Milena Hübschmannová died

9. 9. 2005

Senior lecturer Milena Hübschmannová, a woman of outstanding human qualities and the founder of Czech Romany Studies died, aged 72, in a car accident in South Africa. The sad news was broken to Dženo Association by fellow students from the Romany Studies department.

Milena Hübschmannová was born in Prague on June 10, 1933. She first became interested in Romany language after she had graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where she had majored in Urdu, Hindu and Bengali. Since Romany was not taught anywhere in those times for political reasons, she mastered it among the native speakers with whom she became close friends.

She played a major part in the running of the Association of Gipsy-Roma (1969-1971), in which she chaired the social science committee. Thanks to her unyielding effort, the first course of Romany was opened at the School of Languages in Prague in 1976. Later, in 1991, a separate department solely for Romany Studies was established at the Charles University. She had been the head and the very heart of the department until her tragic death.

To say that she dedicated her life to Romany people and their culture entirely is hardly an overstatement. During the communist era, she fought against the assimilation practises of the regime and against the violation of the rights of Roma. Throughout her life, she collected Romany folklore, assembled materials documenting Romany cultural heritage, encouraged the use of Romany as a language and helped develop Romany literature.

In spite of her scientific ambitions, she always preserved a primarily human attitude to Romany people. She was well loved for her modesty and her willingness to help among Roma both in the Czech Republic and abroad. We knew her as a loving, good-hearted woman and we will remember her as such.

Mi del o Del amara Milenake loki phuv! Amen na bisteraha!

Personally I have to admit that I did not have much time for her and neither do I for any other Gohja Gypsyologists and those researching our Language and Culture. This should be done by Romani, and only by Romani, for Romani.