Michal Čonka

* 1935

  • "I will never forget that, it was a disaster, what we experienced. We haven't had any bread in half a year, it was from January to June 1945, then it got better. When the American UNRRA came and we got bacon, I remember it was really salty, so it wouldn't go bad. And flour and sugar, and that was a great success. We have experienced great misery. And when we moved to Hronov then, it was as if we came to paradise. Can you imagine, from such misery, where everything was destroyed? The first night we slept outside by the fire, in January. We had a nice cottage, but it was all ruined and burned down. So we stayed out in the cold by the fire; there was frost outside and we survived."

  • "You know, everyone explains it differently. It means nothing to me, I was never ashamed to be Roma, but I was proud of it. Maybe I'll tell you how we were at the bus, so we rode the bus. You won't remember that, first we went with the guides, I got there in the year 1960. Exactly fifteen years later, I was done, in 1975. And then we had the cash box, it was with the driver, you threw it there, it was for sixty, then the ticket for one crown, nobody believes it today, and so it clicked. There were many cases that there were speculators that the little money that was raised could never be much, and they made a key and picked up event he few bucks that were there. And there were six of us Roma, and there was no suspicion that anyone would try, something we rode. We were always considered a role model by the leaders.”

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    Ostrava, 21.07.2013

    délka: 01:03:36
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Soutěž Příběhy 20. století
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They survived by the fire in front of the burned house and did not have any bread for half a year

Michal Čonka (en)
Michal Čonka (en)
zdroj: Archiv pamětníka

Michal Čonka was born in 1935 in Piskorovce in the Šariš region in Slovakia. At the end of the war, his family experienced many hardships and fears for life. They hid from German soldiers in the woods. Even after the war, they had nothing to eat or any place to live, as their cottage was burned down. In the summer of 1945, they were assisted by UNRRA, founded by the United Nations (UN) to help the war victims. Two years later, the family moved to the Czech Republic for work. The witness only learned to read here at the age of 12. He trained as a mechanical locksmith and became a sought-after worker. He worked in the Ostrava steelworks, as a bus driver or a boatman. He emigrated to Germany in 1980 and did not return home until twenty years later. In 2013, Michal Čonka lived in his Ostrava apartment.