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October 21, 2018
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Czech Republic: Eva Davidová, an ethnographer who loved Romani people, has passed away

26.9.2018 7:34
Eva Davidová (1932-2018), shown here in 2012. (PHOTO:  Petr Axmann)
Eva Davidová (1932-2018), shown here in 2012. (PHOTO: Petr Axmann)

On Friday, 21 September, at the age of 85, Eva Davidová passed away. She was an art historian, ethnographer, photographer and also a sociologist who had dedicated herself since the mid-1950s to systematically studying the culture and way of life of Romani people in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia.

Funeral services for her will be held for her private family circle only. Born in 1932 in Prague, she grew up there and graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, and she worked at the Academy of Sciences' Institute of Sociology until 1976.

She and her family moved to the town of Český Krumlov in 1976, where she worked in museums and as a researcher, lecturing at the South Bohemian University in České Budějovice and as an external lecturer for several other universities in addition to serving as the District Conservator of Heritage Care-taking for 15 years in Český Krumlov. During 1958 and 1959 she took what have become iconic photographs of travelling Oláh (Vlach) Roma who were being forced to settle by Law No. 74/1958 in Czechoslovakia.

She continued her photographic documentation of the lives of Romani people after that and remained dedicated to Romani people for the rest of her life as a professional staff member of various academic and cultural institutions. In recognition of her lifelong work conserving, documenting and presenting the culture of Romani people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia she was given the Artis Bohemiae Amicis (Friends of Czech Art) award in 2002 by Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostál.

In 2012 Dr Davidová  received the Museum of Romani Culture Prize for her longstanding, tireless work to benefit ethnic Roma and the significant role she played in establishing and building the Museum of Romani Culture itself. One of the more extensive recent interviews with her was published by Romano voďi magazine in 2012.

zda, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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