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Anna Cinová

Anna Cinová (born 1902, Kapušany, Prešov district – died 1979, Prešov) grew up in her stepfather’s home, and attended two classes of primary school, which was not usual for Roma children at that time. At the age of sixteen she married the younger son[1] of the Lacko family, wealthy Roma in the pig business; although she came from a poor background she had a pale skin, which raised the social status of the family. Her husband enlisted two months after the wedding; after he returned from military service he became a pig trader with his elder brother.[2] During a disagreement with his brother he was struck on the head with a cudgel and died of his injuries. His widow, who had two children, then worked as a servant for her husband’s relations and in farmers’ fields. Although she was courted by many men, she did not marry until the end of the war when both her sons were married and she was almost forty-three. After her own bad experience, she had not wanted her sons to grow up under a stepfather. She married a widower Jozef Cina who traded in poultry – he bought them from farmers, and went on foot from the parish of Stuľana through Kapušany to Prešov, where he sold them in the market. She and her second husband often stayed with her daughter-in-law Elena Lacková, and after her husband’s death, she moved with her permanently to a housing estate in Prešov. Two years before her death she voluntarily entered a retirement home in Cemjatě, because her active daughter-in-law was often away.


[1] Name not given.

[2] Name not given.

  • Testimony abstract

    Anna Cinová’s two sons were taken away by gendarmes and the Hlinka Guard to Prešov, It was supposed to be something similar to military conscription. One of them was released for health reasons.[1] Her other son Jan was taken to the Petič camp. He worked on the construction of the railway track at Lipníky. Cinová described the conditions of those interned; above all the hunger, the hard labour and the constant beatings. They were given food once a day and so every day she or her daughter-in-law brought something extra to the camp. She herself worked in the farmers’ fields to earn just a couple of crowns, but she was helped by her non-Roma friend, the priest’s housekeeper,[2] for whom she collected forest fruits and in return received flour, bread, potatoes and so on. Cinová mentioned the mayor of the parish of Stuľana, where Jozef Cina lived: he did not send the Roma to the camp and so they came to work in Petič, but at night were allowed to return home. She also remembered how at an entertainment in the parish of Bystré the farmers beat the gendarmes from Petič, because they saw with their own eyes how they treated people in the camp. Anna Cinová talked about the repeated escapes of her son Jan from the camp and recalled that he was helped not only by Roma but also by Slovaks. In one of his escapes his cousin was with him, but was captured and tied up by the gendarmes, who at Chmeľov threw him out of the car, so that he died on the spot. Cinová remembered Roma in the Revúca labour camp who informed on other Roma to the gendarmes.[3]

    • [1] Jozef Lacko, Elena Lacková’s husband, who had had a crippled arm from childhood and was shovelling brown coal at the station in Prešov. (ed.)
    • [2] Name not given.
    • [3] The leadership of these camps had received instructions directly from the Ministry of the Interior to obtain informers from the ranks of what were known as “enlisted men”, who then had various rewards and received a financial payment. (ed.)

    Anna Cinová recalled one Pole,[1] who was originally imprisoned for theft but then joined the Hlinka Guards and denounced people to the gendarmes. However, when the Russians arrived he denounced his fellow guards. Then he had the priest from Kapušany, a kind man, transferred, although the peasants begged to let him stay. The peasants were afraid of the Russians because many of them ended in Siberia, and so no one gave the Pole away. But Cinová stated: “Then that Pole died. He did it all by himself. No one else punished him. But the Lord God knows the truth.” Cinová did not live in Kapušany at that time, having moved with her husband to Stuľany, and her widowed daughter-in-law Elena had left for her mother’s home in Šariš.[2] After the war Elena Lacková drew attention to the behaviour of one of the local gendarmes who had harmed the Roma during the war.[3]

    According to Cinová, the gendarme was then dismissed from his job.

    • [1] Name not given.
    • [2] Jozef Lacko had died of an intestinal obstruction. (ed.)
    • [3] Until the abolition of the Prešov district Cinová’s daughter-in-law Elena Lacková worked as cultural inspector for the Regional National Committee in Prešov. Her position enabled her to help the Roma and draw attention to some unpunished war crimes. (ed.)

    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. ISBN 80-86138-14-3, 527-541 (ces), 542-555 (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/anna-cinova (accessed 5/14/2024)
  • Origin of Testimony

    Anna Cinová’s memories were recorded during the interviewer’s repeated visits to her daughter-in-law, Elena Lacková. The narration is almost unedited and the editor points out that it is a typical example of what is known as vakeriben or in other sub-ethnic Roma groups divano – the narration of true stories which, through dint of repetition assume the form of a specific genre of Romani oral culture.

  • Where to find this testimony

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