Margita Miková, born 1929 in Terňa, Prešov district
Margita Miková's mother came from a wealthy family; her father, a blacksmith, was liked by the peasants in Terňa, a village where Roma lived among non-Roma Slovaks. Miková's father, on the other hand, was poor and very dark-skinned, which is why her mother's parents were against this union; her uncle also disapproved of the relationship. However, when her uncle fled to America, he sent money to the whole family, including Miková, her sister, and her husband. With this money, the young couple set up a business dealing in pigs, which they ran successfully. Margita Miková said that as a child she was “like a fish in water” – she had everything she needed. She went to school, so she was able to help her father record the weights of the pigs.
-  Mother's brother.
Miková recalled all the things Romani people in the village were not allowed to do after the anti-Roma measures were adopted, and the punishments to which they were subjected for violating the regulations. She mentions, for example, the rampage of the so-called Pačaj secret police and their car, called the Eržička, in which Romani people were caught. Poor Roma would pick strawberries or mushrooms and go into town to sell them; when they were caught, they were beaten, their hair was cut off, and a cross shaved on their head. Miková's father's trade was taken away by the Hlinka Guards; she no longer remembers whether it was 1941 or 1942. The turning point, she said, came in 1943, when the Roma's position worsened. In this context, she recalled the visit of President Jozef Tiso to Terňa, whose public statement she took to mean that the Roma would become slaves.
Miková mentioned how the Germans treated Romani girls and recalls several cases of rape. One occurred in Lipany - a 13-year-old girl was raped, murdered and buried by a German. She remembered her grandmother hiding her from the Germans under her skirts; she made a hump for her sister’s back, and smeared them with soot so they looked hideous. Nevertheless Margit's sister was later caught and raped, and was unable to have children afterwards. The Germans usually broke into the house at night, and they had to escape and sleep in the cemetery. In another family, when three girls were raped by three Germans in front of their parents and siblings, Margit's father went to tell their commander the next day and the three soldiers were said to have ended up at the front.
When she was about fifteen the Gestapo went after Miková and her cousin; she was helped to escape by a Slovak peasant, Kohuďa, who hid her and did not betray her even when his teeth were knocked out. Her cousin hid with a woman called old Hana. Miková said that in their village the rich peasants took the side of the Germans, but there were two or three good ones.
At the age of fifteen or sixteen, at her father's bidding and against her will, Miková was married off. She said she went to the church in tears, her face bruised from where her father had slapped her. He thought that as a married woman she would be protected from the Germans. She said her husband had only married her only for the dowry, which in the end he did not receive – Margit's father had in the meantime had his trade taken away and gave the rest of his money to his new wife, whom he married after the death of his first wife. Margita Miková's husband was from the neighbouring village of Babin Potok, where there were only three Romani houses, and he made what were called opalki [a Romani word for baskets] and wooden spoons. He was one of nine brothers, all of whom were light-skinned; their mother was not Romani, and thanks to her light skin she was not ostracized during the war when, for example, she sold mushrooms strawberries in Prešov. Miková said that light skin often protected Romani people from sanctions and punishments, while dark-skinned Romani people were not allowed to show their faces anywhere. Miková was not accepted by her new family: her husband did not want her because he did not get the money, and her mother-in-law threw her out. But Miková had nowhere to go, because her mother had died and her father had a new wife; moreover, the Roma had to stay in the place where they were registered or risk being taken to a camp.
Miková lived with her husband for thirty-two years and spoke of him as a hard-working man who was respected by people. She did not describe their marriage as a happy one, saying that she loved him, but he did not love her. She spoke of beatings, running away to her daughter, and caring for her husband when he was terminally ill. She said he now came to "visit" her because he wanted to apologise.
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, 173-176 (ces), 177-180 (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/margita-mikova (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
Margita Miková's testimony was part of an interview conducted in 1974 in Rokycany, originally on the topic of her personal experiences with the spirits of the dead. Miková's recollection of her husband, who had died six months earlier, and how they met, led her to the topic of the war. In this section, the narrative is edited into a coherent whole and the questions are omitted. The editor met Miková during the filming of Dušan Hanak's Růžové sny (Pink Dreams) of 1976, in which Miková performed.
Where to find this testimony