Verona Fečová (born 1919, Lúčka, Sabinov district – died 2002, Prague) was the mother of Josef Feč, a prominent Roma musician, composer, violinist, songwriter and author. She was born into a family of exceptionally wealthy Roma who made their living in the pig trade.
Verona Fečová described the family’s situation and position in the context of a Slovak village. The family was wealthy and owned plots of land. The father was illiterate but was in the pig trade and was called a baron. The family kept cows, horses and pigs, and owned a carriage. Verona Fečová used to help from early morning, enjoying what was called gadjo work [that is, work typically done by non-Roma Slovaks (usually in agriculture) which did not include professions, trades, or services typical for Roma (ed.)]. They later had non-Roma servants, and Roma maids who were her mother’s unmarried sisters, her aunts Erža and Ilona. Verona Fečová remembered the good relationships with the Slovaks from the parish who came to christenings and weddings. She described their mutual relations as being like one big family.
During the war their family was allowed to keep their business but had to surrender the pigs and their meat. No one from the family was taken to the labour camps; they could stay at home, but they had to have Germans living with them. Fečová stated that a German doctor lived in their family for about two weeks towards the end of the war, and their daughter and son sang to him, for which they were paid. She said that the doctor behaved decently towards them; he liked their children and sympathised with them.
Verona Fečová mentioned that after the war her father, born in 1914, worked very hard in Prague, where he fell ill and died in 1972.
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/verona-fecova (accessed 11/29/2023)
Origin of Testimony
The interview was apparently recorded in Verona Fečová’s home. Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her daughter-in-law Olga Fečová, who makes a partial appearance in the interview, were present. The interview is abridged.
According to Verona Fečová, the Roma from Lúčka had a very close relationship with the local non-Roma Slovaks; according to the editor of the book, Milena Hübschmannová, they were not even considered to be “gypsies”. According to the editor of the book, their speech was also evidence of the spontaneous integration, Romani being interspersed with long passages in a language which mixed the Šariš dialect and the Czech language.
Where to find this testimony