Chanov ghetto

The ghetto of Chanov is situated in the North of Czech Republic, in the formerly mining region of Ustí. The set of 12 tenements, including a school and doctor’s surgery, is located two kilometers from Most, in a cul-de-sac, effectively isolating its Roma inhabitants from the nearby city life.

The estate was built between 1976-1978. The intention was to create an exemplary community for Roma (Gypsies) living, until then, scattered throughout Most in low quality housing, and to prove that the socialist state was able to integrate them. However, historians also decry the propaganda machine and deemed it state-sanctioned segregation that lasts to this day.

A government commission visiting Chanov in 1985 found most of the flats in poor condition and the people living in isolation from the rest of the city. About 50 flats were abandoned. The situation has not improved over the years, more and more flats are derelict with no basic facilities (windows, insulation, water, electricity) but inhabited by Roma families who cannot afford to go anywhere else.

All Chanov inhabitants live below the poverty line, with an unemployment rate nearing 90% and a young population as almost 4 in 10 people are under the age of 15. Rudimentary schooling is provided in the local “Tolerance School” in the morning only, but no real effort is made to educate the community.

Chanov has become a symbol of Roma ghettoization and criminality in Czech Republic. The population of Chanov is estimated to be 1,500 - 2,000.