Olga Fečová, nee Demeterová, wife of the musician Josef Fečo, born 1942, Kochanovce, Humenné district. After the war she moved with her family to Prague where she later worked on the railway, in the District Housing Office (OPBH) and in a theatre as a cleaner and laundress. After 1989 she worked as a teaching assistant in a primary school in the Nusle district of Prague. She organised concert tours for the family women’s choir Romane romnija, and with her husband she founded the children’s sing and dance company, Čhavorikani Luma / Children’s World. In her 65th year she completed her middle school education at the Protestant Academy in Prague. With her daughters she devoted herself to foster parenting. She is one of the leading personalities in the Roma women’s group Manushe, and in Krupce, where she now lives, she leads the women’s group Jileha / By Heart. In 2016 she received the award Roma Spirit for her lifelong work for the Roma society, and in 2020 was proposed by the Senate of the Czech Republic for the state honour For Merit.
During the war Olga Fečová’s family lived two kilometres from the town. Parents told her about the fighting, the town burning, the arrival of the Germans, and the flight of many Roma into the forest. Not all of them succeeded, afterwards the Germans came into the village and the Roma had to accommodate them. According to Fečová, the Roma men were well off under the Germans – the Roma had to play for the Germans and were paid for it. Fečová mentioned the behaviour of Russians and Germans towards the girls who were raped, for which soldiers on both sides were shot. Fečová describes that when the family returned towards the end of the war from their hideout in the forest her mother went for water and found a German hiding in the well who asked for food and a blanket. Then at home there was a German hiding in the cupboard but he too only wanted something to eat, he didn’t hurt the mother or the children. She also gives an opposite case in the family – she mentioned uncle Jul on her mother’s side, whom the Germans killed in a concentration camp. The Roma men fled from the Germans into the forest because they were afraid of ending in a concentration camp; Olga Fečová mentioned three Roma captured by the Germans.
-  The name of the town is not mentioned.
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, 150-156 (ces), 157-162 (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/olga-fecova (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
The interview was likely recorded in the home of Verona Fečová, Olga Fečová's mother-in-law. She was the main speaker of the interview, while Olga Fečová shared her family's wartime experience, especially at the end of the interview. As Olga was only three years old at the end of the war, she at least conveyed her mother's narrative. She and Milena Hübschmann had a long-standing relationship – Olga Fečová's father was Hübschmannová's first teacher of Romani. The two women had known each other since Olga was eleven years old. Verona Fečová's grandchildren and great-grandchildren were also present. The interview is abridged.
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