Růžena Danielová

Růžena Danielová
  • Version 1.0
  • Publication date 15 February 2024

Růžena Danielová was born on 27 February 1904 in Čejč, Hodonín district, Czechoslovakia. She grew up with her blind mother in various villages, most often in Mutěnice (Hodonín district) in South Moravia. South Moravia at that time belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, becoming part of Czechoslovakia in 1918. From the age of 16, Růžena Danielová lived with her later husband Martin Daniel (born 1900). In the years 1920 to 1927, they settled in the village of Kobylí (Břeclav district), where they got married in 1926. The couple had the following children: sons František (1921–1922), Jan (born 1923), Tomáš (born 1927), Michal (born 1932) and daughters Magdalena (born 1925) and Zuzana (born 1932). Between 1927 and 1938, the whole family lived in the Romani colony in Břeclav, from 1938 in Mutěnice among the majority population, where they later owned a small house. Růžena, her husband and the eldest son worked in various brickyards, but also helped with seasonal work in the vineyards and during the harvest.

Under German occupation, the family, which was officially designated as racially gypsy, was destined for deportation from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in 1943. On the advice of local residents, the family tried to save themselves by marrying their pregnant daughter Magdalena to her non-Roma boyfriend (who was from Velvary in Central Bohemia). The wedding took place about a week before the departure of the transport, but it did not save any of the family. On 7 May 1943, Růžena Danielová, her husband and their children were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau and interned in camp section BIIe. There all the members of her family perished: husband Martin in August 1943, children Zuzana in September 1943, Jan and Magdalena in December 1943, and Tomáš and Michal (dates unknown). Only Růžena Danielová survived the atrocities in the camp, where she became a victim of medical crimes (she was given an injection in her head in the camp hospital, and felt the effects for the rest of her life). On 2 August 1944, just before the liquidation of the camp, Růžena Danielová was transferred to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Assigned to work in a factory in Wittenberg, she was liberated there in 1945.

Until her death on 3 May 1988, she lived in the village of Hrubá Vrbka (Hodonín district) with her partner musician Pavel Kubík (1902‒1882), who survived the war without internment thanks to the help of local people and thanks to the intercession of the association Ethnographic Moravia [in Czech Národopisná Morava]. This nationalistic and fascist association from the so-called Moravian Slovakia region in southeastern Moravia openly collaborated with the German occupational regime, but it saved some Roma musicians from Hrubá Vrbka and the neighbouring village of Velká nad Veličkou from deportation; these included the famous violinist Jožka Kubík (1907–1978).

The memories of Růžena Danielová were recorded in the 1970s by the ethnomusicologist Dušan Holý (born 1933), who published them together with the historian Ctibor Nečas (1933–2017) in 1993 in the book ‘Žalující píseň’ [The Plaintive song]. Based on her musical performance, Dušan Holý transcribed and analysed the now well-known song ‘Aušvicate hi kher baro’ [There’s a large building in Auschwitz], which was created as a collective work of Romani inmates in Auschwitz-Birkenau and belongs to the corpus of songs whose lyrics in Romanes describe the miserable life in the extermination camp.

The life of Růžena Danielová is also covered in the 1997 film documentary ‘Ó, ty černý ptáčku’ [Oh, You Black Bird] by director Břetislav Rychlík (born 1958).


Michal Schuster: Růžena Danielová, in: Enzyklopädie des NS-Völkermordes an den Sinti und Roma in Europa. Hg. von Karola Fings, Forschungsstelle Antiziganismus an der Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg 15. Februar 2024. -

7. Mai 1943Etwa 860 Männer, Frauen und Kinder, hauptsächlich Insassen des Zwangslagers Lety bei Pisek, werden im Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz-Birkenau registriert. Sie wurden mit dem vierten Deportationszug aus dem Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren (deutsch besetzte tschechische Länder) auf der Grundlage des „Auschwitz-Erlasses“ deportiert.