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Funeral for Jan Rác will take place tomorrow, Friday, 4 June, in Karviná, Czech Republic

3.6.2021 14:42
Jan Rác (1957-2021) (PHOTO: Petr Axman, Archive of Romano voďi magazine, Prague, Czech Republic)
Jan Rác (1957-2021) (PHOTO: Petr Axman, Archive of Romano voďi magazine, Prague, Czech Republic)

The funeral for Jan Rác, the Romani activist, collector and researcher who passed away suddenly on 28 May 2021, will take place on Friday, 4 June at 15:00 in the central cemetery in Karviná (Borovského 872/58b). Mr Rác was born in Kraslice, Czechoslovakia, in 1957. 

As a young man he apprenticed as a concrete technician in construction work, but made a name for himself as a Romani activist, as a collector, and as a researcher. All of his life was dedicated to studying the culture and the history of the Romani people. 

Mr Rác's passion for collecting was part of that avocation. Since the age of 20, he had been collecting books on Romani subjects and Romani literature. 

He also collected musical instruments and recordings, products handmade by Romani craftspeople, and works of art. He worked with the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, to which he donated a large part of the collection that had become his life's work. 

In 2002, during the KHAMORO World Roma Festival, Mr Rác organized an exhibition called "Mirikle", drawing from his collection of decorative Romani beads. He organized a unique exhibition 12 years later in Zlín, where he spent practically his entire life, about "Old Gypsy Postcards from the 19th and 20th Centuries" (Staré cikánské pohlednice z 19. a 20. století). 

Some of the postcards from his private collection that especially stood out at that exhibition were from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Uzhhorod (now in Ukraine) and the former Yugoslavia. Mr Rác also contributed artefacts to the exhibition "In Honor of Eva Davidová" (Pocta Evě Davidové), which was held during the 20th annual KHAMORO festival in Prague. 

He had been friends for many years with that particular ethnographer and photographer who, just like him, dedicated her life to documenting Romani culture and tradition. He was also involved in humanitarian work. 

When extensive flooding struck Slovakia in 1998, Mr Rác organized deliveries of aid to the Romani settlements there. One year later his charity and humanitarian activity relocated into the Pätorácke and Zabijanec settlements in the village of Rudňany and to the Romani school in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Osobnosti, Pohřeb, romská kultura, úmrtí



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