Mikuláš Olah

Mikuláš Oláh (1923 – 1998) was born in Detva. He fought in the Slovak National Uprising from 29 September 1944 to 11 November 1944. He was not, however, the only member of his family to take part in the uprising. His brother Jozef Oláh fought in the partisan group For Slav Freedom. Mikuláš and Jozef were both arrested after the uprising was suppressed and taken to the concentration camp at Mauthausen. However, only Mikuláš returned home.

According to their relative, Branislav Oláh, there were many anonymous Roma among the partisans in the Podpoľanie region. Their families did not keep quiet about the war and the suffering of the Roma during the Second World War. His oral history included the story of his great grandfather Ján from his mother’s side. Ján was transported to labour units based in Hanušovce nad Topľou, where he took part in forced labour on the construction of the railway to Strážske. Over a thousand Roma prisoners were assigned to the construction of the railway from July 1942 to April 1943.

Undertaking heavy manual work in labour units, later in labour camps, was one of the persecution measures used by the Slovak state against Roma.

At the start of 1944 the authorities decided to release Ján from the camp. On his return home he joined the partisans, where he fought until liberation.