HOW the Roma live is a big talking point in Slovakia. This picture, taken somewhere near Košice between World Wars I and II, shows just how bad living conditions used to be.
At that time the Roma were still partly nomadic and these holes, dug into a bank above a creek, served as temporary homes. Children, and a lone woman, sit staring bleakly into the camera.
Documents show that the Roma have been living on what is now Slovak territory since at least 1322. At the time of this photo at least, things had not changed for their community in nearly 700 years.
The Roma (or Gypsies, as they were known for centuries) have always been excellent musicians and skillful blacksmiths. And old Roma women will still tell you of successes to come in return for a coin or two.
By Branislav Chovan,
Special to the Spectator
29. Nov 2004 at 0:00