Luník IX housing estate in Slovakia was never an "experiment in socialism", but a ghetto based on race from the start

"In the historical awareness of those who live in Košiče, the urban legend is strongly entrenched that Luník IX was built as a model housing estate in a pleasant environment near a forest. The legend also claims that an 'experiment in socialism' was undertaken at that housing estate according to which non-Romani and Romani families were meant to live together there. The non-Romani families were meant to be employees of the armed forces, i.e., the army and the police. However, the experiment went awry and the outcome was that the Romani residents destroyed the housing estate," author Ondrej Ficeri describes the "classic story" about the creation of the housing estate in the introduction to his book entitled Luník IX: Zrod romského ghetta [Luník IX: Birth of a Romani Ghetto]. This interpretation of the rise of the most notorious housing estate in Slovakia can commonly be found in various online and print sources where it is usually presented as fact. In his book, Ficeri carefully confronts that narrative with the available facts from archival materials.

On the basis of that evidence, Ficeri tells the story of Luník IX once more, explaining the context and the circumstances of its creation, why it featured the attributes of a ghetto for Romani people from the start, and what this favorite “legend” tells us. 




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