Dora Gerstein was a Jewish actress and singer born on 23 March 1899 in Berlin. She was murdered on February 14,1943 in Auschwitz. On one of the sites I used to do the research on Dora I noticed the line ‘Body lost or destroyed’.
Not only her body was destroyed but also her talent and beauty. Her short life is a poignant illustration how in a few years time, a poltical movement with a warped ideology impacted her life and ultimately caused her death.
In 1920 she starred in 2 silent films. Die Todeskarawane aka Caravan of Death and Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses aka In the Rubble of Paradise. She played the same character in both movies. The movies were based on novels by Karl May. Many Europeans have seen the Winnetou and Old Shatterhand westerns which were penned by Karl May. He was also admired by Albert Einstein who said about him , “My whole adolescence stood under his sign. Indeed, even today, he has been dear to me in many a desperate hour.”
Ironically another admirer was Adolf Hitler who mentioned Karl May in Mein Kampf.
Between 1922 and 1924 Dora was married to the Actor/Director Veit Harlan. In less then 16 years after their divorce Harlan would become a pivotal figure in the Nazi propaganda machine. In 1940 he directed the anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß.
To escape Nazi persecution she moved to the Netherlands in 1936, where she met her 2nd Husband Max Sluizer. The couple had 2 children Miriam Sluizer born on 19 November 1937 and Abel Juda Sluizer born on 21 May 1940,only 11 days after Germany invaded the Netherlands.
Dora and her family were all transported to Drancy internment camp and from there they were deported to Auschwitz where they were all murdered on February 14,1943.
Finishing up with one of Dora’s recordings “Vorbei” an emotional ballad, reminiscing pre-Nazi Germany.
!They’re gone beyond recall
A final glance, a last kiss
And then it’s all over
under the frame of eternity
A final word, a last farewell”
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