Anna Svierkier

To the right: Anna Svierkier (1872-1955) as Herlofs Marte in "Day of Wrath".
Anna Svierkier plays the old woman Herlufs Marte in "Day of Wrath" (1943).

Actress, 26 November 1872 – 17 June 1955.

Anna Svierkier debuted as an actress on 26 November 1904 at Svendborg Teater, having trained at Anna Gjørling’s Drama School in Copenhagen. She spent most of her career on provincial stages.

About her work with Dreyer and the role of Herlufs Marte, which was her screen debut, she said,
"One day I was sitting at the window by my birds … looking out. I was thinking, If only I could get just one little role this year, so I could say I had worked in theatre in 1943, too. Then the phone rang. It was Mrs Dreyer asking on behalf of her husband if I would like to act in a film. I had no idea who Carl Th. Dreyer was, and I thought it was about a commercial. But then the lady said it was for Palladium, and of course I became very excited about it. I went to see Carl Th. Dreyer – a delightful man – and he asked me if there was madness in my family! And I answered, 'Aren’t we all more or less crazy?' Then he laughed and gave me the part of the witch. I could certainly portray madness without it running in my family.

The shoot was strenuous. I guess they thought I didn’t have the stamina to dangle on a ladder 12 metres up in the air for hours while they were filming. But I just let it be – and it worked out, though the film itself certainly did not get the credit it deserved. […] Carl Th. Dreyer was grand to me. He said, 'I was digging for gold in that role, and I struck gold!' […] He has the brilliant quality of not taking your personality away from you. That makes it all worthwhile. You get to perform what you yourself can.” 
(Excerpt of interview in Nationaltidende, 25 November 1943).

Apart from the role in Day of Wrath, Anna Svierkier acted in just one other film, I Gaar og i Morgen (Yesterday and Tomorrow) directed by Christen Jul and Søren Melson, 1945.

By Lisbeth Richter Larsen | 04. June