Johann ‘Kalitsch’ Horvath, born in Zahling in 1912, grew up in southern Burgenland, which until 1912 was part of Hungary and since then part of Austria. During the National Socialist regime, he was – as the son of a Sinto and a Romni – deported to various concentration camps; his first wife and their three children were murdered in Auschwitz. After his release, he returned to his hometown of Oberwart (Burgenland, Austria). Until his retirement, he travelled to and from Vienna as a construction worker. He died in Oberwart in 1983.

Johann Horvath was a charismatic personality equally respected by Roma and Gadje. He was also one of the few Burgenland Roma after the Second World War who still knew fairy tales and songs in Romani. He is reported by his audience to have been highly esteemed as a storyteller as well (Halwachs et al. 2000: 237–39). He belonged to the few who had survived the Holocaust and thus were able to pass on the cultural inheritance of his group to the next generations.


Samer, Helmut. 2003. Johann »Kalitsch« Horvath. In: RomBase. Didactically edited

Halwachs, Dieter W.; Gärtner-Horvath, Emmerich; Wogg, Michael (eds.). 2000. Der Rom und der Teufel. Märchen, Erzählungen und Lieder der Roma aus dem Burgenland / O Rom taj o beng. Romane pamaristscha, phukajiptscha taj gila andar o Burgenland. Klagenfurt: Drava Verlag.

Horvath, Stefan. 2013. Atsinganos. Die Oberwarter Roma und ihre Siedlungen. Oberwart: edition lex liszt 12, pp. 33–39.

Wiegele, Miriam. 1979. »Die Zigeuner in Österreich«. In: Zülch, Tilman (ed.), In Auschwitz vergast, bis heute verfolgt. Zur Situation der Roma (Zigeuner) in Deutschland und Europa, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1979, pp. 261–72, p. 265.

(Translation: Cech)