zajímal, a obzvlaště těch malých dětí cikanských, které nemají žádné výchovy a jsou tělesně i duševně zakrnělé. A proč? Proto, že do školy choditi nemohou, nemají šatů, nemají ničeho. Otec nebo ta matka nic sama nemá, tak děti jsou ze školy odhozeny a žádný se oně nestará. Vidím to na Slovensku, jak ony děti rostou, otcové nebyli poučovani, nemají mravní ani žádné intelikence, tak se o děti své nestarají a nechavají je růsti jako dříví v lese. Prosím milého Pana Presidenta, by byla mladá generace cikanů odebrána a které hodí se do školy řádně a přísně vyučována. Které však se nehodí pro školu, ať po vystoupení školy nastoupí řemeslnické učení, by jednou národ ten se uplatnil v naší milené Čs. vlasti, by mohl říci a pochlubiti se. Já jsem Čechoslovák! Račte mi prominouti milý náš pane President, že jsem tak smělý a opovažuji se Vaši ctěnou osobu obtěžovat. Věřte mi, hledim budoucnosti v stříc, neboť i já jsem byl tak nešťastně vychován od rodičů svých, že nenechali mne studovat. Teť když jsem valečný invalida, chci se věnovat jen pro blaho naší milené vlasti a chtěl bych snad i život svůj obětovat, aby národ ten se změnil v řádné občany Čs.

Všechno jsem řádně probral a udělal si úsudek, že nemůže národ náš tak zanedbán zůstati, neboť před 10-15 lety bylo celkem 50 cikanů v okresu Strážnickem, nyní po 15 letech přes 200 stě a žádný při tom není ničím vyučen řemeselnikem. Prosim, na některé vesnici je jich třeba 30. práce není, nezaměstnanost je velká. Co mají dělat. Nebude li jim toulaní zapovězeno pak budou krásti, a děti jejich nebudou nic lepšího jich. Prosím, zde udal jsem, jak velice národ ten se množí: kolik bude jich za 50-100 let. A když zůstanou všichni bez řádného vyučovaní neb řemesla, co si s nimi obec neb městečko počne, jest věru věc tato hodna uvážení a děti těch je škoda. Neboť píše se v obzoru sociální péče, jaké děti si ve své vlasti vychováme, také nás budou obranovati před nepřáteli. Prosim tedy českou školu, českóu výchovu pro generaci cikánskou, ať můžeme říci, že udělán jest dobrý vlastenecký čin. Jsem též cikán, ale že jsem řádně od učitele svého vyučován, vým co je naše Čs. vlast a co se naši předkové natrpěli pro ni. Jsem Čech tělem i duší, a proto, že já jsem mohl toho dokázati, ať i oni jsou vlastenci.

Doufám, že ma žádost bude na zřetel vzata.

V Hluboké úctě, klaním se, Jan Daniel.

V Petrově čis 190.

Bývalý člen divadelní moravské činohry.

In Petrov, 24.05.1923. P. T.

To His Excellency President Dr. Masaryk.

Dear Mr. President, please do not ignore our plea and stand up for our wretched nation, who is by each despised, judged, and even called a beast. Therefore, we turn to You with utmost confidence, for we have no one who would care about us in the slightest and, above all, about the little Gypsy children, who have no education and are physically and mentally retarded. And why? For they cannot go to school, have no clothes, nothing. Their fathers or mothers themselves have nothing, so children are excluded from school and no one takes care of them. I see it in Slovakia, how these children grow up, their fathers have not been taught, they have no morals or other intelligence, so they do not care for their children and they let them run wild. I beg Dear Mr. President that the young generation of Gypsies be taken and those fit for school be taught duly and strictly. Let the unfit for school, after finishing studies, enter vocational training, so that our nation be employed in our beloved motherland of Czechoslovakia, so they can proudly say: I am a Czechoslovak! Our Dear Mr. President, please excuse my audacity to dare bother Your honour. Believe me, I look towards the future, for I was, too, brought up so miserably by my parents, who did not send me to study. Now that I am a war invalid, I want to devote myself only to the welfare of our beloved motherland and I would perhaps even give my life for this nation to change into orderly citizens of Czechoslovakia.

I have discussed everything and made a judgement that our nation cannot remain so neglected, for 10 to 15 years ago there were 50 Gypsies in the district of Strážnice [1], now, after 15 years, there are over 200, none of whom has been trained to be a craftsman. Well, in some villages, there can be 30. There is no work, unemployment is big, what are they supposed to do? If they are not forbidden to wander, they will steal and their children will not be any better. Here, I stated how the nation multiplies; how many there will be in 50 to 100 years? And if they all end up with no proper education or craft, what will the village or town do, that is indeed something to consider, and the children are damaged. Because as the reviews in Social care [2] tell us, the children we raise are the ones to defend us from our enemies. I am also a Gypsy, but as I am properly taught by my teacher, I know what our Czechoslovak motherland is and what our ancestors have suffered for her. I am Czech body and soul, and because I could achieve it, let them also be patriots.

I hope that my request will be taken into consideration.

Humbly Yours Jan Daniel [3].

Petrov, No. 190.

Former member of a Moravian Theatre Company.

Notes

1. Strážnice, a city located in South-Eastern Moravia in the district of Hodonín, was one of several Moravian localities where the Gypsies lived since the end of the 18th century with the permission of the local nobility. In 1935 the local Gypsies lived in twenty houses at the outskirts of the village. According to the state censuses the number of Gypsies almost doubled during the interwar period: 53 in 1921 and 113 in 1941 (Nečas, 2005, pp. 133). However, it is unclear whether the increase was caused by newcomers or the high natality rate.

2. The Social Care (Sociální péče, in original language) was the tittle of a journal published by the Česká zemská komise pro péči o mládež (Czech Provincial Committee for Youth Care) between 1919 and 1922 which later became Péče o mládež. Měsíčník pro veřejnou i soukromou sociální péči o mládež (Youth Care. Monthly Journal for Public and Private Youth Care). Alongside the Úchylná mládež (Abnormal Youth), a more expert oriented Czech journal, the Youth Care covered the topic of the so-called “morally defective children” which often included the children of those inhabitants who were labelled as Gypsies. However, it remains unclear to which article Jan Daniel is referring in his letter.

3. Jan Daniel (1895-1943) was born and lived in Petrov, a village in South East Moravia. He collaborated externally with a drama company of the National Theater in Brno. His wife Anna came from Slovakia. During the Second World War, they were both transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau (Nečas, 1994, p. 16).

Pavel Baloun

Source: Národní archiv v Praze, f. Ministerstvo školství a národní osvěty (1918-1949), inv. č. 1622, sign. 13, cikánské školy 91, kart. 1474.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.2.2 A Letter to the President’s Office

Kabinetní kancelář pana presidenta republiky Československé v Praze.

Hlavní město Užhorod přistoupilo ku zřízení první cikánské školy v Republice, aby tímto způsobem povzneslo kulturní a mravní úroveň zaostalého a zanedbaného cikánského obyvatelstva.

Celá cikánská osada vítá tuto akci města Užhorodu s velikou radostí a zavázala se dobrovolně zhotoviti ku stavbě potřebné množství vepřovic a také pomáhati vydatně při stavbě samé, jelikož každý jednotlivec cítí, jaký veliký význam bude míti tato instituce pro budoucí kulturní a sociální vývoj zaostalého cikánského lidu. Cikánská mládež při nynějších poměrech z různých důvodů sociálního a mravního rázu nemůže navštěvovati stávající lidové školy a roste bez jakéhokoliv duševního rozvoje a naděje na dosažení úrovně lidského živobytí. Pouze zvláštní cikánská škola, přizpůsobená docela zvláštním poměrům života cikánského lidu a k duševním schopnostem cikánské mládeže, může vychovati z cikánské mládeže řádné občany státu a vhodné členy občanstvu.

Proto podepsaní obyvatelé cikánské osady v Užhorodě uctivě žádáme Vás přispěti na zřízení naší školy a pomoci městu Užhorodu a nám vystaviti školu, která by skutečně kladeným na ni účelům mohla zadost učiniti.

V Užhorodě, dne 17. září 1926.

[Otisky prstů 38 Romů z Užhorodu s ručně psanými nečitelnými jmény].

[To:] The Cabinet Office of the President of the Czechoslovak Republic in Prague.

The capital of Užhorod came to establish the first Gypsy school in the Republic to hereby elevate the cultural and moral level of the backward and neglected Gypsy population.

The entire Gypsy settlement welcomes this move of the city of Užhorod with great pleasure and has committed itself to voluntarily [1] making the necessary amount of adobe bricks and also to helping substantially during the construction itself, as each individual feels the importance of this institution for the future cultural and social development of the backward Gypsy people. The Gypsy youth cannot, at present, for various reasons of social and moral nature, visit the current elementary schools, and thus they grow without any mental development and without hope to reach the level of human livelihood. Only a special Gypsy school, adapted to the rather special circumstances of the life of the Gypsy people and the mental abilities of the Gypsy youth, can raise the Gypsy youth into orderly citizens of the state and proper part of the citizenry.

Therefore, the signatory residents of the Gypsy settlement in Užhorod kindly ask you to contribute to the establishment of our school and to help the city of Užhorod and us build a school, that would truly comply with the placed demands.

In Užhorod, September 17, 1926.

[Fingerprints of 38 Roma from Užhorod with illegible handwritten names].

Notes

1. The voluntary action of the Roma participation remains in question. Josef Šimek, a Czech state official who was employed at the department of the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education in Subcarpathian Ruthenia and who came up with the idea of special classes for Gypsy children, used a different phrase in one of his articles on the so-called Gypsy school which he initiated. He admitted that in order to obtain the finances for building the school the local Gypsies had to be made to consider the school as their own making and, thus, the local state official ‘forced’ them to participate (Šimek, 1927, p. 136).

Source: AKPR, f. Kanceláře prezidenta republiky, H-Holdy, inv. č. 1838, sign. Hn 1489/28, kart. 3.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun and translated by Martin Babička.

Comments

Both documents deal with the topic of education and outline different ways how Gypsies could claim their own voice in the debates of the time on the so-called Gypsy question.

In the context of the Czech lands demands on a special education for Gypsy children comprised an important element of the so-called Gypsy question already at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the eyes of the participants in these debates, such as lawyers, judges, policemen, members of the gendarmerie, officials and representative of the local state authorities and municipalities, the demand for a special education for Gypsy children formed one area for a state intervention. Such intervention was supposed to secure Gypsies’ assimilation as the desired form of their inclusion into modern society. The idea of a special education for Gypsy children stemmed from the Enlightenment ethic of improvement but went hand in hand with demands for new anti-Gypsy measures as a means for Gypsies exclusion; in this way, it wasn’t always a contradiction to various “phantasies of internment” (Zahra, 2017).

Notions of a special education for Gypsy children got across after the First World War. The emphasis on the democratic, liberal and West-belonging character of the newly established Czechoslovak Republic provided the civilising discourse an important role in terms of a function of state institutions. Hence when the Czechoslovak Ministry of the Interior opened an inter-ministerial discussion on the so-called Gypsy question, in the 1920s, a special education for Gypsy children was perceived as part of the desired legislative solution. Especially in the context of the “East of the Republic”, a term of that time, coined for East Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia for designation of an orientalised space with the alleged “backward” and ethnically mixed population (Holubec, 2014), assimilation formulated in the language of a civilising mission (see Comments Part 3) was perceived as the main goal of the state (Baloun, 2018).

Jan Daniel’s letter (Document 2.1.) which was addressed to the first president of the Czechoslovak Republic, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, could be understood as a Romani voice that fits into the context of inter-ministerial debate. Jan Daniel calls for a state intervention and, in this way, agrees with a special education of Gypsy children. But whereas the experts and officials though of Gypsies as a specific population or a group of inhabitants, Jan Daniel repeatedly uses the term “nation”. Therefore, he rather shifts the debate from the context of finding a legislative solution for a dangerous population to the question of their national education. In his notion, it is the Czech school and Czech education which will make Czechoslovak citizens and patriots out of the Gypsies. Thus, his letter was much more about national education rather than a civilising mission and it is clear for him that it will be successful because he presents himself as an example of that success. “I am Czech body and soul”, he claims. In this way, Jan Daniel indeed contested some of the main assumptions, including the understanding of assimilation as a civilizing mission with experimental and processual character.

In the meantime, the Czechoslovak administration in Subcarpathian Ruthenia and especially officials from the Department of Education discussed the low rates of local Gypsies’ school attendance. Since Subcarpathian Ruthenia was imagined as a part of the “East of the Republic” increasing the rate was understood as an important task of the civilising mission of the Czechoslovak Republic in the allegedly backward and underdeveloped region (see Comments Part 3). However, enforcing the school attendance of Gypsy children created tensions between local inhabitants who complained that their children had to attend the same classes as kids of Gypsies and the newly appointed Czechoslovak officials. In Uzhhorod (Ungvár/Užhorod), a capital of the Czechoslovak administration in Subcarpathian Ruthenia, such a conflict occurred in 1925 (Baloun, 2018). Then the Czech officials stated that the Gypsy children are not suited for “normal classes” and came up with an idea to establish a special class which would require a special building located at the outskirt of the city in the so-called Gypsy camp. After negotiations that took place in 1926 among the commissary of the city of Uzhhorod, local school inspectors, and representatives of the Department of the Ministry of Education in Carpathian Ruthenia – all Czechs – a decision was made to request the establishment of a special class for 52 Gypsy children (Šimek, 1927). In order to convince the superior authorities in Prague and obtain finance for their idea, they came up with a request for financial aid to the President’s Office which was formulated in the name of the local Gypsies. The language of the letter (Document 2.2) significantly contrasts with Jan Daniel’s words. Given the formulations and phrases which reflect the character of a civilising mission and the perception of Gypsy children as “abnormal” and unfit for the regular schools and education, it seems that it was drawn up by the Czech officials themselves and only later equipped with fingerprints of local Roma. That doesn’t mean that the local Roma didn’t care for the education of their children and, also, that they didn’t agree with the establishment of a special class for their children. Rather the document outlines the limits of what could be understood as Gypsy voice.

After the financial matter had been settled, the Czechoslovak Ministry of Education issued an ordinance to formally establish a special class for Gypsy children affiliated to the Slovak elementary school in Uzhhorod. The hygiene invoked to separate Gypsy children from the normal school also played an important role in the layout of the new building. It consisted of one spacious classroom, one room for the teacher, and a washroom with a large bath. There, children were supposed to be washed almost every day before the beginning of school teaching whereas the main purpose of this practice lied in teaching Gypsies basic hygiene principles (See Document 3.4). Other adjustments, according to the different character attributed to Gypsy children, were made regarding the curriculum. Periods were shorter and a lesser amount of lessons was supplemented with specialised manual work (housework for girls and craft practice for boys) and music lessons, or more precisely violin, to prevent them from begging (Šimek, 1927; 1936).

The special class for Gypsy children in Uzhhorod which was established in 1926 and functioned until 1938 represented a particular assimilationist practice in a small scale – even though several similar classes were established in other cities in the “East of the Republic” (Baloun, 2018). The institution which became a popular topic of Czech, as well as international media, should be understood in the broader context of the interwar policies of assimilation and emancipation and in the space between Swiss eugenic policy of taking away the children from the Yenish families (Meier, 2007) and the USSR schools for Gypsy children (O’Keefe, 2013, pp. 66-102, cf. also Chapter 12).

Pavel Baloun

8.3 Associations

8.3.1 The Union of the Czechoslovak Gypsy Musicians

Ministerstvo vnitra Republiky československé.

V Praze, 17.IX.1927.

Čís. 5661/1927. Opis – 6.

Spolek “Unie československých cigánských hudebníků pro Č.S.R. se sídlem v Košicích.

Utvoření. Přílohy:

Policejnímu ředitelství v Košicích

Ministerstvo vnitra nemůže schváliti stanovy spolku “Unie československých cigánských hudebníků pro R.Č.S.” se sídlem v Košicích, poněvadž předložené stanovy nevyhovují spolčovacím předpisům v těchto směrech:

1. Ve stanovách nejsou uvedeny přesně všechny prostředky k dosažení účelu, jak o tom svědčí v § 4. stanov slova “všech zákonitých prostředků” a “zejména” a v bodě 13. zkratka “atd”

2. Ustanovení §u 4. bod 7. stanov, podle něhož bude spolek omezovati činnost nepovolaných jest nejasné, neboť ze stanov nelze seznat v čem má toto omezování náležeti.

3. Ustanovení §u 4. bod 12., §u 6. bod 4. stanov o “fondech” a “humánních fondech” jsou nejasná, poněvadž z nich nelze s určitostí seznati, o jaké fondy se jedná a jaký budou míti účel a právní povahu.

4. Z ustanovení §u 4. bod 9, 12, §u 13. bod 2 a §u 23 stanov, podle nichž spolek bude zřizovati “odbory” a “případné komité” nelze seznati právní povahu těchto odborů a komité, zda a které z nich budou totiž samostatné právní jednotky jako odštěpné spolky, či jde-li jen o vnitřní orgány spolkové, jaký budou míti účel, jak budou zařízeny a v čem se budou navzájem lišiti.

5. Ustanovení §u 6. bod 4. stanov, podle něhož členem přestává býti, kdo neplatí příspěvků do humánních fondů, pokud tyto jsou podle jednacích řádů pro členy povinné, nevyhovuje spolč. předpisům, podle nichž povinnosti členů musí býti ve stanovách přesně uvedeny.

6. Ustanovení §u 8. stanov o různých “společných výhodách” jest rovněž nejasné, poněvadž stanovy nemají bližších ustanovení o těchto společných výhodách.

7. Ve stanovách není přesně vymezen vzájemný obor působnosti valn. shromáždění a ústředního správního výboru, nebo podle §u 13. stanov rozhoduje valné shromáždění o veškerých záležitostech vyjímajíc přijímání členů, kdežto podle §u 17. stanov řídí ústřední správní výbor vnitřní a vnější záležitost, pokud nejsou vyhrazeny valnému shromáždění.

O tom buď jmenovaný spolek ihned na potvrzení vyrozuměn a přílohy oznámení mu vráceny s upozorněním, že jeden stejnopis stanov si ponechalo ministerstvo vnitra.

Za ministra: …

Oddělení ministerstva vnitra v Bratislavě ke zprávě ze dne 18. ledna 1927, č. 51.450/26 na vědomí.

Za ministra: …

Ministry of the Interior of the Czechoslovak Republic.

In Prague, on September 17, 1927.

No. 5661/1927. Copy – 6th.

Society “Union of the Czechoslovak Gypsy Musicians of the Czechoslovak Republic” based in Košice.

Establishment. Attachments:

To the Police Directorate in Košice

The Ministry of the Interior cannot approve the Statutes of the society “Union of the Czechoslovak Gypsy Musicians of the Czechoslovak Republic”, based in Košice, for the proposed Statutes do not comply with the regulations in these regards:

1. The Statutes do not state precisely all the means to achieve the purpose, as indicated in §4 of the Statutes, saying “all legal means” and “in particular” and in Art. 13 the abbreviation “etc”.

2. Provisions of §4 Art. 7 of the Statutes, whereby the Society will restrict the activities of the unauthorized, is unclear because it is impossible to see in the Statutes what this restriction consists of.

3. Provisions of §4 Art. 12, § 6 Art. 4 of the Statutes on “funds” and “humanitarian funds” are unclear because it is not certain what kind of funds they are and what their purpose and legal nature will be.

4. From provisions of §4 Art. 9, 12, §13 Art. 2 and §23 of the Statutes, whereby the Society will establish “divisions” and “appropriate committees”, the legal nature of these divisions and committees cannot be inferred, if and which of them will be independent legal entities as seceded societies, or whether they are internal bodies of the society, what purpose they will have and how they will be established and how they will differ from each other.

5. Provisions of §6 Art 4 of the Statutes, whereby one ceases to be a member, who does not pay contributions to humanitarian funds, if they are mandatory under the Rules of Procedure, the Society does not comply with the regulations, whereby the obligations of members must be specified in the Statutes.

6. Provisions of §8 of the Statutes on various “common advantages” are also unclear, since the Statutes do not have detailed provisions on these common advantages.

7. The Statutes do not clearly specify the mutual scope of authority of the General Assembly and the Central Administrative Committee, or under §13 of the Statutes, General Assembly decides all matters apart from the acceptance of members, whereas under §17 of the Statutes, Central Administrative Committee controls all internal and external affairs, if these are not assigned to General Assembly.

The stated Society shall be notified immediately of this and the attachments to the notice shall be returned, noting that one copy of the Statutes was retained by the Ministry of the Interior.

For the Minister: … [signature].

Ministry of the Interior Department in Bratislava to the report on 18 January 1927, no. 51.450/26 for information.

For the Minister: … [signature].

Source: SNA, f. Oddelenie Ministerstva vnútra v Bratislave (1927-1928), šk. 88.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.2 The Establishment of the Society for the Study of the Gypsy Question

Zápisnica

Napísaná na ustavujúcom valnom shromaždení Spoločnosti pre štúdium cigánskej otázky v Košiciach, v prítomnosti podpísaných na prezenčnej listine dňa 27. novembra 1930.

Schôdzu viedol a jej predsedal pán Dr. Jaroslav Stuchlík.

Predseda vítajúc prítomných sdeľuje, že otázka založenia Spol. pre štúd. cig. otázky po stránke ideovej objasnená bola na zasadnutiach prípravného výboru a na schôdzach interesantov. Spolok konštituovať treba po stránke právnej. Prosí p. inšpektora Viktora Immerglücka, aby prečítal a vysvetlil stanovy.

Tajomník prípravného výboru inšp. V. Immerglück číta cieľ spoločnosti definovaný v stanovách. Je to hlavne poskytovanie bezplatnej lekárskej porady a ambulantného ošetrenia, podávanie právnej porady a bezplatné zastupovanie Cigánov, dozor nad čistotou osôb, ubikácie, sprostredkovanie kúpeľov, pomoc pri odstraňovaní bytovej núdze, podporovanie školopovinných detí a nadaných mladíkov pri štúdiach i pri sprostredkovaní miesta u živnostníkov, pestovanie športu, hudby, zahradníctva, hospodárstva, sprostredkovanie práce atď.

Rokovacou vecou spoločnosti je štátna reč, v záujme úspešného plnenia povinností a programu prípustné sú i iné reči v štáte užívané.

Spoločnosť je spolok sociálno-humanitno-osvetového rázu, zakladá sa v Košiciach a časom založí svoje odbočky aj v iných mestách republiky.

Po prečítaní ostatných bodov stanov, hlavne pokiaľ sa týkajú vnútornej organizácie, domáceho poriadku atď., zahajuje predseda o stanovách spoločnosti debatu.

K slovu prihlásil sa pán Krik, ktorý objasňuje svoje názory, snažiac sa nimi byť spoločnosti na prospech. Jeho rady vzaté sú na vedomie, tajomník Immerglück podotýka, že spoločnosť na prípravných schôdzach rady tieto si už osvojila a pojala ich do stanov i do pripravovaného programu najbližšej činnosti.

Po doplnení stanov prevedené boly voľby, pri ktorých jednohlasne vyvolení boli:

za predsedu Dr. Jaroslav Stuchlík, za podpredsedov Dr. Jaroslav Klíma a Martin Oríšek, za tajomníka Viktor Immerglück, za zapisovateľa Anton Prídavok, za pokladníka Augustín Hesek, za účtovníka Alex Venetianer, za členov výboru: Dr. Job Ungár, Dr. Turek, Dr. Elza Zipser, Josef Smrž, Dr. Ignác Herz, Melichar Zelený, Arpád Juhász, Vojtech Ilíš, Gezjza Lévai, Helena Helclová, Eugenia Ettlová, za náhradníkov: Anton Ružička, Vojtech Krik a Vojtech Horváth.

Ustavila sa i zdravotná sekcia a do tejto zvolení boli: za predsedu Dr. Jaroslav Klíma, Dr. Štrimpl za podpredsedu, za tajomníka Stefan Ungár, za účtovníka František Balla, do výboru Dr. V. Melchner, Dr. Dezider Friedmann, Dr. Alžběta Weisová, Dr. Strambergerová, Dr. Arnold Barna, Bartolomej Forgáč, za náhradníkov Dr. Andrej Timko, Maxmilián Holubka a Hana Dunová.

Do sekcie výchovno-zábavnej zvolení boli: za predsedu Martin Oríšek, za podpredsedu Bernard Obdržálek, za tajomníka Alexander Duba, za účtovníka Gustav Simko, do výboru: Dr. Jozef Martinka, Karol Novák, Otto Lauschmann, Mária Prídavková, Albína Kynčlová, Alžběta Konečná, N. Cvilinková, Mária Dudíková, N Michalková, N. Pospíšilová a Anna Mačuhová. Za náhradníkov: Alex. Onódy, Ilona Siváková a Irma Baloghová.

Do právnej sekcie zvolení boli: za predsedu Julius Lacko, za podpredsedu Dr. Andrej Prusák, za tajomníka Dr. Ján Slabej ml., do výboru: Dr. Maxmilián Elkán, Dr. N. Preis, Dr. N. Nógrady, Dr. Robert Kresi, Dr. M. Acél a Dr. Gejza Gádor.

Za tlačových referentov: pre slovenské časopisy zvolený bol Anton Prídavok, pre nemecké Otto Lauschmann a pre maďarské Arpád Juhász.

Prítomní funkciu prijali, neprítomní o prijatie budú požiadaní písomne.

Predsedníctvo podľa svojho uznania v najbližšom čase svolá ustavujúce výborové zasadnutie, ktoré vypracuje pracovný poriadok a hľadať bude zdroje pre príjmy.

Predseda ďakuje za dôveru prejavenú pri voľbách, ďakuje v mene všetkých zvolených a sľubuje, že vynasnažia sa pracovať pre dosiahnutie vyznačeného cieľa. Prosí o podporu všetkých členov i verejnosti.

Tajomníkovi Immerglückovi za príkladné vedenie prípravných prác i na iniciativu pre toto podujatie ustavujúce shromaždenie vyslovuje zápisničné poďakovanie.

Na to bolo shromaždenie predsedom p. Drom Stuchlíkom zaklúčené.

Košice, 27. novembra 1931.

Ant[on] Prídavok, zapisovateľ: … [signature].

The Minutes

Written at the constituent General Assembly of the Society for the Study of the Gypsy Question in Košice, in the presence of the signatories of the attendance sheet on 27 November 1930.

The meeting was led and chaired by Dr. Jaroslav Stuchlík [1].

President, welcoming the attending, states that the question of establishing Society for Study of Gypsy Question was clarified ideologically during the sessions of the preparatory committee and the meetings of the interested. The Society must be constituted by law. He asks Inspector Viktor Immerglück to read out and explain the Statutes.

Secretary of the Preparatory Committee Insp. V. Immerglück reads the Society’s goal defined in the Statutes. Those are mainly the provision of free medical consultation and outpatient care, legal advice and free representation of Gypsies, supervision of personal hygiene, quarters, the arrangement of baths, assistance in the eradication of housing poverty, support for schoolchildren and gifted youngsters in studies and mediation of small business placements, the pursuit of sport, music, gardening, farming, employment, etc.

The working language of the Society is the official state language [2], for the successful fulfilment of duties and the programme, it is acceptable to use also the other languages used in the state.

The Society is an association of a socio-humanitarian-educational nature, founded in Košice, and, over time, it will establish its branches in other cities of the republic [3].

After reading the other articles of the Statutes, especially those concerning the internal organisation, the House Rules, etc., the President begins debate on the Statutes of the Company.

Mr. Krik claimed his turn, who clarified his views, trying to be beneficial for the Society. His advice is taken into account, Secretary Immerglück notes that the Society has already adopted that advice at the preparatory meetings and incorporated them into the Statutes and the forthcoming programme of the next activities as well.

After completion of the Statutes, elections were held, in which the following were elected unanimously:

President Dr. Jaroslav Stuchlík, Vice-Presidents Dr. Jaroslav Klíma [4] and Martin Oríšek, Secretary Viktor Immerglück, Keeper of Records Anton Prídavok, Treasurer Augustín Hesek, Accountant Alex Venetianer, Committee Members Dr. Job Ungár, Dr. Turek, Dr. Elza Zipser, Josef Smrž, Dr. Ignác Herz, Melichar Zelený, Arpád Juhász, Vojtech Ilíš, Gezjza Lévai, Helena Helclová, Eugenia Ettlová, Substitute Members Anton Ružička, Vojtech Krik and Vojtech Horváth.

Medical Section was established, wherein were elected: President Dr. Jaroslav Klíma, Vice-President Dr. Štrimpl [5], Secretary Stefan Ungár, Accountant František Balla, Committee Members Dr. V. Melchner, Dr. Dezider Friedmann, Dr. Alžběta Weisová, Dr. Strambergerová, Dr. Arnold Barna, Bartolomej Forgáč, Substitute Members Dr. Andrej Timko, Maxmilián Holubka and Hana Dunová.

To Education and Entertainment Section were elected: President Martin Oríšek, Vice-President Bernard Obdržálek, Secretary Alexander Duba, Accountant Gustav Simko, Committee Members Dr. Jozef Martinka, Karol Novák, Otto Lauschmann, Mária Prídavková, Albína Kynčlová, Alžběta Konečná, N. Cvilinková, Mária Dudíková, N. Michalková, N. Pospíšilová and Anna Mačuhová. Substitute Members: Alex. Onódy, Ilona Siváková and Irma Baloghová.

To Legal Section were elected: President Julius Lacko, Vice-President Dr. Andrej Prusák, Secretary Dr. Ján Slabej Jr, Committee Members Dr. Maxmilián Elkán, Dr. N. Preis, Dr. N. Nógrady, Dr. Robert Kresi, Dr. M. Acél and Dr. Gejza Gádor.

As Press Officers: for Slovak newspapers was elected Anton Prídavok, for German Otto Lauschmann and for Hungarian Arpád Juhász.

The present accepted the posts, the absent will be asked by post.

The Presidium, as it thinks fit, will shortly call a constituent committee meeting to draw up a work order and look for sources of income.

The President thanks for the trust manifested in the elections, thanks namely all the elected and promises to do their best to work towards the stated goal. He asks for support from all members and the public.

To Secretary Immerglück for an exemplary conduct of the preparatory work and for the initiative for this event, he expresses a note of thanks.

Afterwards, President Dr. Stuchlík ended the assembly.

Košice, November 27, 1931.

Ant[on] Prídavok, Keeper of Records: … [signature].

Notes

1. Jaroslav Stuchlík (1890-1967) was a Czech psychiatrist who studied in Zürich under Eugen Bleuler and in Vienna under Sigmund Freud. He published a lot of essays on psychoanalysis in Czech journals. After the First World War he became a senior doctor in the state hospital in Košice where he was employed until 1937.

2. The term ‘state language’ was an official denomination that included Czech and Slovak language.

3. No branches of the Society for Solving the Gypsy Question were ever established outside of Košice.

4. Jaroslav Klíma (1897-1942) was one of many Czech physicians who was sent to Slovakia after 1918. He was employed in the Maternity Hospital in Košice and later, in 1931, became the Chief Physician of the city of Košice. In the 1930s he left Košice for a study tour in the United States (John Hopkins School of Hygiene) and later became the head of one department of the State Institute for Public Health. He was executed by the Nazis in 1942.

5. Václav Štrimpl (1894-1942) was another Czech physician who specialized in bacteriology, immunology and epidemiology who was sent to Košice. He led the Department of Pathology at the Municipal Hospital in Košice.

Source: SNA, f. Krajinský úrad v Bratislave (1928-1939), C.1 Admin. odd. 1931, inv. č. 577, sign. KÚ-C.1-1931-8.1.2., šk. 885.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.3 The General Assembly of the Society

Valné shromaždenie spoločnosti pre štúdium a riešenie cigánskej otázky.

O spoločnosť javí sa záujem aj v cudzine.

Košice, 25. januára. – Pred viac ako rokom založený bol v Košiciach spolok, který si vzal za úkol riešiť ožehavú otázku cigánsku, zušľachťovať túto dosiaľ neoprávnene opovrhovanú rasu a spraviť z cigánov riadnych a platných členov ľudskej spoločnosti. Tak vážna otázka žiada si, pravda, riešenia na vedeckom, psychologickom a pedagogickom podklade, a preto nová ustanovizeň bola založená ako vedecká spoločnosť. V tom smere boly naviazané styky nielen s domácimi, ale aj zahraničnými záujemcami, a podarilo sa skutočne vzbudiť záujem o riešenie tejto otázky nie tak u nás doma, ako viac za hranicami. Veď na pr. boly požiadané dva nejväčšie pražské kluby, Sparta a Slávia, aby darovaly pre športový krúžok cigánov starú lobtu. Jeden klub vôbec neodpovedal, druhý odpísal, že nič nemá. Napriek podobným ťažkostiam, účinkovala spoločnosť v Košiciach dosiaľ so značným zdarom a vykazuje už niekoľko úspechov.

Včera bolo valné shromaždenie spoločnosti – škoda len, že za malej účasti, na ktorom boly podané zprávy o práci v minulom období, a predostreté námety pre ďalšie účinkovanie. Spoločnosť číta teraz 89 členov.

Pri voľbách boli zvolení: za predsedu opäť primár dr. Jar. Stuchlík, za podpredsedov nám. starostu Jozef Smrž a dr. Ungár, za jednateľa inšp. Viktor Immerglück, za pokladníka Václav Šindelář, za zapisovateľa A[nton] Prídavok. Členmi výboru dr. Elkán, dr. Szilvay, riaditeľ Kalmán, Kryl, Bihár, Kynčlová, red. Pronerová, dr. Herz, Iléš, revizormi prof. Šomvársky a red. Janeček. Za predsedov jednotlivých komisií boli zvolení: zdravotnej primár dr. Strimpl, vedeckej primár dr. Stuchlík, výchovnej a zábavnej A[nton] Prídavok, propagačnej red. Štancl, hospodárskej Krpálek, právnej dr. Sommer.

K záveru bol prijatý návrh, aby poslaneckým kruhom bol predložený návrh na zmenu zákona o potulných cigánoch, najmä na zmenu ustanovenia, ktorým odberajú sa deti rodičom.

General Assembly of the Society for the Study and Solution of the Gypsy Question.

The Society aroused interest also abroad.

Košice, 25 January – More than a year ago, a society was established in Košice, which took on a task of addressing the thorny Gypsy question, refining this hitherto unjustified race and making Gypsies due and valid members of human society. Such a serious question asks, to tell the truth, solutions based on scientific, psychological and pedagogical grounds, and therefore the new institution was founded as a scientific society. In this respect, contacts have been established not only with domestic but also foreign interested parties, and we have indeed been able to arouse interest in solving this issue not so much at home as rather abroad. After all, two of the biggest Prague sports clubs for instance, Sparta and Slavia, were asked to donate an old ball for the Gypsy sports club [1]. One club did not answer at all, the other wrote they had nothing. In spite of such difficulties, the society has so far operated with significant success and is showing several achievements.

Yesterday, the general assembly of the society met – pity there was little attendance – at which reports on the operation from the last period were presented, as well as drafts of ideas for further activitity. The society now comprises 89 members.

In elections, elected were: for President, again Chief Physician Jar[oslav] Stuchlík, for Vice-Presidents Deputy Mayor Jozef Smrž and Dr. Ungár, for Secretary [Police] Inspector Viktor Immerglück, for Treasurer Václav Šindelář, for Keeper of Records A[nton] Prídavok. Committee members Dr. [Maxmilián] Elkán, Dr. Szilvay, Director Kalmán, Kryl, Bihár, [Albína] Kynčlová, editor Pronerová, Dr. [Ignác] Herz, Iléš, Auditors Prof Šomvársky and editor Janeček. For Chairmen of the individual committees were elected: Health – Chief Physician Strimpl, Scientific – Chief Physician Stuchlík, Education and Entertainment – A[nton] Prídavok, Press – editor Štancl, Economic – Krpálek, Legal – Dr. Sommer.

In conclusion, a motion was passed to propose to the members of the parliament an amendment to the law on wandering Gypsies, in particular to amend the provision by which children are taken from their parents [2].

Notes

1. It was the Sports Club of Slovak Gypsies ‘Roma’ in Košice [ŠKSC Roma Košice] which was established in 1930 and ceased to exist in 1935 (Fiľo, 2002).

2. It was the §12 of the Czechoslovak Act No. 117/1927 On Wandering Gypsies that allowed the local authorities to ask the respective court to take away children from the families of wandering Gypsies, in case they are unable to care for and upbringing them properly. Children were supposed to be placed in orderly families or educational institutions. Based on the current research we may say that this practice was used rather sporadically. The vast majority of these cases took place in Bohemia (Baloun, 2018, pp. 195-200).

Source: [No Author]. (1932a). Valné shromaždenie spoločnosti pre štúdium a riešenie cigánskej otázky. Slovenský východ, An. 14, No. 20, 1932, January 26, p. 3.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.4 A Quarter-Hour with Chief Physician Stuchlík about the Gypsies

č. Košice, 30. januára. – Cigánska otázka, jeden z vážnych problémov našej doby, bola založením Spoločnosti v Košiciach verejnosti priblížená; považovali sme preto za vhodné, získať niekoľko informácií od predsedu tejto Spoločnosti, primára dra Stuchlíka, ktorý na naše otázky odpovedal takto:

– Ako sa prejavila činnosť Spoločnosti od založenia?

– Účinkovania Spoločnosti a zamýšľaná práca nemohly sa uspokojive rozvinúť, nakoľko cigánska otázka nie je pre nikoho otázkou prestížnou, a nikto nevyhľadáva, ba ani nemôže vyhľadávať česť v práci pre rasu dosiaľ opovrhovanú. Keby sa jednalo o Slovákov, Rusínov, či hociktorý europský národ, našlo by sa pracovníkov nadostač, efektívna činnosť Spoločnosti musí však stroskotávať už na tom, že ide o cudziu rasu, a k tomu stojacu najnižšie hospodársky, kultúrne aj mravne.

Chceli sme na pr. usporiadať cigánsku akadémiu, na ktorej by boly predvedené ukázky cigánskeho folklóru, originálne pesničky, sobáš; všetko bolo pripravené, nebolo však odborníka, ktorý by priniesol tú obeť, že by preskúšal, či sú výkony dostatočné pre vystúpenie na verejnosť. Z dvoch úkolov Spoločnosti, širšieho, všeobecného a užšieho, rázu lokálneho, vydaril sa prvý. Najďalej došlo sa vo vedeckej činnosti. Boly naviazané styky s berlínskym profesorom Friedenthalom, Margaretou Jenschovou, ktorá študovala cigánsku otázku na Spiši, a pripravuje sošit piesní, porekadiel a zvykov; záujem javí sa aj v Rumunsku. Zdravotná komisia pripravolala kartotéku a súpis chorých cigánov, [z] rad lekárov prihlásil sa k spolupráci, ale odchodom dra Klímu z Košíc všetko zastalo. V komisii kultúrnej bola cenná najmä spolupráca pí Ettlovej a Kynčlovej. Skutočné pochopenia a záujem našla Spoločnosť u mestskej rady, a zvlášť u jej členov Smrža a Krpálka. Mestu boly predložené dva návrhy: na opatrovňu a na společenské miestnosti, kde by bol pre cigánov shromažďovací sál a kúpelna. Cigáni boli ochotní kúpelňu sami postaviť, mesto malo dať len materiál. Obidva návrhy boly akceptované, bola odhlasovaná aj patričná položka, k realizácii však nedošlo pre dočasné prekážky lokálneho rázu.

– Máte Spoločnosť pre riešenie cigánskej otázky. Je cigánska otázka vôbec riešiteľná?

– Tak riešiteľná, ako by si ju Europan na sto procentov predstavoval, nie. V cigánskej rase je niečo, čo je silnejšie, ako všetky dobré úmysly. Sú to následky nomadizmu, rasovej odlišnosti a cigán bude sa dotiaľ mstiť na spoločnosti svojím spôsobom – luhaním, krádežou a pod. – dokiaľ spoločnosť bude mať pre neho len opovrženie. Cigánska otázka je však vážnou otázkou štátnou, a musí sa riešiť najlepšie usidlovaním difuzným či ghetovým. Prvému dávam prednosť, predpokladá to však zasiahnutie štátnej moci a násilné sťahovanie. Pri tom ešte treba rátať s odporom vidiečanov v dedinách. Je však potrebné podať zdeptanému národu pomocnú ruku, zriadiť kolonizačný fond a za súčinnosti úradov usídlovať cigánov jednotlive – najvýhodnejšie by to bylo v Čechách – lebo jednotlivý cigán zdomácnel by medzi prevahou bielej rasy a behom troch generácií bolo by možné očekávať priaznivý výsledok.

– A je asimilácia vôbec možná?

– Každý asimilačný problém je riešiteľný len znivočením rasy. Medzi ľuďmi rasove blízkymi je asimilácia možná, u cigáňov pôjde asi ťažko, lebo v podvedomí obidvoch rás je priveľmi silná nenávisť. I keby sa asimilácia darila, dialo by sa to len v nejnižších triedach a prinieslo by to pre národ len nebezpečné výstrelky. Takáto biologická a národná asimilácia by ťažko išla, zato je možná asimilácia pozičná, hospodárska. Možno lokálne asimilovať agrarizáciou a urbaniazmom, výchovou cigáňov na sedliakov a remeselníkov, tri generácie nechať žiť v strede usadených obyvateľov a prispôsobovať ich takto k usadlému životu.

Činnosť Spoločnosti, ako vidíte, pohybuje sa dosiaľ viac len v myšlienkách a rozhovorech, ale to je nutný predpoklad k budúcej práci a činom.

Košice, 30 January. – The Gypsy question, one of the serious problems of our time, was brought to the public by the establishment of the Society in Košice; we thus found it appropriate to obtain some information from the President of this Society, Chief Physician Stuchlík, who answered our questions as follows:

– What impact has the Society had since its establishment?

– The effect of the Society and the intended work could not develop satisfactorily, as the Gypsy question is not yet a prestigious one for anybody, and no one seeks, nor can seek, honour in working for a race so far despised. If they were Slovaks, Ruthenians, or any European nation, there would be workers enough, but an effective activity of the Society is seen to be wrecked by the sole fact that it is a foreign race and, on top of that, the lowest one economically, culturally and morally.

For example, we wanted to organize a Gypsy academy, where we would present examples of Gypsy folklore, original songs, a wedding; everything was ready, but there was no expert, who would bring the sacrifice of rehearsing whether the performances are satisfactory for performing in public. Out of two tasks of the Society, a broader, universal and a narrower, local one, the former was successful. The scientific activities have been furthered the most. We made connections with Berlin professor Friedenthal [1] and Margareta Jensch [2], who studied the Gypsy question in Spiš and is preparing a book of songs, adages and customs; there is an interest also in Romania. The Health Committee prepared card files and listing of ill Gypsies, a doctor agreed to collaborate, but with Dr. Klíma having left Košice everything has fallen behind. Collaboration of Mrs. Ettlová and Kynčlová in the Cultural Committee was particularly valuable. The City Council gave the Society true understanding and interest, especially their members Smrž and Krpálek. The City was presented with two proposals: foster care and common room, which would consist of an assembly hall and a bathroom. Gypsies were willing to build the bathroom themselves, the City was only supposed to provide material. Both the proposals were accepted, a due motion was passed, but they were not realised for temporary obstacles of a local nature.

– Yours is a Society for the Solution of the Gypsy Question. Does the Gypsy question actually have a solution?

– To the full extent as imagined by the Europeans, it is not. There is something stronger in the Gypsy race, which is stronger than any good intentions. That is the result of nomadism, race difference, and the Gypsy until today wreaks revenge on the society in his own way – lying, stealing, and so on – until the society continues to have only contempt for them. But the Gypsy question is a state question, and it has to be solved by diffusion or ghetto settlement. I prefer the former, which, however, presupposes an intervention of the state power and forced migration. At the same time, one should anticipate resistance of the villagers. Nevertheless, it is necessary to extend a helping hand, establish a colonization fund and, in collaboration with the authorities, settle the Gypsies individually – the most favourable would be Bohemia – for an individual Gypsy would domesticate among the majority of white race and, in three generations, a positive result could be expected.

– And is assimilation actually possible?

– The only solution of every assimilation problem is the destruction of race [3]. People racially close can be assimilated, Gypsies probably harder, because the subconsciousness of both the races contains a very strong hatred. Even if assimilation was successful, it would be possible only among the lowest classes and it would bring dangerous excesses for the nation. Such a biological and national assimilation would be difficult, yet assimilation that is positional or economic is possible. A local assimilation is possible by agrarization, urbanism, re-education of Gypsies into farmers and craftsmen, letting three generations live amidst a settled population and in that way adapting them to a settled life.

The Society’s activities, as you can see, show so far rather only in thoughts and interviews, but that is a necessary prerequisite to future work and action.

Notes

1. Hans Wilhelm Carl Friedenthal (1870-1943) was an anthropologist and physiologist who taught at the University of Berlin. He was one of the premiere proponents of Darwinism among German anthropologists (Zimmermann, 2001, p. 214). Among others, he published a book under the tittle Menschheitskunde in 1927.

2. It is unclear who Margeret Jensch was and if she published the mentioned book.

3. Here, Stuchlík slightly opposed the opinion of Czech anthropologist František Štampach (1895-1969) who was regarded as the main expert on Gypsies in Czechoslovakia. Štampach argued for assimilation between members of the Czechoslovak nation and Gypsies which he understood in biological terms. Štampach also opposed the idea of establishing special schools for Gypsy children. According to him, such a practice would only lead to creating the Gypsy nation instead of desired assimilation (Štampach, 1929, pp. 48-49), i.e. dissolution of the alleged Gypsy difference.

Source: [No Author]. (1932b). Štvrť hodiny s primárom drom Stuchlíkom o cigánoch. Slovenský východ, An. 14, No. 25, 1932, January 31, p. 2.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.5 Social and Educational Activities of the State Police in Košice

Minula už doba, keď polícia slúžila len istej čiastke obyvateľstva. Najlepším dôkazom toho, aký veľký je rozdiel medzi činnosťou polície bývalého starého režimu a polície nášho štátu, je sociálna a osvetová činnosť košickej polície, ktorá nekoná len to, čo jej nariaďujú platné zákony a nariadenia, ale pracuje aj vo voľnom čase k zdokonaleniu ľudstva. Po tejto stránke bolo vykonané už mnoho.

V Košiciach, kde je vyšej 3000 trvale usadených cigánov, až do nedávnej doby považovaných za príťaž mesta a ostatných obyvateľov, nebolo pre tieto čierne obyvatele vykonané nič. Nik nestaral sa o cigánov, že či navštevujú školy, ako žijú a bývajú a len pri voľbách boli veľmi dobrým materiálom pre protištátne živly. Košickí cigáni sú z väčšej čiastky hudobníkmi a rôznymi remeslníkmi, ako: kováči, kotlári, zámočníci, záhradníci a pod., a istá časť živí sa výnosom z obchodov (predaj citronov, pomerančov, česneku, chrenu a galanterným tovarom, ovšem v malom rozsahu). Majetnější cigáni obývajú aj svoje vlastné domky a ostatní pak v rôznych budách na periferii mesta. Celá jedna štvrť Košic obývaná výhradne len cigánmi, nazývá sa “Tábor”. Táto štvrť založená bola začiatkom 15. storočia husitským vojskom. Ako v predu uvedené boli cigáni už do nedávna považovaní za ľud menejcenný a ku škode druhým a kultúrne pod úroveň človeka.

V roku 1928 založený bol v Košiciach spolok pod názvom “Spoločnosť pre štúdium a riešenie cigánskej otázky”, ktorý veľmi účinne a s úspechom zasiahol do cigánskeho života. Zriadil opatrovňu pre cigánske deti, mliečnu akciu pre kojencov a matky, založil pevecký, hudobný a dramatický krúžok cigánskej mládeže. Práca táto vyžaduje veľmi mnoho voľného času a energie jednotlivcov a tiež finančných obeti ľudomilov. Na čele spoločnosti je primár štátnej nemocnice pán MUDr. Jaroslav Stuchlík, tajomníkom a dušou spolku obvodný inšpektor civilnej stráže Viktor Immerglück, ktorý dal podnet k založeniu uvedenej spoločnosti. Policejný oficiál Václav Šindelář je pokladníkom a aj ostatní funkcionári sú z rad policajného zamestnanectva. Ako v predu uvedená stará sa spoločnosť o kojence a školopovinné deti cigánske, po stránke mravnej, sociálnej a osvetovej, o zamestnanie pre deti škole odrastlé. Behom času nadobudnutou skúsenosťou prišlo sa k názoru, že takto nemôže byť zakončená práca, ktorá vyžiaduje toľko námahy a sebaobetovania, a preto bolo nútno sdružiť a pokiaľ možno udržať pohromade školou nepovinné cigánske deti, odrastlú mládež, ako aj dospelých.

Snaha, povzniesť cigánov na vyššiu mravnú a kultúrnu úroveň, vymaniť sa z maďarského smýšlania a vzbudiť pre nich smyseľ pre sbliženie s ostatnými ľudmi ako aj záujem o čistotu a telovýchovu, viedla k založeniu cigánskeho športového klubu v Košiciach. Založený, schválený a v československom sväzu footballovom riadne registrovaný klub nesie meno: “Športový klub slovenských cigánov “Roma” v Košiciach”. Názov spolku “Roma” je vzatý z cigánskej reči, v ktorej značí slovo “človek”, čo odpovedá zásadám, ktoré viedly k založeniu menovaného klubu, t. j. urobiť z cigána človeka ľudskej spoločnosti užitočného. V tomto športovom klube pokračuje sa v ďalšej všestrannej výchove započatej “Spoločnosťou pre štúdium a riešenie cigánske otázky v Košiciach”.

Cigán svojou vrodenou povahou veľmi hravý a preto v našom športovom klubu cíti sa skutočne ako doma. U cigánov vrodená až sluhovská podmanenosť prispieva ku príkladnej disciplíne klubovej, čomu možno pripísať veľmi pekné úspechy, docielené behom necelého roku jestvovania klubu, jak vo footballe, tak aj v iných odvetviach športu. Footballová jedenáctka ŠKSC Roma v Košiciach má toľko nabídok k sohraniu priateľských footballových zápasov, že ani nemôže všetkým vyhoveť. Neobyčajný záujem o klub možno si vysvetliť tým, že náš klub je ako cigánsky riadne registrovaný až dosiaľ jedinečným na svete a tiež výsledky sohraných záposoch sú na tak krátku dobu veľmi prekvapujúce. Okrem Slovenska a Podkarpatskej Rusi javí sa záujem o klub aj v zahraničí. Medzi inými nabídkami od cudzích štátov dostal ŠKSC Roma Košice pozvanie k zájazdu do Baltických štátov a sice do Litvy, Lotyšska, Estonska a Finska k sohraniu 7 – sedmi – priateľských footballových zápasov. Pre toto tourneé su sjednané presné záväzky, a to v dobe od 20. júna do 15. júla 1933, nielen pre football, ale tiež pre usporiadanie 5 – päti – koncertov klubovou kapelou, lebo cigáni okrem footballu ovládzajú tiež výborne hudobné nástroje.

V dobe, kedy bol klub založený, nebolo vo verejnosti pre takúto prácu veľké porozumenie, takmer každý vysmieval sa a dokazoval funkcionárom, že cigán nedá sa nikdy vychovať a že zostane vždy len takým, akým od pradávna bol, to je cigánom. Dnes je už smyšlanie iné. Klub získal si nielen priateľstvo iných športových klubov, ale aj velké sympatie verejnosti a funkcionári uznanie za vykonanú prácu. Žurnalistika veľmi pochvaľne dokumentuje úspechy klubu.

Nutno zdôrazniť, že začiatky boly veľmi ťažké jak po stránke technickej, tak aj ostatných. Z prihlásivších sa hráčov nebol ani jeden športovcom, chýbaly akékoľvek finančné prostriedky, trenningové zápasy odbývajú sa na vzdialenom vojenskom cvičišti, alebo na drhovisku (klub nemá vlastného športového hríska), 39 registrovaných hráčov nezaplatilo až dosiaľ pre svoju nemajetnosť ani časť členských príspevkov a preca ŠKSC Roma bol jediným klubom vo Východoslovenskej župe footballovej, ktorý mal za rok 1932 zaplatené všetky poplatky bez akejkoľvek subvencie lebo inej verejnej podpory.

V zimných mesiacoch, keď športový odbor nevyvíjal činnosť, pracoval výbor kultúrny a zábavný tiež s veľmi pekným úspechom. Boly usporiadané dve prednášky a dva klubové plesy, ktoré všestranne sa vydarily. Na plesu prevedená bola voľba královny a dvoch královniček, a ako z obrázkov vidno, sú zvolené cigánky skutočne veľmi pekné. Napriek tomu, že mena ich sú spoločne, nie sú v príbuzenskom pomere.

Veľku zásluhu o klub získal si predseda klubu pán MUDr. Jaroslav Klíma, bývalý hlavný náčelný lékar mesta Košic, a jeho odchodom do štátneho zdravotného ústavu v Prahe stratili sme skutočného pracovníka a zastánca klubu. Jeho funkciu prevzal I. miestopredseda pán nadporučík Bažata, ktorý ako starý športový pracovník snaží sa pokial možno nahradiť neprítomného predsedu. Trennerom klubu je agilný športový pracovník známy internacional a bývalý hráč First Vienna pán Švejda, hlavný kancelársky ofic., prednosta ohlašovacieho oddelenia policajného riaditeľstva. Funkciu tajomníka a výpravčieho vykonáva od počiatku osvedčený pracovník Václav Čížek, obvodný inšpektor civilnej stráže bezpečnosti, ktorý svojou húževnatou pracou dokazuje, že v každom prostredí nechá sa s úspechom pracovať. Aj iné funkcie konajú zamestnanci policajného riaditeľstva. Účtovník pán František Macek, hlavný kanc. ofic., schraňuje organizačné imanie, pokladník pán okresný inšpektor Jozef Šimek teší sa z finančných úspechov, revizor účtov pán okresný inšpektor Emanuel Pompl nekoná len revíziu pokladny a knih, ale pracuje všestranne v prospech klubu. Zapisovateľ pán Jozef Vacek, obvodný inšpektor, ktorý ešte pred rokom nevedel, čo je život spolkový, snaží sa svojou pilnosťou dokázať, akú radosť pôsobí mu práca v športovom klubu.

ŠKSC Roma Košice má ku dnešnému dni okrem 39 registrovaných footballových hráčov a 6 athletov pre ľahkú athletiku výšej 100 členov činných a prispievajúcích, ktorí svojou prihláškou do klubu dokumentovali pochopenia o nútnosti sociálnej a osvetovej činnosti medzi cigánmi.

Veľmi pekné výsledky započatej práce potvrdzuje úradná štatistika, dľa ktorej zločinnosť medzi cigánmi v roku 1932 poklesla, i v prípadoch malých policajných priestupkoch, čo je už prvý veľký úspech vykonanej práce niekoľko jednotlivcov. Súčasne povzniesla sa u cigánov dôvera k československej verejnosti i k úradom. Záujom o cigánskou otázku sa pomocou a prostredníctvom športu, prednášok a rôznou osvetovou činnosťou stále zväčšuje a preto možno dúfať, že pomocou československej verejnosti a podporou štátnych a verejných úradov docieli sa toho, aby cigáni stali sa užitočnými občanmi nášho štátu. Nutno zdôrazniť, že ešte pred rokom nebolo možné jednotlivým funkcionárom v štátnej reči s cigánmi sa dorozumeť, dnes každý cigán športovec zná veľmi pekne slovensky. Preto už len po tejto stránke bolo vykonáno mnoho.

Do našich rad vítame každého organizačního pracovníka, ako aj tých, ktorí majú pochopenie pre socialnu a osvetovú činnosť medzi cigánmi. Prihlášky prijíma Václav Čížek, tajomník ČKSC Roma Košice, policajné riaditeľstvo.

Gone is a time when police served only a certain segment of the population. The best proof of the great difference between the activities of the former police of the old regime and our state police is the social and educational activities of the Košice police, which do not perform only what is required by applicable laws and regulations, but also work in leisure time on the improvement of humanity. Much has been done in this respect.

In Košice, where there are 3,000 permanently settled Gypsies, until recently regarded as a burden to the city and other residents, nothing has been done for these black inhabitants. No one has cared about the Gypsies, whether they attend schools, how they live and reside, and only at election time they have been a very good material for anti-state elements. Košice Gypsies are, for the most part, musicians and various craftsmen, such as blacksmiths, cauldron-makers, locksmiths, gardeners, etc., and some live on business revenues (selling lemons, oranges, garlic, horseradish and haberdashery, but just to a small extent). The wealthier Gypsies also occupy their own houses, and the others live in different shanties on the outskirts of the city. One entire district of Košice, inhabited solely by Gypsies, is called “Tábor” [1]. This quarter was founded at the beginning of the 15th century by the Hussite army. As stated before, until recently, Gypsies were considered inferior people, to others’ disadvantage and culturally beneath a man.

In 1928, an association called “Society for the Study and Solution of the Gypsy Question” was established in Košice, which has stepped in the Gypsy life with much effect and success. It set up a nursing home for Gypsy children, a milk action for infants and mothers, founded a choir, music and theatre club for Gypsy youth. This work requires a lot of free time and energy of individuals and also financial sacrifice of philanthropists. The head of the society is the state hospital senior doctor, MUDr. Jaroslav Stuchlík, secretary and soul of the society is district police [2] inspector Viktor Immerglück, who initiated the founding of the society. Police administrative official Václav Šindelář is a treasurer, and other functionaries are from the police ranks, too. As mentioned above, the society takes care of Gypsy infants and schoolchildren in moral, social and educational terms, and of the employment of young people. The experience acquired over time led to the conclusion that this could not be the end of the work requiring so much effort and self-sacrifice, and it was, therefore, necessary to unite and, if possible, keep together the out-of-school Gypsy children, grown-up youth, as well as the adults.

The effort to elevate the Gypsies to a higher moral and cultural level, to break them free from the Hungarian mindset and to arouse the sense of rapprochement with other people, as well as an interest in cleanliness and physical education, led to the establishment of a Gypsy sports club in Košice. Established, approved and in the Czechoslovak Football Union duly registered, the club bears the name: “Sports Club of Slovak Gypsies ‘Roma’ in Košice” [3]. The name of the club “Roma” is taken from the Gypsy language, in which it means “man”, which corresponds to the principles that led to the establishment of the named club, i. e. make a Gypsy into a man useful to human society. This sports club continues in further comprehensive education commenced by the “Society for the Study and Solution of the Gypsy Question in Košice”.

The Gypsy is by his innate nature very playful and therefore feels really at home in our sports club. Gypsies’s congenital, almost servile, subjugation contributes to an exemplary club discipline, which attributes to very nice achievements, made in less than a year of the club’s existence, both in football and in other sport disciplines. The football team SCSG Roma in Košice has so many offers to play friendly football matches that they cannot satisfy all. The extraordinary interest in the club can be explained by the fact that our club, as the only properly registered Gypsy one, is so far unique in the world and also the results of the played matches are very surprising in such a short time. Apart from Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, there is an interest in the club from abroad, too. Among other offers from foreign countries, SCSG Roma Košice was invited to travel to the Baltic States, namely to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland to play 7–seven–friendly football matches. Concrete commitments have been made for this tour, from 20 June to 15 July 1933, not only for football, but also for the organisation of 5–five –concerts by the club band, since Gypsies, apart from football, are great instrument players.

At the time the club was founded, there was no great public understanding for such work, almost everybody was ridiculing it and proving to the officials that a Gypsy could never be educated and that he would always remain just as he was, a Gypsy. The way of thinking today is different. The club won not only the friendship of other sports clubs, but also a great public sympathy, and functionaries won recognition for the work done. Journalism praisefully documents the club’s achievements.

It should be emphasised that the beginnings were very difficult in technical and other respects. None of the enrolled players was a sportsman, there were no funds, training matches took place at a remote military training ground, or at the market (the club lacks an own pitch), 39 enrolled players have not, until now, payed, due to their destitution, even a part of the member fees, yet SCSG Roma was the only club in the East Slovak football county, which payed all its dues for 1932 without any subsidies or other public support.

In the winter months, when the Sports Department did not operate, the Cultural and Entertainment Committee also worked with a great success. Two lectures and two club balls were organised, which were an overall success. At the ball, there was an election of the queen and two princesses, and as can be seen in the pictures, the elected Gypsy girls are truly beautiful. Although they share their names, they are not in a family relationship.

A great credit for the contribution to the club is claimed by its president, MUDr. Jaroslav Klíma, the former chief physician of the city of Košice, whose transfer to the state health institute in Prague meant for us a loss of a true worker and advocate of the club. His function was taken over by the First Vice-President, Lieutenant Bažata, who, as an old sports worker, tries to, if possible, substitute for the absent president. The club’s coach is an agile sports worker, known internationally, and a former player of First Vienna, Mr. Švejda [4], chief administrative official, head of the reporting department of the police directorate. The function of secretary and dispatcher has been carried out since the beginning by a well-proven worker, Václav Čížek, a district police inspector, who, with his tenacious work, proves that one can work with success in every environment. Other positions are held by the employees of the police directorate. Accountant Mr. František Macek, chief administrative official, keeps organisational capital; treasurer, district inspector Jozef Šimek, enjoys financial success; account inspector, district inspector Emanuel Pompl, does not only review the cash register and books, but works generally in favour of the club. The keeper of records, Jozef Vacek, district inspector, who only a year ago did not know what community life is, is trying to prove, with his diligence, his joy of working in a sports club.

SCSG Roma Košice has, to this day, apart from 39 registered football players and 6 light athletes, more than 100 members active and contributing, whose application to the club evidences their understanding of the necessity of social and educational activities among Gypsies.

Very good results of the work commenced is corroborated by official statistics, according to which, in 1932, the crime among Gypsies decreased, including the cases of small police offences, which is already the first great success of the work achieved by a few individuals. At the same time, the confidence of the Gypsies in the Czechoslovak public and the authorities has risen. The interest in the Gypsy question is increasing with the help of and through sport, lectures and various educational activities, and therefore there is hope that with the help of the Czechoslovak public and the support of state and public authorities, Gypsies can become useful citizens of our state. It should be emphasised that, even a year ago, it was not possible for individual officials to communicate with the Gypsies in the official language, today, every Gypsy sportsman knows Slovak very well. Therefore, much has been done in this respect alone.

We welcome every organisational worker in our ranks, as well as those who have an understanding of social and educational activities among Gypsies. Applications are accepted by Václav Čízek, secretary of SCSG Roma Košice, police directorate.

Notes

1.Tábor (Camp) was an official name of one quarter in Košice which was established probably during the 19th century. In 1900 almost three thousand inhabitants lived in Tábor whereas only 474 inhabitants of the whole city were counted as Gypsies in 1893 and not all of them lived in Tábor (Jurová, 2013, p. 30). The Gypsies, thus, clearly consisted only a very small part of the Tábor’s inhabitants even in the interwar period. The author’s statement that Tábor is inhabited “solely by Gypsies” shows how the city poor were ethnicised and racialised in the imagination of the Czechoslovak policemen.

2. The Czechoslovak police force consisted of the State Police which was located in bigger cities as well as the Gendarmerie charged with keeping public order in the countryside. In 1920 the Police Directorate of the State Police was established in Košice.

3. The Sports Club of Slovak Gypsies ‘Roma’ in Košice ceased to exist in March 1935 when the club was renamed to ŠK Sparta Košice after a series of crushing losses and attracted only non-Romani players (Fiľo, 2002, p. 54).

4. František Švejda came from a Czech family who lived in Vienna where he played soccer in various local football clubs. After 1919 when he moved to Slovakia, he helped establish several local football clubs such as ŠK Liptovský Sv. Mikuláš and ŠK Slávia Košice (Fiľo, 2002, p. 49).

Source: [No Author]. (1933). Sociálna a osvetová činnost košickej policie. Československý detektiv, An. 5, No. 8, 1933, June 1, pp. 38-39.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.6 A Letter to the City Council in Košice (1)

Predmet: Lavutarisz kultúrny a sociálny spolok Cigánov na Slovensku so sídlom v Košicicach, prosba o prenajatie spolkovej miestnosti.

Mestskej rade v Košiciach

Predsednictvo v predmeteuvedeného spolku úctive prosí slávnu mestsku Radu, o pridelenej jednej spolkovej miestnosti v niektorej mestskej budove, pre spolkové účely.

Svoju prosbu dovolujeme si odôvodniť takto:

Spolok si vzal za úkol kultúrne vzdelavať a sociálne pomáhať Cigánom. V Košiciach, kde máme do 2000 Cigánov, ktorí žijú v tej najväčšej biede a ich detí sú bez obuvy a šat, chceme týmto aspoň čiastočne v ich biede pomahať a kultúrne ich vzdelávať. Z toho dôvodu zariadili sme do našeho programu rôzne poučné prednášky a kurzy/kurz Slovenčiny, kurzy ručných prác, atď./ avšak doteraz nemame svojej miestnosti, kde by sme sa mohli schádzať. Svoje schôdzky svolávame do hostincoch, čo vyzerá tak, ako by sme Cigánov priučovali ešte viac k pitiu alkoholu.

Iste, že slávna mestská Rada v Košiciach pochopí našu opravnenú požiadavku a najde pre nás v niektorom mestskom objekte vhodnú miestnosť, kde by sme mohli aspoň čiastočne našu ťažkú prácu započať, lebo nie sme ešte tak finančne situovaní, aby sme si mohli prenajať v súkromnom dome spolkové miestnosti a tiež žiaden majiteľ domu by nám vo svojom dome miestnosť neprenajal, poneváč sa najde ešte veľmi malo ľudí, ktorí by mali pre tak ťažku obetavú prácu pocho[nie] a pozerajú na Cigánov, ako by boli vyvrhlíci ľudskej spoločnosti. Keď sa však najdu jednotlivci idealistí, ktorí celý svoj volný čas obetujú spolkovým vecám, nemajú však možnosť, aby mohli i finančne podporovať ten spolok, nakoľko ich požitky alebo zárobok je tak malý, že nestačí ani pre ich rodinu.

Nemôžeme sa však lahostejne na to pozerať, keď v tak kultúrnom štáte ako je naša Československá republika, bolo na Slovensku 40.000 Cigánov vyradených z ľudskej spoločnosti a odkázaných len na seba. Tu by bolo už na čase, aby pre túto otázku bolo viac porozumenia zo strany úradov a tiež jednotlivcov, keď sa už osobne nechcu súčastniť tejto ťažkej práci, aby aspoň finančne a svojimi dobrými radami pomahali tým, ktorí sa pre túto prácu z lásky venujú.

Dufajuc, že slávna mestská Rada v Košiciach, láskave uzná našu opravnenú a súrnu požiadavku a najde pre nás vhodnú miestnosť. Za priaznivé vybavenie našej úctivej prosby už vopred ďakujeme a znamename sa

s výrazom dokonalej úcty:

v Košiciach, dňa 22. oktobra 1936.

Gabriel Kríž, t. č. Predseda: … [signaturre].

Elemír Sivák, za tajomnika: … [signature].

Subject: Lavutarisz Cultural and Social Society of Gypsies in Slovakia based in Košice, pleading for renting a room for the community.

To the City Council of Košice

The Presidium of the aforesaid society asks with respect the glorious City Council to allocate one common room in one of the city buildings for the society’s purposes.

Let us justify our request as follows:

The society took on the task of culturally educating and socially helping the Gypsies. In Košice, where we have up to 2,000 Gypsies [1], who live in the greatest poverty and their children have no shoes and clothes, we want to, at least partially, help them in their misery and educate them culturally. For this reason, we have included in our programme a variety of educational lectures and courses /courses in Slovak, handicraft courses etc./, but we do not yet have an own room, where we could meet. We call our meetings to pubs, which looks as if we were teaching Gypsies to drink even more alcohol.

We are sure that the glorious City Council of Košice will understand our rightful request and find us a suitable room in a city building, where we could at least partially begin our hard work, since we are not yet that well-off to be able to rent a common room in a private house and, also, no house owner would rent us a room in his house, since there is only very few people who would have understanding for such hard, selfless work, and they look at Gypsies as if they were outcasts of human society. However, when there appear idealist individuals, who sacrifice their entire free time to an association, they lack the opportunity to financially support the association, as their incomes or earnings are so small that they are not enough even for their family.

We cannot, however, stand idly by, when, in such a cultured state as our Czechoslovak Republic, there were 40,000 Gypsies [2] excluded from human society and thrown back on their own resources. It is high time that more understanding for this issue were provided by the authorities and individuals, too, once they do not want to participate in this difficult work, to at least help, financially and with their good advice, those, who are devoted to that work out of love.

We hope that the glorious City Council in Košice will kindly accept our rightful and urgent request and will find for us a suitable room. We thank in advance for an affirmative settlement of our kind request and we bid farewell

with an expression of utmost respect:

in Košice, on 22 October 1936.

Gabriel Kríž, at the time President: … [signature].

Elemír Sivák, in the name of the Secretary … [signature].

Notes

1. According to the state census in 1930 only 237 inhabitants of the city of Košice were counted as Gypsies by their nationality. Another 1347 Gypsies lived in the District Košice-Country (Sčítání lidu, p. 79). However, according to the special police census of Gypsies carried out in 1924 on the territory of the Czechoslovak Republic by the local police authorities 771 Gypsies lived in the city Košice and 2361 lived in the District Košice-Country (Nečas, 1989, p. 216).

2. According to the state census in 1930 only 31,100 inhabitants on the territory of the Province of Slovakia were Gypsies (Sčítání lidu, 1930, p. 79).

Source: AMK, f. Municipálne mesto Košice (1939-1944), inv. č. 104, šk. 8, sp. č. II. 22636/39.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Ttranslated by Martin Babička.

8.3.7 A Letter to the City Council in Košice (2)

Slávnej Mestskej Rade v Košiciach.

K tamojšiemu dožiadaniu číslo 30.6§1/IV m. rady/36 zo dňa 23. oktobra 1936 sdeľujeme toto:

bod 1. Spolok se nazýva: “Lavutarisz, kultúrny a sociálny spolok Cigánov na Slovensku so sídlom v Košiciach”. Viď spolkové razitko.

bod 2. Cielom spolku je: pracovať medzi slovenskými cigáňmi na zvýšení mravnej kultúrnej a sociálnej úrovne života duševného i spoločenského. Pracovať k svornému spolupôsobeniu všetkých príslušníkov národa československého bez rozdielu vierovyznania a politického presvedčenia na poli kultúrnom, sociálnom i hospodárskom vzájomných predsudkov a prekážok súžitia. Poskytovať členom spolku v rôznych prípadoch žiadané rady a pomoci v smeru mravnom, kultúrnom, sociálnom, národohospodárskom a hmotne ich podporovať. Vychovávať dorast spolku vo smere mravnom a kultúrnom. Spolok je nepoliticky.

bod 3. Sídlom spolku sú Košice.

bod 4. Jedna dočasná miestnosť v rozmere 20 x 4 m na Moldavskej triede čís. 14 v hostinci p. Prestla.

bod 5. Doteraz 525 prihlasených členov.

bod 6. Nakolko nemáme len jeden exemplar stanov, odošleme dodatočne po odpisaní. Dovolujeme si podotknúť, že stanovy boly schválené Krajinským úradom v Bratislave pod číslom 201.213/8-1936 v mesaci júni 1936.

bod 7. Spolok okrem malých obrazov p. Prezidenta-Osvoboditela a p. Prezidenta dra E. Beneša v cene asi 15 Kč nemá žiadneho majetku.

bod 8. Členovia predsedníctva sú:

  • Predseda Gabriel Kríž, pol. obv. inšp.[policajný obvodný inšpektor], Karpatská ul. 38

  • I. m. predseda, Max Holub, Pišťalná ul. čís. 3

  • II. m. predseda, Alojz Horváth, Idanská ul. čís. 25

  • Predseda hudobného odboru, Jozef Pačay, pol. sudca

  • Zapisovatel, Elemir Sivák, Hodlarská ul. čís. 25

  • Pokladník, Koloman Pačanovský, štát. učiteľ, Mäsiarska 55

  • Miesto pokladník, Frant. Gábor, Bernolákov ául. 15 a

  • 12 členov výboru a 2 revizori účtov.

bod 9. Spolok doteraz sa zaoberá organizovaním dalších členov, prevádza rôzne intervencie u úradoch v záujme svojho členstva, má v svojom programe usporiadavanie divadelných predstavení, kurzov slovenčiny, ručných prác, prednášok, ale nakoľko nemá žiadnych finančných prostriedkov ani len na najnutnejšie potreby, nemohol so svojou prácou započať.

Podotýkáme, že sme usporiadali dňa 27. oktobra u príležitosti národného sviatku slávnosť, na ktorej učinkovali okrem slávnostného rečnika, výlučne naší členovia a členky Cigáni, o ktorej posudok môže podať Osvetový sbor mesta Košic, nakoľko bol tam prítomný jeho zástupce a tiež zástupce policajného riaditeľstva.

bod 10. Nakoľko Cigáni nemali doteraz žiadnu svoju organizaciu, kde by bylo mohli si predniesť svoje ťažkosti a tiež ako iní ľudia sa i kultúrne vzdelávať, politické strany ich poznaly len pred volbami a lakaly ich všelijakými slubami, aby na ních hlasovali a keď bolo po voľbách a prišiel taký cigán do sekretariatu tej lebo onej strany, nikto sa ho nezastal, ba ešte bol aj vyhodeny von. Z týchto dôvodov si založili svoj vlastný spolok, aby si mohli sami vzájomne pomáhať.

Spolok však je ešte len v začiatkoch, lebo sa utvoril 5. júna 1936 a nemohol ešte žiadne divy ukázať, poneváč nema ani k tomu potrebných prostriedkov. Členovia spolku sú vo väčšine prípadoch bez zamestnania, takže nemôžu ani len členské príspevky riadne platiť. Podporu doteraz sme od nikoho žiadnu nedostali, nie je preto divu, že sa nemôžeme našej práci venovať tak, ako by sme chceli.

Dufajúc, že slávna Rada mesta Košíc našie opravnené dôvody láskave uzná a nám požiadovanú podporu udelí.

Znamename sa s výrazom dokonalej úcty:

V Košiciach, 3. novembra 1936.

Za

Gabriel Kríž, t. č. Predeseda: … [signature].

Elemír Sivák, za tajomníka: … [signature].

To the Glorious City Council in Košice.

On request No. 30.6 §1/IV C. Council/36 from October 23. 1936, we report the following:

1. The Society is called: “Lavutarisz, Cultural and Social Society of Gypsies in Slovakia Based in Košice”. See the Society’s stamp.

2. The aim of the Society is: to work among Slovak Gypsies for an increasement of the moral, cultural and social level of both mental and social life. To work towards coherent cooperation of all members of the Czechoslovak nation without distinction of religious and political beliefs in the field of cultural, social and economic prejudices and obstacles to coexistence. To provide the members of the Society with advice required in various cases in moral, cultural, social, economic regards and with material support. To educate the Society’s youth morally and culturally. The Society is apolitical.

3. The Society is based in Košice.

4. One temporary room of 20 × 4 m on Moldavská street no. 14 in Mr. Prestl’s pub.

5. 525 registered members up to now.

6. As we have only one specimen of the Statutes, we will send them subsequently after the reply. Please note that the Statutes were approved by the Regional Office in Bratislava under the No. 201.213 / 8-1936 in June 1936.

7. The Society, apart from small paintings of Mr. President-Liberator [1] and Mr. President Dr. E. Beneš in the price of about 15 crowns, has no property.

8. Members of the Presidium are:

  • President Gabriel Kríž, District Police Inspector, Karpatská st. 38

  • First Vice-President, Max Holub, Pišťalná st. no. 3

  • Second Vice-President, Alojz Horváth, Idanská ul. no. 25

  • Head of Music Department, Jozef Pačay, police judge

  • Keeper of Records, Elemir Sivák, Hodlarská st. no. 25

  • Treasurer, Kolomar Pacanovsky, state school teacher, Mäsiarska 55

  • Deputy Treasurer, Frant. Gábor, Bernoláková st. 15 and

  • 12 Committee Members and 2 Auditors.

9. The Society has so far been involved in organizing other members, organizes various intercessions with the authorities in the interest of its membership, its programme contains the organisation of theatre performances, Slovak language courses, handiwork, lectures, but because it has no financial resources for the essentials alone, it could not start its work.

We add that, on 27 October at the occasion of the national holiday, we organised a celebration where, apart from the ceremonial speaker, only our Gypsy members performed, review of which can be supplied by the Educational Department of the City of Košice, as there was their representative, as well as a representative of the police directorate.

10. As the Gypsies have not yet had any organisation where they could present their difficulties and be educated culturally as other people, the political parties have taken them into consideration only before the elections and they would be attracting them with all sorts of promises to vote for them, and when it was after the elections and such a Gypsy would come to the secretariat of this or that party, no one would stand up for him, and he would be even thrown out. For these reasons, they have set up their own society to be able to help each other.

The Society is, however, still in the beginnings, since it was founded on 5 June 1936 and could not show any wonders yet, for it does not have the necessary resources. The members of the Society are in most cases unemployed, so they cannot even pay the membership fees properly. We have not received any support from anyone yet, so it is no wonder we cannot do our job the way we want it to be.

Hoping that the glorious City Council will kindly recognise our justified reasons and grant us the support we have requested.

With the expression of utmost respect,

In Košice, November 3, 1936.

On behalf of

Gabriel Kríž, at the time President: … [signature].

Elemír Sivák, as Secretary: … [signature].

Notes

1. ‘President the Liberator’ was a popular term used for the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937) who became a subject of a specific cult of personality which interconnected the former monarchist cult of the Habsburg emperor with new national and republican symbols and ideas of Czechoslovakia.

Source: AMK, f. Municipálne mesto Košice (1939-1944), inv. č. 104, šk. 8, sp. č. II. 22636/39.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.8 The Report on the Activities of the ‘Lavutarisz’ Society in Košice

Policajné riaditeľstvo v Košiciach.

Stráž bezpečnosti.

Předmět: Hlásenie o činnosti spolku “Lavutarisz” v Košiciach.

Košice, dňa 3. decembra 1936.

Oznámenie – Hlásenie

K tamojšiemu dožiadaniu čís. 16753/36 prez. hlásim, že “Lavutarisz” kultúrny a sociálny spolok Cigánov na Slovensku so sídlom v Košiciach, bol dňa 5. júna 1936 riadne utvorený. Spolkové stanovy boly Krajinským úradom v Bratislave pod číslom 201.213/8-36 schválené.

V košickým okrese má v týchto dedinách svojích členov:

Krásno na Hornádom 26 členov, Olčvár 15 členov, Rozhanovce 42 členov, Ťahanovce 34 členov, Kráľovce 12 členov, Ďurkov 10 členov.

Spolok za tak krátkou dobu nemohol sa ešte tak vyvijať, poneváč nemali sme k tomu potrebných prostriedkov finančných a iných. Prvá naša práca bola sdružovanie členov v spolku a nejväčší dôraz klademe na výchovu mládeže. V každej dedine, kde mame svojích členov, pôsobili sme na ních, aby všetké škulupovinné detí nechali riadne zapísať do škôl. To sa nám i čiastočne podarilo, ale keď prišlo hladnejšie počasie, detí nemohli sa riadne súčasnovať školného vyučovania, nakoľko sú holé a bosé.

Z toho dôvodu sme sa obratili s prosbou na okresný úrad v Košiciach, aby nám poskytol podporu na ošatenie týchto najchudobnejších cigánskych detí, ktorých rodičia nemajú ani len na najnutnejšiu životnú stravu, nie aby mohli svoje deti aspoň čiastočne ošatiť. Spolok do t. č. ešte nedostal na takéto účely žiadnej podpory, takže nemá možnosť previesť takuto ošacovaciu akciu chudobných cigánskych deti. Nežiadame podporu pre spolkové účely, ale nech okresný úrad prevede na ošacovaciu akciu priamo po okrese, aby sa cigánskym deťom dostalo aspoň čiastočného ošatenia.

Je samozrejme, že okresný úrad nemá vedomosť o tom, čo všetko predsednictvo spolku v prospech svojích členov podnika, lebo nemame možnosť každý náš krok hlásiť okresnému úradu. Konáme rôzne intervencie u úradoch, ako vybavovanie daňových záležitosti, hľadanie práci, pečovanie o nemocných a rôzne iné záležitosti. Ku pr[í]kl[adu]: V lete nám onemocnela naša členka v Rozhanovciach, ktorej sa neujal nikto, predsednictvo spolku bolo nútené vyslať svojho tajomníka s povozom Čsl. červeného kríža do Rozhanoviec, aby našu členku doviezol do štátnej nemocnice v Košiciach, čo sa i stalo. V Obci Krásno n/H porodila naša členka dieťa, v dome nemali ani čo do úst, predsednictvo zase bolo nútené zaslať potravné članky pre rodinu. Myslím, že to všetko patrí ku sociálnej práci. Aby sme však mohli učinejšie pracovať v našom vytýčenom programe, k tomu sú zapotreby finančné prostriedky a ľudia-ideálisti, ktorý by sa tejto práce z lásky venovali. Okrem toho je treba väčšieho porozumenia a ochoty zo strany kompetentných úradov, k tak vážnej otázke ako je cigánska otázka na Slovensku.

Gabriel Kríž, t. č. predseda spolku: … [signature].

Police Directorate in Košice.

Securty Patrol.

Subject: Report on the Activities of ‘Lavutarisz’ Society in Košice.

Košice, on December 3, 1936.

Notification – Report

On request no. 16753/36 pres., I report that “Lavutarisz” Cultural and Social Society of Gypsies in Slovakia, based in Košice, was duly established on 5 June 1936. Statutes of the Society were approved by the Regional Office in Bratislava under no. 201.212/8-36.

It has members in the following villages of the Košice district:

Krásno na Hornádom 26 members, Olčvár 15 members, Rozhanovce 42 members, Ťahanovce 34 members, Kráľovce 12 members, Ďurkov 10 members [1].

The Society could have not developed so much in such a short time, because we did not have the necessary financial and other resources. Our first task was associating members in the Society, and we put the greatest emphasis on youth education. In every village where we have our members, we have been operating to have all the school children properly enrolled in schools. We were successful in part, but when the weather became colder, the children could not be properly taught, as they were bare and shoeless.

For this reason, we turned to the District Office in Košice to provide us with support for the clothing of these poorest Gypsy children, whose parents do not even have the most necessary diet, let alone be able to dress their children at least in part. The Society has not until now received any support for such purposes, so it does not have an option to perform such a clothing action for poor Gypsy children. We do not ask for support for the purposes of the Society but let the district office do the clothing action directly within the district to provide the Gypsy children at least with some clothing.

Obviously, the district office is not aware of everything Presidium of the Society does in favour of its members, because we do not have the opportunity to report our every step to the district office. We hold various intercessions with the authorities, such as handling tax affairs, finding employment, caring for the sick and various other tasks. E.g.: A member of ours in Rozhanovce fell ill in the summer, no one took care of her, Presidium had to send their secretary with a Czechoslovak Red Cross wagon to Rozhanovce to bring our member to the state hospital in Košice, which he did. In Krásno nad Hornádom, another member gave birth to a child, they had nothing to eat in the house, Presidium again had to send food aid to the family. I think this all is part of social work. However, in order to be able to work more effectively in our set program, there is a need for funds and people-idealists to pursue this work out of love. In addition, there is a need for greater understanding and willingness on the part of the competent authorities to address such a serious issue as the Gypsy question in Slovakia.

Gabriel Kríž, at the time President of the Society: … [signature].

Notes

1. All these villages were located in the vicinity of Košice. Krásno nad Hornádom and Ťahanovce later became part of the city and Olčvár became the municipality of Košické Oľšany.

Source: ŠAK, f. Okresný úrad v Košiciach (1923-1939), inv. č. 182, sign. 29359/1937, šk. 488.

Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

8.3.9 The Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Arrival of Gypsies in Slovakia

Preplnené VSD. – Zahraniční novinári na oslave. Koncert vysielaný do Ameriky.

Kultúrny a sociálny spolok Cigánov na Slovensku “Lavutarisz” so sídlom v Košiciach usporiadal vo stredu večer 2. marca v mestskom divadle pri príležitosti príchodu Cigánov na Slovensko jubilejnú slávnosť, ktorej hudobný a spevný program bol veľmi pestrý. Rozsiahla budova košického divadla bola doslova obecenstvom preplnená a obecenstvo prijalo účinkujúcich veľmi sympaticky. Na akadémii boli prítomní tiež predstavitelia mesta Košíc a úradov a zástupcovia rôznych spolkov a korporácií , ako i niekoľko zahraničných novinárov.

Úvodom k akadémii prehovoril Koloman Župnik, ktorý okrem iného zdôraznil, že v demokratickej Československej republike sa dáva našim Cigánom možnosť rozvoja vo všetkých odvetviach, pokiaľ sú schopní sa uplatniť. Búrku potlesku vyvolal monstrekoncert 101 cigánskych hudobníkov pod striedavým riadením troch primášov, ako vystúpenie cigánskych hudobníkov z Prešova, Veľkého Šariša a Gelnice. Taktiež vystúpenie 22 člennej detskej cigánskej hudby, žiakov cigánskej školy pod vedením učitela Pačenovského a malých cigánskych detí žiakov mestskej hudobnej školy v Košiciach bolo odmenené potleskom.

Na programe bola tiež divadelná hra zo života kočujúcich Cigánov “Cigánska svadba”.

Po divadle bol vo veľkom sále hotela Schalkház usporiadaný tradičný cigánsky maškarný ples.

Košická odbočka československého rozhlasu vysielala zo štúdia v čase od 18.45 do 19.00 hod. priamo z Košíc cez Ženevu do Ameriky cigánsku hudbu 40člennej cigánskej kapely. Úvodom k tomuto prenosu prehovoril anglicky profesor Dikinsen z Košíc. Krátko po koncerte prišla do košického rozhlasu zpráva z Ameriky, že sa koncert v Amerike veľmi ľúbil a že jeho prenos bol bezvadný.

Overcrowded Theatre. – Foreign journalists at the celebration. Concert broadcast to America.

On Wednesday evening 2 March in the Municipal Theatre, the Cultural and Social Society of Gypsies in Slovakia “Lavutarisz”, based in Košice, organised a jubilee celebration on the occasion of the arrival of Gypsies in Slovakia [1], with a great variety of musical and singing programme. The vast building of the Košice Theatre was literally overcrowded with the audience, which was very congenial to the performers. Representatives of the city of Košice, state officers and representatives of various associations and corporations, as well as several foreign journalists, were also present at the Academy.

Koloman Župnik spoke at the beginning of the Academy, and he pointed out, among other things, that in the democratic Czechoslovak Republic, our Gypsies are given the opportunity to develop in all sectors, if they are able to find their use. The enormous concert of 101 Gypsy musicians was greeted with a storm of applause, under the alternate direction of three first fiddlers, in the performances by Gypsy musicians from Prešov, Veľký Šariš and Gelnica. Also, the performance of Gypsy children’s music group of 20 members, Gypsy school pupils under the guidance of teacher Pačenovský and small Gypsy pupils from the Municipal Music School in Košice was rewarded with applause.

The programme also included a theatre play from the life of the travelling Gypsies “Gypsy Wedding” [2].

After the theatre play, there was a traditional Gypsy costume ball in the Grand Hall of Hotel Schalkház [3].

The Košice branch of the Czechoslovak Radio broadcasted the Gypsy music of music band of 40 from the studio from 6.45 to 7.00 p.m. directly from Košice via Geneva to America. Professor Dikinsen from Košice provided an English introduction to the broadcast. Shortly after the concert, a message from America came to the radio in Košice that the concert was very popular there and that its transmission was perfect.

Notes

1. It seems that the celebration pointed to Paul Battailard’s (1816-1894) periodisation of Gypsy migration to Europe. The year 1438 marked a historical turning point between the first and the second wave of Gypsies migration (Štampach, 1929, p. 6). Battailard’s periodization was known to the Czechoslovak audience through the work of Czech anthropologist František Štampach (1895-1969) who published his dissertation thesis under the title Cikáni v Československé republice (Gypsies in the Czechoslovak Republic) in 1929 and was regarded as the main expert on the subject by policemen as well as other scientists.

2. Author as well as director of the theatre play was the president of the Society Gabriel Kríž, a local police inspector.

3. The Schalkház Hotel was one of the most luxurious hotels in Košice. It was named after its main investor Leopold Schalkház and built in 1873.

Source: [No Author]. (1938). Oslava 500. výročia príchodu Cigánov na Slovensko. Novosti, An. 20, No. 52, 1938, March 4, p. 2.

Selected by Anna Jurová. Prepared for publication by Pavel Baloun.

Translated by Martin Babička.

Comments

These nine sources document different Gypsy and Pro-Gypsy associations which were established during the interwar period in Czechoslovakia. The fact that all these associations were established in Košice is very symptomatic.

Košice (Kassa/Kaschau) was a large city with a population speaking mostly Hungarian, Slovak, German and Yiddish. The city was incorporated into the newly established Czechoslovak Republic in July 1919, after the defeat of Magyarországi Tanácsköztársaság (Hungarian Soviet Republic). Similar to the situation in Subcarpathian Ruthenia (Holubec, 2014) with new Czechoslovak administration came mainly Czech and partially Slovaks from Western Slovakia as chief officials, experts, policemen, teachers etc. In the growing city, with approximately fifty thousand inhabitants, more than thirty thousand were counted as Czechoslovaks in 1921 (Sáposová & Regináčová, 2014, p. 90) and more than seven thousand of them were born on the territory of Czech lands. In 1930 seventeen percent of the total population of Košice constituted solely Czechs (Ficeri, 2017, p. 29). The reason lied in the fact that Košice in the popular Czechoslovak imagination were part of the “East of the Republic” where the local Slovak and Ruthenian population suffered greatly under the former Hungarian rule. The politics of “Magyarisation” was blamed for social and economic underdevelopment of the region as well as the oppression of Slovak and Ruthenian national cultures. The role of Czechoslovak administration, thus, was formulated in terms of a broad civilising mission which was supposed to reconfigure the existent political, social, economic and cultural hierarchies in order to secure the national majority for Slovaks and Ruthenians as well as to uplift the whole region (Baloun, 2018; Holubec, 2014).

The language of a civilising mission was used not only by Czech and Slovak officials and experts, but also by various entrepreneurs and their professional organisations. In 1924 the Czechoslovak government in Prague received a resolution written by Odborové sdružení hudebníků v Československé republice (Professional Union of Czechoslovak Musicians) in which they complain about favouring Gypsy musicians by the local authorities. The Union emphasised that its members brought “musical progress” and aimed at uplifting Slovak level of education in music because in the period before Czechoslovak Republic Slovaks were “exploited” by the Hungarian regime as well as by “idle” Gypsies who allegedly enjoyed considerable privileges from Hungarians. In order to stop the “Gypsy ravaging” the Union demanded special measures to be taken by the state authorities against “defamation of music” (ŠAK, f. Košická župa, šk. č. 374). Here, the language of Czech civilising mission in the “East of the Republic” was supposed to legitimize the claim for restricting the undesirable competition. It was the long-standing tradition of Roma musicians in the city of Košice who formed an important part of local urban culture of coffeehouses and restaurants (Mann, 1999; Zaloagă, 2013) as undesired result of Magyarization, which the Union of Czechoslovak Musicians tried to undermine. Although the Union’s complaint didn’t compel the state authorities to restrict the competition, it probably influenced local Roma musicians who attempted to establish their own union of musician in 1927 (Document 3.1.). Their effort, however, was not successful because the Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior found the statutes of the proposed Unie československých cigánských hudebníků pro Č.S.R. (Union of the Czechoslovak Gypsy Musicians of the Czechoslovak Republic) in conflict with existent legislation. Beside the ministry’s decision we don’t know much about any other sources regarding this attempt. Who exactly was involved in establishing the organisation and what did they want to achieve are questions which still can’t be answered yet.

An important impetus to establishing later associations which were aimed at Gypsies living in Košice was constituted by a court trial with the so-called Gypsy criminal band from Moldava nad Bodvou, a small town near Košice, which took place at the Regional Court in Košice in 1929. The case attracted national as well as international media since 1927 when several of nineteen Gypsies who were accused in the case confessed to cannibalism which they later denied (Kiseľ, 2008). Because the jury wanted to ascertain the sanity of the accused the court turned over to the local physicians. Jaroslav Stuchlík, a chief physician of the Department for Insane Persons at the State Hospital in Košice of Czech nationality, helped refute the alleged cannibalism. He also elaborated a more than one hundred pages long expert opinion on the accused in which he, on the one hand, confirmed the sanity of the accused and, on the other, presented them as “backward degenerates” and members of a different “race”. Such a conclusion led the jury to consider an “inclination of Gypsy race to commit crimes, their repudiated position in society and in consequence their defiance” to be an important mitigating circumstance (ŠAK, f. Krajský Súd v Košiciach, šk. 171).

The involvement of the local chief physicians – Czech elite – in the trial brought the topic of the so-called Gypsy question to their attention. They started to debate the issue on the meetings of the local Association of Czechoslovak Physicians in Košice and were soon joined by other individuals (mainly Czech officials, especially employees of the Police Directorate in Košice) as well as local branches of Slovak national organisations such as the Slovenská liga (Slovak League) and Matica slovenská (the Slovak Matica) or religious organisations connected with the catholic diocese in Košice in the effort to establish the League for Cultural Uplifting of Gypsies in 1929 (Slovenský východ, 1930, p. 3; Zupková, 2007).

On November 27, 1930, a new organisation, called Society for the Study of the Gypsy Question, was established in Košice. It was comprised of the former League for Cultural Uplifting of Gypsies as well as new individuals who represented the local middle and upper class of different nationalities (Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, German, etc.). While physicians, policemen, officials, intellectuals etc. represented the core functionaries (see Document 3.2. and 3.3.) the attendance list shows that more than twenty musicians of Roma origin attended the general assembly of the Society as well as few Roma labourers (Slovak National Archives, Provincial Office in Bratislava). Half of them stated their address and profession in Hungarian which points to the fact that many Gypsies on the territory of the so-called East of the Republic were speaking Hungarian and considered themselves as Hungarian rather than Slovak or Czechoslovak. At least some of them stated the address inside the city quarter called Tábor (the Camp) where many of the city poor lived and which was often labelled as a Gypsy quarter despite the fact that Gypsies constituted only a small part of local population (Jurová, 2013, p. 30) and some of them, especially musicians, lived in different parts of the city.

The set goals of the Society show that although the main content was charitable activities such as medical and legal aid, these were accompanied by organizing cultural events as well as scientific interests and interventions in order to change circumstances in education and health. Such miscellaneous activities were framed in terms of a civilising mission: the “enhancement of the Gypsy race” and “turning Gypsies into orderly and useful members of human society” (see Document 3.3. and 3.4.). Thus, the general aim of the Society was assimilation of “backward” Gypsies into modern Czechoslovak society. Beside civilization, uplifting assimilation was also understood in terms of nationality. Emphasis on using the “state language” or freeing Gypsies “from the Hungarian mindset” reflected the fact that goals of this civilising mission lied in reshaping the former social, economic and cultural as well as national hierarchies (see Document 3.5.). Being “orderly and useful member of human society”, thus, in the context of interwar Czechoslovakia meant being Czechoslovak by nationality.

An interview with Jaroslav Stuchlík (Document 3.4) offers a unique insight into the ideas of the director of the Society. According to him assimilation was the desired “solution of the Gypsy question”. His notion of assimilation, however, slightly differed from other Czechoslovak comtemporaries. For example, František Štampach, a Czech anthropologist who was regarded as the main expert on Gypsies in Czechoslovakia, argued for assimilation between members of the Czechoslovak nation and Gypsies which he understood in biological terms. Whereas in Štampach’s notion the improvement of social and economic conditions of Gypsies implicitly devolved on the natural gradual process of racial mixing (Štampach, 1929, pp. 48-49), in Stuchlík’s vision assimilation needed substantial state intervention and meant dispersion and resettlement of Gypsies organised by the state authorities in order to improve their social and economic conditions. Nonetheless they both perceived Gypsies as a specific “race” which wasn’t connected with an ideal of racial purity but served as a marker of the “backwardness” of the population.

The most visible, frequent and documented activities of the Society were various cultural performances such as theatre plays and music performances which promoted a certain positive notion of Gypsy identity. Thus, even if the general goal was an assimilation, i.e. dissolution of the Gypsy difference, the Society created a space for local Roma to participate in developing cultural Gypsy identity. Although such identity grew up from the romantic stereotypes of Gypsies, it pushed the romantic images of Gypsy musicians further in order to contest the popular notion of Gypsies as people who represented humankind in purely biological sense (human animal). A competition of Gypsy musicians on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1928 shows that in Košice, the largest city of the so-called East of the Republic, Gypsies were seen as natural part of the population and even desired Czechoslovak citizens.

It is unclear when exactly the Society ceased to exist. Probably it was in the mid 1930s. Since manifold civil servants of Czech nationality who were sent to the “East of the Republic” in order to carry out the civilising mission were crucial initiators of the Society, it seems that their fluctuation was an important factor in the process (see Document 3.4.). One of the longer lasting activities of the Society was connected with the Sports Club of Slovak Gypsies ‘Roma’ in Košice which was established in March 1931 (Fiľo, 2002). It brought the local Roma popular entertainment. And despite the fact that the general goal of the organisation was formulated within the logic of Society’s civilising mission the term Roma in the tittle points to subtle changes (see Document 3.5.). While at the beginning of the organisations in Košice Gypsies were seen almost exclusively as recipients of various charitable activities of the Society, some of the local Roma took a more active role within the organisations, especially in late 1930s.

In 1936 a new organisation was established: Lavutarisz, Cultural and Social Society of Gypsies in Slovakia, based in Košice. The term Lavutaris, which means musician in Romani language, went hand in hand with a shift in terms of who the organisation was supposed to represent. Instead of object, a mere passive recipient of a civilising mission, Gypsies became a subject to be represented in the public life. The gradual change was also articulated in the official goal of the organisation. Apart from a civilizational uplifting, Lavutarisz aimed at “coherent cooperation of all members of the Czechoslovak nation” (see Document 3.7.). Besides charitable aids for Roma school children, families or individuals, the organisation provided Slovak language courses and organised cultural events (see Documents 3.7.). The most important of them took place on March 2, 1938, on the occasion of the arrival of Gypsies in Slovakia (see Document 3.9). The organisers, thus, chose a date from the history which linked Gypsies to the Slovak national history in order to promote a cultural Gypsy/Roma identity within the framework of Czechoslovak nation. Given the general political situation in Czechoslovakia, the celebration could also be seen as a public manifestation of local Gypsies loyalty to the Czechoslovak Republic in the times of its crisis.

However, some of the local Gypsies identified themselves with Hungarian language and Hungarian nationality due to the strong local identity which Hungarian political parties forged after 1918 (Ficeri, 2017). According to the memories of a local social democrat of Hungarian nationality, when the city of Košice became a part of the Kingdom of Hungary after the First Vienna Award in 1938, a local Gypsy musician who joined Hungarian political parties already in 1930s, was appointed as a representative in the municipality (Szeghy-Gayer, 2018, p. 134).

Pavel Baloun

Additional Comments

The creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 entailed the incorporation of Roma who had hitherto lived in different historical regions into a new state. Czechia (medieval Bohemia) and Moravia were part of the Holy Roman Empire and, later, of Austria within the Dual Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Slovakia was part of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary and later of Hungary within Austria-Hungary. As Will Guy (1975, p. 204) very accurately points out, Czechoslovakia “straddles the frontiers of what may be termed the ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ areas of Roma development in Europe”. The Roma (and a few Sinti), who lived in the Czech Republic and Moravia, were relatively less numerous, and for the most part led a nomadic lifestyle, similar to their counterparts in the West (excluding Spain); There were many more Roma living in Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, and for the most part, they led a sedentary lifestyle similar to those in the Danube countries and the Balkans (Ibid.).

From this point of view, there are some interesting points in the development of the Roma civic emancipation movement in interwar Czechoslovakia. Generaly speaking, the differences between the detached parts of the Republic impacted the different paths Roma took towards civic equality: in the Czech lands and Moravia this implied obtaining a right of domicile and removing themselves from the list of nomads; in Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia this included establishing of civic organisation, obtaining professional rights and education, reaching as far as political participation and even the creation of their own football club, with participation in football tournaments abroad (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland) and conducting their own Beauty Pageant. Of course, this is only a rough outline of the overall picture and, in practice, there were various nuances through which the processes of civic emancipation manifested themselves in individual cases.

What all Roma activists had in common was their emphasis on Roma’s integration into the new civic nation, as an integral part of a complex process of nation-building within the Czechoslovak Republic. This process is very clearly expressed in Jan Daniel’s letter to President Masaryk, published here, in which, in addition to calling on the Czechoslovak state to launch a proactive policy on the education of Gypsies, he explicitly emphasises “I am Czech body and soul”. With this expression, he proves his belonging to the new civic nation; which does not contradict his Roma identity. On the contrary, these two most important dimensions of his identity are the basis of his aspirations for civic emancipation of the Roma.

We should note here, especially the contribution of Roma representatives to the very establishment of Czechoslovakia as a state. This concerns particularly the participation of Roma in the Czechoslovak Legion – volunteer armed forces fighting on the side of the Entente Powers during the First World War (Viková, 2018ab). While their numbers were not large, something else is more important in this regard – namely, that this participation is a piece of evidence for the emergence of a new dimension in the identity of the Roma living in the Czech and Slovak lands: a sense of belonging to the new emerging civic nation. In this way, the Roma community took its first steps in the movement for its civic emancipation by seeking new dimensions of its existence, as part of the society in the newly created state.

Another intriguing phenomenon is the extremely strong influence of public organisations in Czechoslovakia on the movement for Roma civic emancipation. Public organisations of this type (the forerunners of today’s professional and even commercialised NGO sector) were present in other countries of the Central and South-Eastern Europe region at that time, but their interest in the Gypsies was quite insignificant (if present at all). The specific case of Czechoslovakia can be explained in the context of the common movement among the Czech intelligentsia, leading to the creation of new civic organisations aimed at supporting the development of the ethnically mixed (Slovaks, Hungarians, Ruthenians, and Gypsies) Eastern Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which were considered to be backward regions. It is significant that, according to this discourse, Gypsies were seen among the local population in these regions, as those who needed to be helped, while the Gypsies in the Czech Republic appeared not to be of interest for local civic organisations. This assistance to the local Gypsies was also linked with the struggle against their Hungarianisation. The Gypsies also demonstrated a national civic identity and loyalty to Czechoslovakia, as evident from a letter to the School Department of the Civil Administration of Subcarpathian Ruthenia dated September 16, 1926. This letter signed by Jánoš Bukó on behalf of the “inhabitants of the Gypsy settlement” in Uzhgorod asks for a “Czechoslovak language” curriculum in the Gypsy school (NA, f. Ministerstvo školství a národní osvěty, inv. č. 1624, sign. 13, k. 1480; Baloun, 2020, p. 166). In the press a march of Gypsies was announced in Košice to take place on October 28, 1931 (the day of the declaration of Czechoslovakia as an independent state) when Gypsies would lay a wreath at the monument to Milan Rastislav Štefánik (one of the founders of Czechoslovakia); a rally would be held in which the meaning of this day would be discussed in three languages ​​(Slovak, Gypsy, and Hungarian); Gypsy musicians would perform the national anthem and La Marseillaise (symbol of revolutionary social change); then the Gypsies would go to the town hall, where they would hand over to the mayor of the town a memorandum demanding the opening of a Gypsy school (Lidové noviny, 1931, p. 7).

In Slovakia, similarly to neighbouring Hungary, the moving force in the emancipation movement was the Gypsy musicians (most often Hungarian speaking). The outcome and public resonance however cardinally differed. In contrast to the state support that received Hungarian Gypsy Musicians in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, the Ministry of the Interior refused to approve the Statutes of the society Union of the Czechoslovak Gypsy Musicians of the Czechoslovak Republic. In Hungary Gypsy musicians were seen as part of the Hungarian national idea, keepers of Hungarian songs (cf. Chapter 7), in Slovakia they repeatedly struggled to demonstrate their loyalty to the new state. Even the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of Gypsies in Hungary and respectively in Slovakia was presented as loyalty to the two countries in question.

An important aspect of the overall pursuits of Roma activists in Slovakia, as can be seen from the published materials, was the desire to create a Gypsy Theatre in Košice. For its creators, this theater should not only be a stage for public expression of Gypsies’ artistic skills but should also perform much broader social functions, oriented both to the macro-society and its community. This vision was reflected even in the Western press, with special emphasis on their plans for the repertoire of the future theater. – “plays will be selected for their moral and educational merit rather than for their artistic ones” (Evening Standard, 1934).

Another Gypsy theatre was established also in the 1930s in Strážnice, Moravia. It was based on the singing troupe created by František Kýr (together with his cousin Josef Kýr and the already mentioned Jan Daniel), which grew later into the Cikánská omladina (Gypsy Youth), and travelled around the region, performing theatrical musical performances (Nečas, 1997a, pp. 59-60). In the 1930s, Josef Kýr together with Jan Daniel wrote a theatrical play consisting of three acts with music and singing, titled Gypsy Prophecy. It was performed between 1931 and 1937 in the surrounding cities of Hodonín, Břeclav, Senice, and Uherské Hradiště (Glacner, 1973, p. 38; Kočí, 2007, p. 34).

An important part of the process of assisting Gypsies was the creation of separated classes for Gypsy children, similar to the Gypsy School in Uzhhorod – in Klenovec, Dobšinná, Dvorce, Jablonov, Jánovce, Levoča, Levočské Lúky, Ľubica, Machalovce, Smižany, Veľbachy, Giraltovce, Košice, Medzilaborce, Podskalka, Humenné and Mukačevo (Baloun, 2020, pp. 177-178). These were often housed in separate buildings, outhouses or detached parts of municipal schools, thus becoming de facto “Gypsy Schools” (Horváthová, 1964, p. 168). According to the local press, Roma children who were enrolled in these “Gypsy Schools” most often did not continue their education and that was why wealthier Gypsies (mainly musicians) preferred to send their children to mainstream schools (Ibid.). It was precisely these schools that set the beginning of a debate (about the need for mainstream versus special education for Roma children), which continues to be relevant to this day, a debate which exacerbated especially during the processes of so-called desegregation of “Gypsy Schools” in Central and South-Eastern Europe in recent years, and to which there is still no definitive answer in practice (or rather there are different solutions implemented in European countries).

In connection with the education of Roma children in interwar Czechoslovakia, there is a mystification (whether and to what extent it was deliberately made is difficult to judge). In a very recent book you can read the following: “In 1927, the government of Czechoslovakia adopted a law that ‘condemned the Roma as asocial citizens, limited their personal liberty, introduced Gypsy identity cards, and decreed that Romany children under 18 be placed in special institutions’.” (Matache et al., 2020, p. 60-61). The quoted source of this information is Huub van Baar (2011, p. 162), who cites Zoltan Barany (2002, p. 99). Barany, for his part, quotes Ignacy-Marek Kaminski (1980, p. 161) and Vladimir Geceľovský (1992, pp. 79-90) as source for this information, while also making his own biased interpretation of the content of the Act No. 117/1927 On Wandering Gypsies. However, Kaminski’s text does not refer to Gypsy children at all, and Geceľovský’s text only states that the law provides for the possibility of taking them away from their parents. Checking the Act itself (Zákon, 1927) one can see that, in fact, only the text of Geceľovský is adequate, and all subsequent formulations are very far from the historical truth. Indeed, Article 12 of this Act provides for the possibility of taking away the children of those wandering Gypsy parents who do not care for them, following a court ordinance. However, this is only a potential possibility and was (and is) a norm recognised by modern law in most countries of the world, which is in no case equivalent to “decreed that Romani children under 18 be placed in special institutions”. Of course, cases of abuse of the law cannot be ruled out and the application of the law to children who are not vulnerable. However, neither Barany nor all the others who are quoting him explain the relative share of the so-called “wandering Gypsies”, i.e. those Roma (and some Sinti) who led a nomadic way of life in interwar Czechoslovakia which hardly exceeded 5-10% of total Roma population in the whole country (Marushiakova & Popov, 2016c, p. 39). It is inadmissible to make a rule out of an exception. For us, this example is particularly illustrative of the gravity of the problem and of the need to verify historical sources and their interpretations, a matter which we have also underlined at the beginning of this book.

The problem with Gypsies, who lead a nomadic lifestyle, was apparently perceived as extremely serious by the state authorities. According to press reports in 1935:

The government is preparing a bill according to which every Gypsy who does not have a permanent residence and does not observe public order should be taken to a forced labour camp. This measure apparently comes mainly in response to numerous complaints received from Slovakia, where entire areas do not feel safe and suffer from terror. (Neues Pressburger Tagblatt, 1935, p. 7).

This bill was not adopted, it is not even clear whether it was discussed as a proposal but it is clear that the idea of concentration camps for Gypsies at that time was already in the public domain (after adopting the Act of 25 June 1929 on the Establishment of Forced Labor Colonies, which however was not applied in practice).

In the light of the overall development of the Roma civic emancipation movement in interwar Czechoslovakia, attempts by Roma activists to give an international dimension to the Roma civic emancipation processes also became clear. In 1932, the Society for the Study of the Gypsy Question in Košice announced its intention to organise a special congress, to which delegates from abroad (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany) and prominent international specialists in the work for the “Gypsy question” would be invited (Slovenský východ, 1932c, p. 5). As another publication shows, the purpose of the congress was to convince the foreigners that they have been falsely informed by the Moldava nad Bodvou Gypsy process (see above) at what level the “Gypsy question” in the Republic was and to unite all those interested in this issue (Slovenský východ, 1932d, p. 2). It is obvious that such an initiative was impossible to conduct without the support of the state, which sought to present its activities in a positive light to the world. The congress, however, was not held and there is no indication as to what had impeded this.

Another, not entirely clarified attempt (or at least an idea) to create an international Gypsy organisation is described in the memoirs of Josef Serinek, according to whom, in 1933, he wanted:

[…] to organize a large congress of nomadic nations, where they were to be nomadic from the Czechoslovak Republic, Yugoslavia, and some other states. I wanted them to agree to buy an island where the nomads could settle without hindrance. There are over a hundred thousand such people in our republic, I wanted to organize them, I saw that it would help those people if we had an organisation. But they were stupid, half of them disagreed, although they came together, but the gendarmes dispersed it and so it came to an end. It was supposed to be in Teplice, and I was supposed to be there as a representative for Czechoslovakia. (Serinek & Tesař, 2016, I, p. 37).

Of course, the idea of buying of a separate island (and it is explicitly emphasised that this should be done only by nomads from different countries) sounds quite naive and utopian. Nevertheless, this was one of the first visions for the need for an independent Gypsy state, which has its place in the history of Roma civic emancipation.

In interwar Czechoslovakia, a widespread practice in the countries of Central, South- Eastern and Eastern Europe today also began (at least at the level of ideas): namely, the inclusion of Roma representatives into political life and the governance of the countries through nomination (and their election) for MPs in national parliaments on the lists of mainstream political parties (following the accession of most of the countries in the region to the European Union, also into the European Parliament). According to a piece of evidence from 1929, based on a publication in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a political movement, the League Against Coupled Candidate Lists (Liga proti vázaným kandidátním listinám), chaired by Jiří Stříbrný (a radical party with a nationalist leaning), included a local Gypsy, Jozka Nigil, as candidate in its electoral list for parliamentary elections in the Nové Zámky constituency (today in Slovakia) (Герман, 1931, pp. 16-17). The next documented step in this direction was the local elections in Košice in the spring of 1932, where the Gypsies formed their own separate list within a common list, uniting representatives of different parties and movements, dominated by the Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants, a leading political force in the interwar period (Neues Pressburger Tagblatt, 1932a, p. 4; 1932b, p. 7). The final stage in this process of seeking own Roma political representation was reached in the local elections in Nové Zámky in 1933, in which the “Gypsy Party” (this is the designation in the press) received 66 votes, which proved insufficient to have a representative in the local municipal council (Neues Pressburger Tagblatt, 1933, p. 3).

The inclusion of Roma in political struggles, through their participation in the communist movement in interwar Czechoslovakia as well as though their participation in the armed resistance against Nazi Germany, should also be noted. In this regard, among the more famous names are the already mentioned Josef Serinek – commander of a partisan detachment in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Roma Anton Facuna – in 1968 Chairman of Union of Zväz Cigánov-Rómov na Slovensku (Union of Gypsies-Roma in Slovakia), Ján Oraško (commander of a partisan detachment in Slovakia), the brothers Gustáv and Štefan Bučko, Ján Timi (Koro), Laco Petík, Tibor Gombár, Ján Tumi, Juraj Miker (militant in the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War and participant in the 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps led by Ludvík Svoboda, formed in the USSR and included in the Red Army), František Klempar, and others (Hübschmannova, 2006, pp. 32-35; Lorenc, 2015).

In interwar Czechoslovakia, as in other countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe, the first steps of the activity of the evangelical churches among the Gypsies appeared. According to a press release in 1936 in the United Kingdom:

A Czechoslovakian gipsy has qualified for entrance into the University of Prague. Anthony Daniel, a gipsy from Tisnov, in Moravia, has just been given a school-live certificate. He is the first gipsy Czechoslovakia ever to pass this qualifying examination. He studies eight years at the Tisnov secondary school, and whilst there translated the New Testament into the Romany language. At the university Daniel will study law. (Evening Standard, 1936).

In the same year, Britska he averthemeskro kher vas mre Devleskro Lav (the British and Foreign Bible Society) published a section of the New Covenant (Acts of the Apostles), translated in the Romani language by Antonín Daniel (O keriben, 1936), but there is no indication whether the publication was used for evangelical propaganda among the Gypsies in Czechoslovakia. Nevertheless, at the very least we know that such intentions existed.

Elena Marushiakova and Vesselin Popov