Jozefína Danielová, born 1930, Čáry, Senica district
Before 1930, the Roma lived outside the village in a Roma settlement of about five or six houses by the forest. They had a hard life then, and were underfed. When they were young, Jozefína Daniel's parents went to work in the fields of large estates, and were partly paid in kind. They would carry their children with them on their backs. They also worked on building sites, wherever work could be found, but mostly only in the summer. They did receive money for their work in addition to food, but they were not paid enough. The local Roma men were blacksmiths; Jozefína Danielová remembers two of them. The women would go to beg from the Slovak peasants, and in the summer they would go to work again for a while. During Jozefína Danielová's lifetime, the Roma were able to move closer to the Slovaks, buy land in one street, and build new housing there. She remembers that the Roma invited the rich Slovak peasants with whom they worked in the summer to be godparents to their children; her godparents were Slovaks too, and they had friendly relations with her parents.
According to her, the Romani people were very close-knit then; they were poor, but life was happier. They celebrated holidays together, and visited each other.
Jozefína Danielová's father was working, he did not worry about anything, and the Hlinka Guard from Čáry left them alone. They did nothing bad to them or to the other Roma in the village. In the places where the Germans were at that time, it wasn't good, she said, but the Germans weren't in Čáry for long, so the Hlinka Guard on their own didn't harm them. However, the Roma had limited rights - they could not, for example, go to the pub or to entertainment; if they wanted to enjoy music, they had to make their own entertainment at home, she recalled, adding: "You could be dressed like a gentleman, you could be anything, but they still wouldn't let you in."
The Germans moved into Čáry only in the winter; they were soldiers wounded in the bombing, and then they were taken somewhere else again. The Russians, according to her, were worse – they drove them out of the house as soon as they arrived, they had no chance to take anything with them, not even food, and the Russians set up a radio station there. They went after the women, raped young girls, and so the Roma women had to hide in the fields day and night. The higher ranks usually behaved better.
Roma from Čáry served in the military; in the Slovak army they were assigned to labour gangs.
-  Year not given.
Danielová recalled that when she was grown up and married, the old Roma would come in the evening, tell stories, dance, sing and be merry. Later, they began to live more for themselves and spend their evenings at home in front of the television.
How to cite abstractAbstract 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, 636-640 (ces), 641-645 (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/jozefina-danielova (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
The interview took place in the spring of 1994 in the backyard of Jozefína Danielová's home in a Roma street on the edge of the village of Čáry.
Where to find this testimony