“Since we were still in shadows of death and we didn’t know, whether they’d deport us or not, we were acting in plays. Only in the evenings, in case we were free. Almost for twelve hours we used to work and only on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays, we were free. There was one theatre director, coming from Hungary, who incited us to acting. His idea was to practice and perform a play of Karel Čapek called Vec Makropulos. I was so young back then, but I came to the director and told him I wanted the role of Emília Marty. He said I was too young for that, but I begged him and at last I really got to play that part. He was the one who told me back then, I truly had talent and that if we survived and came to normal life, I should immediately start studying dramatic art.”
“When I was sixteen, my father already knew I was about to be deported, so through his friend he sent me across the borders to Rožňava, where our relatives lived. My aunt almost fainted, when she saw me. She knew me as a small kid and said that I couldn’t stay there even for a minute, because the drumming downtown announced that anyone hiding the refugees would be killed at once. Therefore she gave money to my cousin to take me to Budapest right away. I didn’t have any rest, my cousin bought me a first class ticket to Budapest and I went. I didn’t know anybody; I had never been to Budapest before, and most of all, I couldn’t speak a word in Hungarian. This language wasn’t commonly spoken in Liptov, but fortunately, my mom had taught me at least one sentence, just in case. It was: ‘I am very tired and sleepy.’ That’s what I learned, so that I didn’t have to speak to anyone. So as I was sitting in this first class, there was a very elegant lady sitting next to me. Just before Budapest, policemen got on the train and checked everyone’s IDs. I thought to myself, it would be fatal for me, since I didn’t have any papers with me. However, I was really lucky. The lady sitting next to me, I don’t know if she was some kind of minister or other celebrity, started to tell off the policemen, how did they dare to ask her for papers, whether they didn’t recognize her! I was just silently sitting next to her and they, all offended, kept going further. This way I survived.”
“I forgot to mention, that yet before the Uprising broke out, Juraj Špitzer with his group used to go out at nights from the Nováky camp and smuggled weapons into the camp. If the guards had found out, they would have killed us off like dogs. And one more thing to be added to that, you know, when a person is young, he or she does many foolish things. Since my father was outside the camp, they used to give me a permit to leave for three days. Once when I came home, I mean to the horrible flat they had assigned us, which was not our flat anymore, a man came to me, he was probably a communist, and he asked me whether I didn’t want to smuggle a revolver into the camp. I told him that of course, I would pack it into my suitcase, to mix with my stuff. Three days later I returned to the camp and as a heroine I told Špitzer: ‘Look, what I have brought!’ And that was the first and the last time he ever slapped me and said: ‘Are you mad? You are lucky that the guards didn’t open your suitcase! If they only found the revolver, all of us would be killed off like dogs immediately!’”
We were always in shadows of death – thus we were acting in plays
Dalma Holanová-Špitzerová was born on February 5, 1925 in Piešťany. Together with her parents and siblings she lived in Liptovský Mikuláš. In March 1942 when the deportations started, her father convinced her to move from Liptovský Mikuláš to Budapest. She managed to find accommodation as well job there and she met with her two sisters. However, they were found and caught. She was deported to Uzhhorod and later she got to the concentration camp in Nováky. On August 29, 1944 she joined the Slovak National Uprising, worked at the press department of the partisan movement. Her parents and her brother were shot dead only few weeks before the liberation. After the war Dalma got married to famous Slovak writer and journalist Juraj Špitzer, whom she met in Nováky. As an actress she acted in Nová scéna and later in cabaret Tatra revue, where she worked until it was closed in the beginning of 1970s. During the normalization, her husband Juraj Špitzer was prohibited to publish his works, she worked in the Slovak Television as a direction assistant. In the beginning of 1990s she founded a private studio of drama education, which had a great success. This studio was even awarded by international prize in Paris. In January 2016 Dalma received the highest state distinction from President Andrej Kiska. Dalma Holanová-Špitzerová died on 21 January 2021.