Memory of Nation


Ilona Ferková (1956)

  Ilona Ferková (1956)
Stories of old Romani people were better than TV and the radio

Romani lived in abandoned railway carriages

“They arrived in Prague with the army. When soldiers went home after the war, they stayed in Prague. They saw there was work and they went to ask into a construction company. They stayed, worked on construction sites, lived in a warehouse and this was where they were joined by aunt Irena, Tomáš’s wife and the sister of my father. When they delivered material to construction sites they learned there was a factory called Nábojka in Rokycany, that they needed people and even provided flats. The men went to Rokycany to ask, while my aunt stayed in Prague. They were recruited and they asked the manager whether they might be joined by a family from Slovakia. The manager agreed and the factory provided accommodation. But you know what it’s like, when one family comes, more join in. Gradually there were about five to six families: the Giňas, Mikos, Horváts and others. Many Romani people lived in the camp. Later, when men got married, they moved into the railway carriage colony. There were little flats made of railway carriages, or they lived in a former brick factory, that was where Romani too lived. They lived in such a place, railway carriages from one side, a brick factory from the other. They stayed until 1962-1963, when the colony was pulled down. Later they built the Jižní předměstí [Southern Suburb] school in that place.”

  • Born in 1956
  • 1986-1989 leader of Amare Neni - a women's ensemble
  • She has been writing since the late 1980s
  • 1994-1998 - coordinator of a Romani kindergarten
  • 1999-2003 - living in England
  • 2016 - retirement
  • 2003 - foster mother
  • 2017 – a member of the women's association Manushe
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