The Nazi regime in Germany was one of the darkest periods in history. Hitler and his aides didn’t spare film personalities either, if they were Jews, during the Holocaust. A number of actresses were also caught by them and they didn’t survive the captivity and the concentration camps. Here is the list of 6 actresses who were killed during the Holocaust.
Born in 1899, Dora Gerson was a German singer and film actress. Born in a Jewish family, her real name was Dorothea Gerson. She rose to prominence playing major roles in films On the Brink of Paradise and The Caravan of Death, both of which are lost now. Since the ascension of Nazis to power, she lost her status and opportunities like other Jew artists.
However, she recorded some Jewish songs, one of which, “Der Rebe Hot Geheysn Freylekh Zayn” went on to be a major hit among Jews that time. She fled to Netherlands with her family in 1936 to escape the Nazis. But, Germany invaded the country soon imposed the Nazi regime.
Gerson and her family attempted to flee to Switzerland in 1940, during which they were arrested. She, along with her husband and children, died at Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
Anna Calounova-Letenska was a Czech actress born in 1904. She was born in a family of actors and had her professional stage debut at the age of fifteen. She did many stage plays before her film debut in 1937 with the movie Kryz u Potoka. During a career spanning only five years, she appeared in twenty-five films. She was noted for her talent to do comic roles. Later, the German occupation of Czechoslovakia reduced her opportunities.
In 1942, Letenska was arrested by Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, for allegedly aiding the assassins of a German officer. She was imprisoned for a while before being shot to death in the concentration camp of Mauthausen on 24 October 1942.
Clementine Plessner was an Austrian stage and film actress. She was born in 1855 in a Jewish family. Plessner was a popular member of the German film industry during the silent era. Her most notable roles were in the films ‘Different from the Others’ and ‘Journey into the Night’.
During the fourteen years-long career, she acted in more than sixty films. After the rise of Nazis, she left Germany to Austria. She was arrested by the Nazis in 1943 and was sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. She passed away there on 27 February 1943.
Born in 1911, Lisl Frank was a singer, dancer and opera actress from Czechoslovakia. Her real name was Alice Frankl. She was wife of actor Otto Aufrichtig and together they did numerous operas. During the Nazi invasion, they moved to Netherlands.
She was arrested with her husband in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz camp. From there, she was forced to walk to the camp of Christianstadt and she passed away there.
Maria Forescu was a singer and an actress born in Austro-Hungary. She worked mainly in German films. She was born Maria Füllenbaum in 1875 in a Jewish family. She started out as an Opera singer, and debuted in cinema with the 1911 film Die Pflicht.
She then went on to act in around 150 films, most of them in supporting roles. Forescu was banned from acting when Nazis came to power. In 1943, she was arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. She died there on 23 November 1943.
Lea Deutsch was a bud that died before blossoming. Born in 1927 in Croatia, she was often dubbed the Croatian Shirley Temple for her precocious performances. She began acting at the age of five, and quickly rose to fame. However, being a Jew, she was banned from acting and ousted from her school when the Nazis came to power.
In May 1943, Deutsch was arrested with her mother and brother and were deported to Auschwitz. However, she didn’t survive the journey in a cattle wagon, having died of starvation. Her mother and brother were later killed at the concentration camp.