The purpose of the glossary is to explain and introduce terms, persons and events that relate to the wartime experience of Roma and Sinti and appear in the testimonies in our collection. Each entry is accompanied by the name of the survivor and the number of the testimony in which the term, name, or event is mentioned.

  • A
  • B
  • C
    • Carpatho-Dukla Operation

      Carpatho-Dukla Operation, Battle of Dukla – offensive operation of Soviet and Czechoslovak troops in south-eastern Poland and north-eastern Slovakia in autumn 1944. It was intended to unite the rebel forces of the Slovak National Uprising with the Soviet armies. After the Germans succeeded in subduing the uprising the operation was halted and both Soviet and Czechoslovak troops went on the defensive.

    • Cejl prison

      Cejl Prison – a former prison in the part of Brno called Cejl, near today's Museum of Romani Culture. In 1784-1956 it was used as a prison, during the Protectorate it was used by the Czech Regional Court, but part of it was allocated to the women's department of the Gestapo and later the German Regional Court, including a separate German prison in the rear wing, also operated here. It served as a transfer station to other prisons or concentration camps.

    • Chicory

      Chicory – a coffee substitute made from roasted chicory root.

    • Cocoa Army

      Cocoa Army, see Coffee Army.

    • Coffee Army

      The Coffee Army, Coffee Company, Cocoa Army, Chocolate Army – an informal name for the compulsory replacement labour service for Roma conscripts in Slovakia during the Second World War, referring to the colour of the shoulder tabs.

    • Czechoslovak State Automobile Transport

      Czechoslovak State Automobile Transport – ČSAD, a state-owned enterprise providing transport by buses and trucks between 1949 and 1989.

  • D
  • E
  • F
    • Facuna, Anton

      Anton Facuna (1920-1980) – an important Slovak Romani fighter against Nazism and an activist. After the establishment of the Slovak state in 1939, he was drafted into the Slovak army, deserted in 1944 and underwent training as a volunteer in Italy with the US army. Under the codename Anton Novak, he was a member of a paratroop unit organized by American military intelligence called Operation Day, with which he joined the Slovak National Uprising in the autumn of 1944. Co-founder and first chairman of the Gypsy-Roma Association in Slovakia (1968-1970).

    • First Czechoslovak Army Corps in the Soviet Union

      The 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps in the Soviet Union, also known as Svoboda’s Army, was part of the Czechoslovak army that fought against the Nazis alongside the Red Army during World War II. The unit was formed in 1942 and became an army corps in 1944, when it also participated in the liberation of Czechoslovakia and took part in the Slovak National Uprising.

    • Frank, Karl Hermann

      Karl Hermann Frank (1898-1946) – as a member of the radical wing of the Sudeten German Party, he was elected to the National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1935, and in 1939 he became Chief of Police and State Secretary of the Office of the Reich Protector. In June 1942, after the assassination of Heydrich, he ordered Lidice to be razed to the ground. After a failed escape from Prague, he was arrested by the Americans in May 1945 and handed over to the Czechoslovak courts. A year later, an extraordinary people's court sentenced him to death for war crimes.

  • G
  • H
  • K
  • L
    • Lacková, Elena

      Elena Lacková (1921-2003) – a prominent Romani writer, playwright, and cultural and social worker. In 1948, she wrote a play called The Burning Gypsy Camp, in which she depicted the experience of the Roma during World War II and with which she toured throughout Czechoslovakia. She raised five children and, at the age of 42, enrolled in distance learning at the Faculty of Journalism and Education at Charles University, from which she graduated in 1970 as the first Romani woman from Slovakia. Her best-known autobiography is I Was Born Under a Lucky Star.

    • Legionary

      Legionary (from Latin) – a member of an army unit, the so-called legion. In the context of the First World War, the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia, volunteer military units on Russian territory in 1914-1920, which fought first against the Austro-Hungarian and German armies in the Ukraine and then together with the White Guards and foreign interventionists against the Red Army. One of the main commanders of the legions in Russia was Radola Gajda.

    • Lety u Písku

      Lety u Písku – a village in the district of Písek, where the so-called Gypsy camp (Zigeunerlager I) was established on 2 August 1942. In addition to Roma and Sinti, mostly from Bohemia, several dozen people who were not Roma but were considered gypsies by the state administration were interned there. Of the approximately 1,300 internees, approximately 320 people, mostly children, did not survive the terrible conditions of the camp. They were first buried in the cemetery in neighbouring Mirovice, and later in a makeshift burial in the woods near the camp. Most of the prisoners were deported in May 1943 to the Auschwitz II - Birkenau extermination camp, only few of the internees were released after the camp was closed in 1943.

  • M
    • Maria-Lanzendorf

      Maria-Lanzendorf – a village in Lower Austria, where one of the many subsidiary camps of the Mauthausen concentration camp was located.

    • Mengele, Josef

      Josef Mengele (1911-1979) – a German SS officer and doctor nicknamed the Angel of Death, responsible for pseudo-medical sadistic experiments on prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, especially Auschwitz. He sent 400,000 prisoners to the gas chambers.

    • Mittelbau I

      Mittelbau I, see Dora.

    • Mussolini, Benito

      Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) – Italian prime minister, politician and dictator, founder of the Fascist Party.

    • Musulmann

      Musulmann, musulman, muzlman (from German) – in camp jargon, a prisoner at the limit of their physical and mental capacities, exhausted by prolonged starvation and toil; dull, apathetic, emaciated to the bone.

  • N
    • Nálepka, Ján

      Ján Nálepka (1912-1943) – as an officer in the army of the Slovak state he defected to the Russians on the Eastern Front and became commander of the 1st Czechoslovak partisan unit in the USSR. He was killed in the battle for Ovruč. In memoriam promoted to brigadier general.

    • Natzweiler-Struthof

      Natzweiler-Struthof – a Nazi concentration camp near the French town of Natzwiller (German: Natzweiller) in German-occupied Alsace. From May 1941 to November 1944, approximately 52,000 prisoners from all over Europe passed through the camp. About 22,000 of them died or were murdered there.

    • Nordhausen

      Nordhausen – town in Thuringia. In the former Luftwaffe barracks was one of the largest camps for forced labourers who assembled jet engines for the Junkers company. In January 1945, part of the site became a branch camp of the Mittelbau concentration camp for dying and sick prisoners unable to work, where three thousand prisoners died over the next three months on the floors of concrete sheds without any facilities.

  • O
    • oberkapo

      Oberkapo (from German) – chief kapo in concentration camps appointed from among the prisoners.

    • oberlandrat

      Oberlandrat (from German) – an administrative unit of the German occupation administration within the Protectorate.

  • P
  • R
  • S
    • Stalin, Josif Vissarionovič

      Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (1878-1953) – Soviet dictator, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1922-1953.

    • Stubendienst

      Stubendienst (from German) – in a concentration camp, a prison official in charge of a section of a block, usually one room.

    • Sudetenland

      Sudetenland (from German) – a term referring to the territories in northern, western and southern Bohemia, Silesia and northern and southern Moravia, annexed by Germany after the Munich Agreement in September 1938. Originally, these were areas where the majority of the population spoke German. The Sudetenland was not part of the Protectorate and were reincorporated in Czechoslovakia in 1945. Following a presidential decree of August 1945, persons of German nationality were deprived of Czechoslovak citizenship and the government decided to expel them. More than three million people were thus dispossessed and expelled. The subsequent shortage of labour in the border areas meant that the inhabitants of other parts of Czechoslovakia were - sometimes forcibly - relocated there. Several thousand Roma from Slovakia and the Czech interior also ended up in the former Sudetenland after the war.

    • Svoboda, Ludvík

      Ludvík Svoboda (1895-1979) – Czechoslovak soldier and politician. He was captured as an Austrian soldier on the Eastern Front in World War I and then fought as a legionary. In 1939 he escaped to Poland. Released from internment in in the Soviet Union after the Nazi invasion, he gradually organized a Czechoslovak field battalion from officers and volunteers, the 1st Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion, , the nucleus of 1st Czechoslovak Army Corps in the USSR, which he commanded. From 1968 to 1975 he was President of Czechoslovakia.

    • Svoboda’s Army

      Svoboda’s Army, see First Czechoslovak Army Corps in the Soviet Union

  • T
    • Terezín

      See Theresienstadt

    • Theresienstadt

      Theresienstadt, Czech Terezín – a town in the Ústí nad Labem region. In 1941, a so-called Jewish ghetto was established here and the original inhabitants of the town had to leave Terezín. The ghetto served as a collection camp for Jews before deportation to the extermination camps, but also as a so-called old-age ghetto for elderly Jews from Germany or Austria or for Jewish notables, prominent interwar politicians, scientists, etc. About 155 thousand people passed through the ghetto, of whom almost 120 thousand did not survive the war. Throughout the war, the Terezín Small Fortress was a Gestapo prison where some Czech and Moravian Roma and Sinti were interned.

    • Tiso, Jozef

      Jozef Tiso (1887-1947) – Catholic priest, member of parliament and minister of the Czechoslovak government, prime minister of the Slovak autonomous government and the government of the Slovak state, supreme commander of the Hlinka Guards and the Slovak army, President of the Slovak state in 1939-1945. In 1947 he was sentenced to death in Bratislava.

    • Tri Duby

      Tri Duby – the historical name of today's Sliač airport in the Banská Bystrica district.

  • U
    • Union of Gypsies-Roma

      The Union of Gypsies-Roma – the first officially authorized Romani organization in the Czech lands. It operated from 1969-1973, after which the Communist authorities banned it. It sought to improve the political and economic status of Roma and Sinti and was also involved in cultural, sporting, social and commemorative activities. By the end of its existence, it had brought together some 8,500 people.

    • UNRRA

      The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, or UNRRA – operated from 1943 to 1947 as an international relief organization for victims of World War II under the control of the United Nations. It coordinated and provided assistance ranging from providing food, medicine and raw materials to rebuilding infrastructure, and played a key role in repatriating displaced persons during and after the war.

  • V
    • V1, V2

      V1, V2 – German so-called retaliatory weapons (Verwaltungswaffen), which were intended to reverse the course of the Second World War. Their serial production began in 1944 and by June the first V1 was launched at London. Besides London, the most common targets for V1 air-launched missiles and V2 ballistic missiles were Antwerp and other European cities.

    • vajda

      Vajda – a Romani leader, who usually acted as a mediator between Romani people and the surrounding majority.

    • Vedral-Sázavský, Jaroslav

      Jaroslav Vedral-Sázavský (1895-1944) – soldier, staff officer and military teacher. During the First World War he was taken prisoner by the Russians on the Eastern Front and fought as a legionary. After the German occupation, he organized an exile army in France and London and left for the Eastern Front in 1944 at his own request. He was one of two Czechoslovak generals killed in the Battle of the Dukla Pass when his car hit a German mine on 6 October 1944.

    • Videoton

      Videoton – a Hungarian company nationalized after World War II specializing in the production of electronic equipment. It had an office in Prague.

    • Vlasovites

      Vlasovites – military units of the Russian Liberation Army (ROA). During World War II, they were recruited from Russian prisoners of war, defectors, former emigrants and opponents of the Soviet regime who volunteered to fight against the Soviet Union on the side of Nazi Germany. The term Vlasovites derives from the name of General Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov, who, as a prominent Russian prisoner of war, organized the ROA and was appointed its first commander.

    • Volkssturm

      Volkssturm – German People's Militia, which was formed by order of Adolf Hitler on 25 September 1944. Volkssturm - civilians, men aged 16-60 armed with light weapons, were supposed to protect rear positions, but from January 1945 they also fought on the front line.

    • Vorarbeiter

      Vorarbeiter (from German) – in the concentration camps, a foreman, a subordinate leader of a work unit in charge of about ten prisoners.

  • W

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