Nataša Gollová When fate takes your smile

28.10.2016 | 22:20
Nataša Gollová When fate takes your smile

Memories of Nataša Gollová still evoke a sincere smile in all those who knew her personally or from the big screen, theatre or television, like the smile she gave to all her audiences for many years, until fate decided otherwise.

Nataša Gollová was born on 27th February in Brno, into the rich and infl uential family of the leading politician JUDr. František Xaver Hodáč. Her mother Adéla (Gollová) was a painter and a student of Antonín Slavíček. And it was her mother who chose the name Nataša for her daughter, after the heroine of Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace. Nataša also had a brother Ivan who was two years older and graduated from offi cer’s school before later working in the Baťa company.
Nataša took her stage name from her grandfather, Professor Jaroslav Goll, an eminent Czech historian. She studied at foreign schools, enrolled in the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, but her love of acting proved stronger. Her breakthrough came with the role of the simple girl, Mařenka, in the movie Kristián (1939), where she starred with Oldřich Nový. The same year, however, a crucial role was waiting for her as the fi gure of Eva in the movie Eva tropí hlouposti. The occupation came and due to her relationship with Willy Söhnel and the fact that under the Protectorate she made a German fi lm, she was discredited in many people’s eyes.

Terezín ghetto 1945
During April 1945, thousands of prisoners arrived in Terezín from Nazi concentration camps situated in Poland and Germany. They had been on the road for many days without food and water and they brought typhus into Terezín. The SS fl ed Terezín on 5th May and during the nights of 8th and 9th May, the fi rst Soviet tanks arrived in the camp. The Red Army took decisive steps to stabilise the desperate situation and soviet healthcare workers and Czech doctors and nurses who had been in Terezín from 4th May as part of the Czech relief action began to treat the ill and dying. Many of them paid with their lives for their dedicated help, but thanks to them and the eff orts of other people, thousands of lives were saved.
“My biggest life experience? I can only think of an ugly one: It was in May 1945, when volunteer nurses were called to Terezín because there were only a few certifi ed ones available... There I fi nally got typhus too,” said Nataša Gollová in 1988.
“I and other medics got on the truck in front of the medical house with the Czechoslovak Red Cross in May 1945, to go and help at Terezín. Just before we departed, the fi lm director Čech helped Nataša Gollová also get on the lorry. When we arrived, the professor of epidemiology, MUDr. Raška, divided us into various workplaces. I have no idea what Nataša went through in Terezín, but she was said to have been infected with typhus … Some time later, I met her in Prague on Na Příkopech – how happy I was that she was alive. She was exhausted, but she had survived!” said MUDr. Helena Šlaisová, Prague.
After the war, there was not a single sign of the earlier bubbly and happy Nataša and she had to leave the Vinohrady Theatre. She married Karel Konstantin in 1947, but the love of her life was really Tristan Tzara, a poet, essayist and playwright she had met in Paris (1932). After vainly seeking work in Prague, she left for České Budějovice. In 1951, the forgotten actress fi nally came into luck. Jan Werich and Martin Frič cast her in the role of Sirael in the movies Císařův pekař and Pekařův císař. Poor health, depression, disrespect and socialistic realism drove her astray. She played two more fi lm roles and then, in 1971, went into permanent seclusion. She died in Prague on 29th October 1998 at a retirement home in Krč. She was buried in Olšany and her remains later taken to Vyšehrad cemetery, to the Růžička family tomb (the family of her sister-in-law), where her brother Ivan’s remains († 13. 1. 1993) are also interred.
Kateřina Hodáčová (Růžičková, Nataša’s sister- in-law, *21. 12. 1927)
“My very fi rst meeting with Nataša Gollová was in this fl at of theirs, on the Janáček embankment in Prague. She was very kind and pleasant.
After lunch, the three of us (Nataša, her brother Ivan and I) lay together down on the sofa and talked. She was highly educated and could speak English, German and French. Unfortunately, at the time I met her she was going through one of the most diffi cult periods of her life as she could not act. We saw each other almost daily because our fl ats were connected. I like to remember her.”
Kateřina Kovaříková (Hodáčová, Nataša’s niece, *6. 7. 1949)
“I liked my aunt very much, she was pleasant, intelligent and well-read and you could talk about anything with her. She had a great sense of humour and an incredible laugh. She really liked me and my brother Ivan a lot. We only had to mention that the Alfa cinema was sold out and she would immediately call there and get us the tickets. Perhaps because she did not have her own children, she treated us as if were her own.”“

For Terezín Memorial Luděk Sládek, Marcela Kohoutová
Photo: author, Terezín Memorial, Milan Wolf, Family archives of the Hodáčovi
Acknowledgement to: Aleš Cibulka for permitting the use of quotations from the book Nataša Gollová (2002)

Kateřina Kovaříková Mother sitting on the left, Ivan on the lap of an unknown man,
Nataša on Father’s lap (circa 1914) Nataša with her grandfather
Jaroslav Goll With Karel Höger in the fi lm Okouzlená (1942) Terezín 1945 Kateřina Hodáčová

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