- Hans Weber
- December 6, 2023
Romani and Sinti Center to Open in Prague in 2024, Honoring Holocaust Victims and Culture
A new Romani and Sinti Center is slated to open in Prague next year, with operational plans set to commence in November 2024. Housed in a First Republic villa in Dejvice, the center is being established by the Romani Culture Museum (MRK) and will encompass a range of educational and cultural offerings.
The Romani and Sinti Center will include a permanent exhibition focused on the Romani Holocaust, featuring presentations by Romani artists and educational programs tailored for schools. MRK director Jana Horváthová has outlined the center’s goals to create a space that serves as both a showcase for the history and culture of the original Czech Roma and an educational hub.
The project is funded by Norwegian resources, with an initial budget of CZK 44.6 million, including CZK 28 million allocated for reconstruction and equipment. The winning company estimated the reconstruction cost at CZK 37.7 million. The center will also house a community center, a gallery for showcasing art from MRK collections, and a smaller exhibition focusing on the Romani Holocaust to complement the permanent exhibition at the Letná Memorial in Písek.
The expansion of the villa will include a basement lecture hall capable of accommodating an entire classroom, where regular educational programs will be conducted. The community center will be open to the public and aims to foster an understanding of the original Czech Roma culture.
MRK director Jana Horváthová expressed the hope that the center will play a vital role in educating the public about the history of the original Czech and Moravian Roma and Sinti communities, which has often been overshadowed or overlooked. After World War II, only 583 Roma individuals returned from concentration camps, and their history remains relatively unknown to the wider public.
The concept for the center was originally proposed by Čeněk Růžička, the former chairman of the Committee for the Compensation of the Romani Holocaust and a descendant of survivors. Růžička’s vision was to ensure that people learn about the original Roma communities from Bohemia and Moravia.
The Dejvice villa, where the center will be located, was constructed in 1936-1937 by textile industrialist Leo František Perutz. The villa was designed by architects Arnošt Mühlstein and Victor Fürth. Although it has been empty in recent years and occasionally used for filming, the Romani and Sinti Center will revitalize this historic space and honor the memories and culture of the Romani and Sinti communities.
Article by Prague Forum