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Agnesa Horváthová

Agnesa Horváthová, born cca 1929, Chmelov, Prešov district

  • Testimony abstract

    The Romani people in Chmelov lived in about six or seven houses built of unfired bricks, and consisting of a small room and a pantry. Agnesa Horváthová and her parents lived in one of these houses, which stood near the church. Before the situation deteriorated, she managed to complete four years of primary school.

    When Horváthová was about fourteen years old,[1] the Hlinka Guards (including a local farmer who joined them) drove the Roma from Chmeľov into the forest at Petič. She stopped going to school - her parents were elderly and afraid to let her go to the village. They built a poor house out of wood in the forest and stayed there for about a year; she remembers that there was mud everywhere.[2] Irena Kroková's family stayed in Chmeľov, where they were quite well off because they worked for rich farmers, the Sučeks; Horváthová remembers them as nice people.

    The next year fighting broke out and Horváthová, her mother and other people ran and hid in the forest. The Germans set fire to the houses, overturned everything in the dwellings, and raped Romani girls and women, both young and old.

    Horváthová recalled the names of several villages that the Roma partisans came from - Babin Potok,[3] Hanušovce nad Topľou, Pavlovce, and Ďurďoš. Babin Potok was the home of a well-known partisan named Oracko, who later lived in Chmelov. During the war, he encouraged the Roma to join the partisans so that there would be as many of them as possible. The partisans put rifles over the shoulders of some of the Roma and made them go with them, but many joined voluntarily, wanting to fight against the Hlinka Guards. Oracko's group also included other men; according to Horváthová, they were Roma from Pavlovce and Hanušovce. When the [Russians] bombed the prison in Prešov,[4] partisans from Hanušovce were among the victims; one survived, although he lost his arms due to a rockfall. His name was Janko;[5] he was the son of Fulak, and lived with “Feriček's Verona”,[6] but soon died, leaving behind a young wife with eight children. The Roma partisans who survived the air raid returned. Four young Roma from Pavlovce then fought with Oračko, but no one from Chmeľov joined.

    There was fierce fighting at Babin Potok. The Germans were entrenched in the forest, and once when the partisans attacked, they mined a bridge, causing holy pictures to fall from the wall. They sent guardsmen to Babin Potok against Oračko, but the partisans hid from them and saved themselves.

    • [1] Probably in 1943.
    • [2] Horváthová also mentions that they lived for a year and a half with an aunt in the village of Pavlovce in the district of Vranov nad Topľou, but it is not clear exactly which period she is referring to.
    • [3] Now part of the municipality of Terňa.
    • [4] An air raid on December 20, 1944, during which 120 people imprisoned by the Gestapo were killed.
    • [5] Full name not given.
    • [6] Full name not given.

    A Slovak woman was now living on the land near the church where the family had previously lived. So Horváthová’s father put together some money and, she said, a Slovak in the village sold them a plot of land for twelve thousand crowns, on which they built a house. After that they were fine.

    How to cite abstract

    Abstract of testimony from: HÜBSCHMANNOVÁ, Milena, ed. “Po židoch cigáni.” Svědectví Romů ze Slovenska 1939–1945.: I. díl (1939–srpen 1944). 1. Praha: Triáda, 2005, 848-852 (ces), 853-857 (rom). Testimonies of the Roma and Sinti. Project of the Prague Forum for Romani Histories (Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences), https://www.romatestimonies.com/testimony/agnesa-horvathova (accessed 4/13/2024)
  • Origin of Testimony

    The interview with Agnesa Horváthová took place in August 2000 in the house of Irena Kroková,[1] a good friend of Elena Lacková,[2] in the presence of students of Romani studies Pavla Kříženecká and Helena Sadílková, the photographer Josef Koudelka, Elena Lacková, and members of the family of Mrs Kroková. Irena Kroková interjected several remarks in the course of the interview, although she herself did not remember the war, having been a small child at the time.[3] The interview has not been edited.

    • [1] See her memoirs in the database.
    • [2] See her memoirs in the database.
    • [3] Date of birth not given.
  • Where to find this testimony

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