Milan Lacko

* 1941  

  • My grandmother was Polish. They met in Russia. Let me explain more. My grandmother had one brother, she was a daughter of a factory worker from Warsaw. When the war broke out she was 12 years old and her brother who worked as a doctor sent her to a boarding school. During the war the school was moving eastwards into Russia. My grandfather was held captive n Russia during the WWI. He travelled around Russia as a musician. He was handsome as well. During the revolution he was free enjoying his youth and he met my grandmother. During the wedding they broke up. One day as my grandfather walked around Moscow, he spotted her in a winded. He ran to her, took her in his arms and didn't let go. They started to live together. She gave birth to a boy in Moscow. My grandmother didn't know that my grandfather was Roma.

  • She couldn't really express herself. Her work would not get published. She wrote a lot for others. She burnt for writing, even shortly before her death. I don't want to praise her because she was my mother, I want to praise her because she was extraordinary. I am not sure such a Roma woman will ever be born again. Whenever she went to a meeting, she did not bring any notes. To have a one-hour discussion wasn't difficult for her. She was gifted. The whole code of rules for The Cultural Roma Union was written by her.

  • My mother was mixed, however she would not say this about herself. She always said she was a Roma. She spent a lot of time with Romas, grew up with them and lived with them whole her life, although she didn't have to. She attend meeting frequently, even when she became old. I accompanied her many times. She worked in Roma schools as well. Her focus was on Roma children, they needed to be educated, she would always stress. She was fond of Roma children.

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    Prešov, 12.05.2017

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My mother, Elena Lacková, was a unique woman

Lacko MIlan - dobove foto.jpg (historic)
Milan Lacko
photo: dobové foto: archív Milana Lacka; aktuálne foto: Foto Alexander Mušinka

Born on 23th June 1941 to the Roma family of Jozef Lacko and Elena Lacková in the municipality of Kapušany, Prešov district. His Mother Elena was a Roma activist and writer. Milan  was the youngest of 7 siblings. At the end of the war, the family moved to Cheb near German border and stayed there for a few years. They returned to Prešov in 1949, where Milan completed his elementary school. After that he found work and completed apprenticeship in Plzeň to become an engineer for steam locomotives. By the end of the 1950’s his family moved to Czechia (Karlovy Vary) for the second time. His mother worked as a cultural worker. Soon they moved shortly back to Prešov and in 1960 they moved again to Czechia (Cheb). His mother worked there as a cultural worker and Milan was doing obligatory military service. He met Oľka (born on 10th July 1947) in Cheb who soon became his wife. She came from a village called Hrabkov but she grew up in Prešov. They have 5 children - 4 daughters and 1 son. Whole family moved back to Prešov in 1966. His mother, Elena Lacková worked again as a cultural worker in Lemešany municipality near Prešov. Milan worked as a driver for The Cultural Roma Union in years 1968 - 1973. After the union’s dissolution he found employment as a driver for Metallurgic company in Prešov and stayed employed there until his retirement.