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Four Generations Of A Czech Romany Family

The working-class neighborhood of Zizkov is one of the centers of the Romany, or Gypsy, minority in the Czech capital, Prague. Some 150,000 to 300,000 Roma live in the entire country, and their communities often suffer from social exclusion, high unemployment, and low rates of education. RFE/RL photographer Kristyna Dzmuranova visited one family in Zizkov, the Cinas, to record some details of their daily life and family history.

The courtyard of the Cina family's apartment in Zizkov, a run-down but vibrant neighborhood in Prague with a high concentration of Romany inhabitants.
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The courtyard of the Cina family's apartment in Zizkov, a run-down but vibrant neighborhood in Prague with a high concentration of Romany inhabitants.

Six family members ranging from age 5 to 82 live in this small 3-bedroom apartment. Much of the apartment is empty during the day, when the family tends to gather around the kitchen table.
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Six family members ranging from age 5 to 82 live in this small 3-bedroom apartment. Much of the apartment is empty during the day, when the family tends to gather around the kitchen table.

The Cina family gathers to talk after lunch. From left to right: Jana Cinova, 46; Marcela Gynova, 11; Jana's husband, Emil Cina Sr., 40; Rudolf Makula, 8; Honza Vastag, 5; and Emil Cina Jr., 15.
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The Cina family gathers to talk after lunch. From left to right: Jana Cinova, 46; Marcela Gynova, 11; Jana's husband, Emil Cina Sr., 40; Rudolf Makula, 8; Honza Vastag, 5; and Emil Cina Jr., 15.

Rudolf and his sister, Marcela, play with their dog, known both as Aron and Pipiripi. Jana Cinova, their grandmother, took them in as foster children after her son, the children's father, left them.
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Rudolf and his sister, Marcela, play with their dog, known both as Aron and Pipiripi. Jana Cinova, their grandmother, took them in as foster children after her son, the children's father, left them.

Rudolf says that when he grows up, he wants to be a military commando.
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Rudolf says that when he grows up, he wants to be a military commando.

Honza Vastag, another grandchild of Jana and Emil, often comes to visit in the afternoon.
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Honza Vastag, another grandchild of Jana and Emil, often comes to visit in the afternoon.

Emil Jr. and Rudolf play soccer in the entryway to their apartment building. Emil is a passionate soccer player and plays every day with friends from the neighborhood. He warms up by teaching Rudolf some tricks.
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Emil Jr. and Rudolf play soccer in the entryway to their apartment building. Emil is a passionate soccer player and plays every day with friends from the neighborhood. He warms up by teaching Rudolf some tricks.

Jana and her husband Emil. Jana has been unable to work since suffering a heart attack two years ago. She receives a disability pension.
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Jana and her husband Emil. Jana has been unable to work since suffering a heart attack two years ago. She receives a disability pension.

Emil Cina Sr., a musician, tunes up his guitar. He perform two to three times a week with four other musicians in his band, Benga Show, which has been praised in the Czech press for its "authentic Romany feeling."
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Emil Cina Sr., a musician, tunes up his guitar. He perform two to three times a week with four other musicians in his band, Benga Show, which has been praised in the Czech press for its "authentic Romany feeling."

Marcela shows a picture of her great-grandfather, Gusta Cina, who was drafted to fight in World War II in Slovakia, then allied with Nazi Germany. Although Roma were brutally persecuted by the Nazis, some were also pressed into service.
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Marcela shows a picture of her great-grandfather, Gusta Cina, who was drafted to fight in World War II in Slovakia, then allied with Nazi Germany. Although Roma were brutally persecuted by the Nazis, some were also pressed into service.

The youngest pose with the oldest. Jan Batiy, 82, the uncle of Jana Cinova, proudly shows a collage of family photos. Before he settled in Prague in the 1950s, he used to trade cattle in Slovakia. He later worked at the main train station in Prague.
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The youngest pose with the oldest. Jan Batiy, 82, the uncle of Jana Cinova, proudly shows a collage of family photos. Before he settled in Prague in the 1950s, he used to trade cattle in Slovakia. He later worked at the main train station in Prague.

Jan Batiy points to a picture of himself about 15 years ago, before he developed crippling knee problems. “I wish I could still walk," he says. "I used to earn money and chase women in my spare time."
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Jan Batiy points to a picture of himself about 15 years ago, before he developed crippling knee problems.
“I wish I could still walk," he says. "I used to earn money and chase women in my spare time."

Jan Batiy enjoys his favorite pipe, which he says is one of his few remaining pleasures since his walking is now limited. He reminisces about the old days from his post in the courtyard.
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Jan Batiy enjoys his favorite pipe, which he says is one of his few remaining pleasures since his walking is now limited. He reminisces about the old days from his post in the courtyard.

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