The so-called pracovné útvary that existed in the Slovak Republic in the 1940s were temporary, summer formations of forced labour for those deemed anti-social, e.g. people who were permanently unemployed, criminals and – basically all the Roma. They were not concentration camps.
On July 1, 1942, the “labour corps” camp of Hanušovce officially began to function. It had a slightly different character from other formations of this type. First, it was made up of a collection of smaller units, located along the renovated, new, fast Prešov – Strážske railway route. Secondly, the formation had regular command, which was located in the Dessewffy family mansion in Hanušovce on Topl’ou.
Approximately 1,600 Roma were beaten, imprisoned and starved, in difficult conditions, in unheated barracks, working on the construction of the aforementioned railway route. Works included the construction of high bridges and landscaping mountain areas to suit the railway track. Works in Hanušovce were completed at the end of 1942, and works in Bystré nad Topľou continued until June 1943.
Description of commemoration
A commemorative plaque was placed on the wall inside the building of the Hanušovce nad Topľou railway station. An iron wheel is placed on the granite slab. The diameter of the wheel is approximately 3 times bigger than the width of the slab.
To create this form of commemoration, the designer used the pattern of a wheel, similar to the one on the memorial which was unveiled in Lutile in 2005. Below the wheel there are sandblasted inscriptions (without gilding).
„Ma bisteren! / W rokoch 1942-1943 / na výstavbe železničnej trate / Prešov – Strážske / pracowali aj nasilne internovaní / rómski muži / z východneho Slovenska. // Na pamiatku / zaradencov pracovných útvarov / v Hanušovciach nad Topľou, / Bystrom, Nižnom Hrabovci / a pod Petičom.”
(Ma bisteren! In 1942-1943, Roma men from Eastern Slovakia worked and were internally forced to build railway tracks in Prešov – Strážske. In commemoration of the prisoners in forced labour units in Hanušovce nad Topľou, Bystré, Nižny Hrabovec and the ”Pod Petičom” [tunnel – NG].
Date of the unveiling
Ladislav Čisárik Jr. andAlexander Reindl
In Minorita – projekt Ma bisteren!
094 31 Hanušovce nad Topľou-Hanušovce – pri stanici
Zuza Kumanová, Arne B. Mann, Ma bisteren! Pripomínanie rómskeho holocaustu, Bratislava 2014, s. 40.
Tunnels built by the Gypsies: