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September 29, 2022



VIDEO: About 300 people paid their last respects to Mr. Jan Hauer at the Olšany Cemeteries in Prague, Czech Republic

6.9.2022 8:12

Approximately 300 people paid their last respects yesterday in the Church of Saint Roch at the Olšany Cemeteries in Prague to Mr. Jan Hauer, an eminent member of the Sinti community which has been living in the Czech lands at least since the beginning of the 19th century. He was a descendant of Holocaust survivors and strove to commemorate their suffering until the last moments of his own life. 

Mr. Hauer passed away after a long illness on Saturday, 27 August 2022. He was born in 1947 to parents who survived Nazi persecution and were both afflicted with lifelong trauma from the hardships they endured and the loss of their relatives during the Holocaust.

The father of Mr. Hauer was imprisoned in Auschwitz II-Birkenau with his first wife and four children, all of whom died there, and his mother was imprisoned in Lety u Písku with two children who died there - "my siblings", as he emphasized frequently. It was not until he became an adult that he learned about his parents' war experiences in more detail when, in the late 1960s, he joined his father's search to discover what had become of his children born during the interwar period. 

Mr. Hauer traveled with his father to Germany, visiting the archives and relatives who had survived the Holocaust. His own interest grew in tracing his family history further as a result of gradually learning about his relatives' fates and acquiring archival documentation about them.

With the aid of friends, Mr. Hauer accumulated archival materials documenting his family history back to the 19th century, as well as family photographs documenting how Sinti people lived in the Czech lands during the First Czechoslovak Republic, images that are unique. "...Mr. Hauer abounded in wisdom, quick judgment, and a strong sense of tradition," Romani Studies scholar Renata Berkyová has noted in her obituary for

"When, in 2020, Mr. Hauer became an expert jury member selecting the winning design for the new memorial at Lety u Písku, it was exactly the design he had instinctively picked that eventually succeeded from among the 41 designs submitted to the architects' expert jury," the obituary notes. During his final year of life, Mr. Hauer worked intensively on his own book entitled My People (Moji lidi).

František Bikár, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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