"And actually, I would perhaps ask... by the fact that you were their first child, or?
So somehow, I'm guessing... that in the second half of the fifties, they could have had a wedding, or?
I think they got married in fifty-four, and I was born in fifty-eight. And actually, when they already had a wedding, I don't know... they were already accused of holding a Catholic demonstration or something like that. And at the same time... well, a lot of young people probably gathered there, they probably had a lot of friends, but I know... that even then it was perceived that they did something against the state, well.
And actually at the Franciscans, where they met, was it in that Trnava?
In Trnava, yes.
In Trnava. And actually, that your father was involved in some way... he had no problem finishing his studies or....
So he finished his studies just fine, hey... but then later on in life he was a bit of a drag.
Does this also mean that he could not practice the medical profession for some time?
No no. He practiced the medical profession all the time, all the time… right.
And how it manifested itself... that he, that coating. How did the regime show it to him?
So I looked in the volumes of the ŠTB, that he was registered... I don't know what category it is, that he was registered as an enemy of the state, so that. And I looked to see what year it was... it was roughly in the seventies. And so, and they've been following them since they were young. My mother also mentioned... as far as I know, that, for example, she was harassed on Street by ŠTB, that they would... that they would cause her problems at work, and I have the impression that she then confided in her employer about this, and he then confided in her to some protected in a way. And then my father, apart from being a doctor, so... At first he worked in Trnava and then later he worked in Piešťany, I just don't know for what reasons. Couldn't he have done it in Trnava, or how? But he, for example, also taught at the medical school and was a good and popular professor, but there were also times when he could not teach.
You don't know roughly what years it might have been?
I think it was in the seventies… it could have been after sixty-eight.
After the sixty-eighth.
And mom... well, mom was a high school student, then she did... we were actually four children... and then mom did the pedagogic minimum and taught at an apprentice school. But she didn't teach for a long time, because... they said goodbye to her very soon. That was also around the turn of the sixties and seventies.
So it was probably within the framework of the background checks?
It was part of the background checks. "
"Well, at the gymnasium, we had such, different professors, hey... from some, I would say, great personalities, to some, such creeps, who maybe only joined the party for the sake of a career, but then they felt all the more obliged , that do some overtime. And we had such... interesting was professor Hrmo, who taught geography and history, I think... who, in some peculiar way, preserved some of his own, his freedom, certain. And then... for example, I went to the "Kantika Nova" choir, where Professor Šulc was the conductor. And Šulc was a very strange person, so he is still alive and looks very youthful and has a great zest for life. He... well, I can't imagine how he worked. He actually dedicated his life to music and children... he led them to sing... we also went on several tours. He was a believer... he was certainly being pulled over for that too. And for example, some party secretary and the leader of the communist party at the school went on tours with us. And I didn't even know that at the time. Well, when we were... we were once on a tour in Riga... and I think that at that time I was already in contact with Vladimir Jukl, who is called the "general of the secret church" and we took Bibles to Russia, as well. 🙂
And do you know what year it was?
I could have been a third or fourth grader in high school, so I was probably seventeen years old.
And actually there you should have met someone to whom you should have passed it on... or try to bring it a little closer to us.
Well, Vlado gave me some address, right... we also met this family normally in Riga. He gave us... these were very tiny Bibles that were probably printed by the Dutch, then they somehow got to Slovakia and they tried to smuggle them into Russia. So we took this opportunity and took... maybe it was twenty Bibles, because we had several distributed. We traveled by train, but you know... naive young students, hey... if something happened, we didn't even realize how we would totally destroy the professor, and so... And Russia is Russia, well. And on the way we gave to such an old man who talked to us so devoutly. Then in Riga we met such that we were normally at their home, so we gave it to them and then left it in the church, just lying on the bench.
And you only had so much free space to walk that you could?
And you weren't afraid that someone could be set up there to watch where you go, whether you go to church, or...
We were... well, I was very naive in those days, maybe even later... I was very naive. "
"Well, before I... actually the year sixty-eight took place, and I would like to ask before that, even before we get to the twenty-first of August, it was... The Prague Spring was about release... your father could go on a pilgrimage to Rome, for example. And you at that age, ten years old, somehow perceived that something like this was happening, or at that age you could not perceive it very much.
I guess... maybe I sensed that it started to get really busy, in our family, hey. And that, actually... there was such a movement as the "Work of Council Renewal" and my father was very active there, hey. And he was... I think there was also an older priest, Izakovic, who I think was a Jesuit, and he was also very active. My father was actually the Burmese son of Bishop Lazík, so he was... they were very active there at that time, and I know that many people came to us then and he also often went away. And... and it was like that... well, of course, of course I remember that general atmosphere and then in the sixty-eighth those signs when the Russians were here and so on. Well, but as a child, I was not yet able to experience it like that, so intensely... hey. But then the release, that was felt... even the religious one. And maybe, maybe that... that actually... then I remember that there was such a priest in Trnava, Dubec.... at that time there was a beautiful university church, and at that time the altar was being restored and so on... So things like that moved that didn't work before. And Trnava… very such a strange phenomenon that youth masses were then created there. Normal, big beat masses... that the biggest hooligans started going to church and playing guitars there. But it's strange that those youth masses, they lasted for a long, long time.... well, when I went to grammar school, there were definitely youth masses and, I think, for many years after that. This is also such a strange phenomenon, because there were different pastors, there were different priests, and that such a thing was maintained. And it really was, such a nest, where all those Catholic activists met... I think it was on Tuesday at half past seven in Hrubý kostol... and maybe this is also worth mapping, if there is someone in Trnava who is interested about that church history, that this is such a phenomenon, very extraordinary... Trnava.
And then in Bratislava, you didn't encounter it much anymore...or did you?
Well, in Bratislava, it was a completely different life because... there I met the communities at the universities."
“Before, it seemed to us that this would never end... and suddenly, like a flick of a wand... it fell like a house of cards.”
Katarína Hulmanová, as single Kopecká, was born on April 18, 1958 in Trnava, the first of four children. The father, Štefan Kopecký, after studying medicine in Bratislava, worked as a doctor all his life. The mother, Alžbeta Jančovičová, worked as a clerk. Both parents were very close to spiritual, religious life, which was later reflected in the form of persecution by the then regime.
Katarína grew up in Trnava. In 1964, she became a pupil of the local Primary School on Bottová Street, where all her siblings later attended. In 1973, she entered the Gymnázium on Hollého Street in Trnava. She never had problems with school, and we can certainly talk about great luck, as she was active in a strong religious, youth community. In 1976, Katarína became a student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Bratislava. Her studies went without problems, she even had the opportunity to become part of a network of Catholic activists. She was approached by the Catholic circle already in her first year, while at the meetings she came into contact with people from different corners of Slovakia.
After successfully graduating from the university in 1981, she first got a job at the Transportation Computing Center in Bratislava. It was a department that belonged to the railways and where Katka was basically very satisfied. She never returned to Trnava, so Bratislava became her new home. In 1984, she married her former classmate Erich Hulman, with whom they moved often at first, until they finally settled in an apartment in the Palisades. Despite the growing family, Katka was at least partly active in religious life. It also applied to the Sviečková Manifestation in 1988, or the Gentle Revolution itself, even if it was not at the center of the event.
In the meantime, Katka raised five beautiful, healthy children, of whom she is very proud. At the same time, she began to study at the theological faculty, although after some time she returned to her original workplace, i.e. back to programming on the railways. She has never stopped being involved in the church and since 2005 has been working as a volunteer in various Christian associations and also in the Forum of Christian Institutions.