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Lída Baarová

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lída Baarová
Baarová in 1940
Ludmila Babková

(1914-09-07)7 September 1914
Died27 October 2000(2000-10-27) (aged 86)
Years active1931–1970
  • Jan Kopecky
    (m. 1947; div. 1956)
  • Kurt Lundvall
    (m. 1969; died 1972)

Lída Baarová (born Ludmila Babková; 7 September 1914 – 27 October 2000) was a Czech actress who for two years was the mistress of the Nazi propaganda minister of Germany, Joseph Goebbels.

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Life and career

Born in Prague, Baarová studied acting at the city's Conservatory and received her first film role in the Czechoslovak film Pavel Čamrda's Career (Kariéra Pavla Čamrdy) at the age of 17. Her mother sang in a choir and appeared in several theatre plays; her younger sister, Zorka Janů (1921–1946), also became a film actress. In 1934, Baarová left Prague for Berlin after winning a contest at the UFA film studios for a role in the film Barcarole. She met Adolf Hitler that year and he told her, "You look like someone who played a major role in my life, a very significant role". Hitler was referring to his niece, Geli Raubal.[1]

In Berlin, she made a successful appearance in the film Barcarole (1935), along with the German actor Gustav Fröhlich (1902–1987). She and Fröhlich, meanwhile divorced from the Hungarian opera singer Gitta Alpár, became lovers and starred together in several films. Baarová also performed on stage at the Deutsches Theater and the Volksbühne. She received several job offers from Hollywood studios. She turned them down under pressure from the Nazi authorities, but later regretted it and claimed to her biographer, Josef Škvorecký: "I could have been as famous as Marlene Dietrich."

After her engagement to Fröhlich, the couple moved to Schwanenwerder island on the outskirts of Berlin, where their house was close to the residence of Joseph Goebbels, a leading member in the Nazi government of Hitler with a decisive voice in German film production and Nazi cinema. Baarová, still working for the UFA studios, met him when Goebbels visited Fröhlich's home in 1936. Gradually, they became closer and, under the urging of Goebbels, started a relationship that lasted over two years.[2] Their love affair caused serious complications between Goebbels and his wife Magda. When the minister began to show up in public with his mistress, Magda Goebbels in turn began an affair with Goebbels' state secretary Karl Hanke and eventually asked Hitler for permission to divorce her husband. According to Baarová's own statements, she herself, fearing Goebbels' wounded pride, approached the dictator for help.

Hitler intervened on 16 August 1938 and rebuked his minister, stating that in view of his "perfect marriage" as well as the coming annexation of the Sudetenland, his affair with a Czech actress was an impossibility. Baarová was told by the Berlin chief of police Wolf-Heinrich von Helldorff that she had to quit her relationship with Goebbels immediately and was prohibited from performing on Hitler's direct order.[3][4][5] Her recently completed film A Prussian Love Story, which depicted the love affair between Wilhelm I and the Polish princess Elisa Radziwill, and was a thinly-veiled reference to Goebbels and Baarová,[2] was banned, and not shown in theatres until 1950 as Liebeslegende ("Story of Love").[2] Paid shills yelled out "Get out, minister's whore" when Baarová's character appeared on the screen at the premiere of Der Spieler ("The Gambler"), and did not stop until the showing was halted.[citation needed] The film's run was ended and the actress had a nervous breakdown. She tried to contact friends in Hollywood, with an eye to going there, but Hitler told her that she could not leave the country. Followed by the Gestapo wherever she went, ordered by Helldorf to stop making public appearances, and pressed by her friends, in the winter of 1938–39 Baarová fled back to Prague.[2] There, she was temporarily allowed to perform under German occupation and, in 1942, moved to Italy, where she starred in such films as Grazia (1943), La Fornarina (1944), Vivere ancora (1945) and others.

After Allied troops occupied Italy, she had to return to Prague. In April 1945, however, Lída Baarová left Prague for Germany again. On the way, she was taken into custody by the American military police, imprisoned in Munich, and later extradited to Czechoslovakia.

Post-war years

In Czechoslovakia in 1945, Baarová and her family were taken into custody on suspicion of collaboration with the Germans during the war. Her mother died under interrogation; her sister Zorka committed suicide in 1946. She herself was released after 18 months of custody due to lack of evidence. She had never been convicted or sentenced. While in custody, she was often visited by the puppeteer Jan Kopecký and they eventually married on 27 July 1947. Kopecký was a close relative of Václav Kopecký, a prominent politician in the post-war government of Czechoslovakia. Kopecký's prominent relative did not approve of the marriage and Kopecký lost his job as a result. Kopecký emigrated to Argentina, leaving Lída behind to recuperate in the sanatorium of Dr. Lundwall.[citation needed]

In Austria in 1949, the actress attempted a comeback, but when the Austrian-British actor Anton Walbrook withdrew from a film where he was cast with her, she left for Argentina to escape the resulting negative media. Living in extreme poverty, she decided to return to Italy. Her husband stayed in Argentina and they were divorced in 1956. Back in Italy, she appeared in several films, including Fellini's I Vitelloni (1953), where she played the wife of a rich merchant. In 1958, she moved to Salzburg, where she again performed on stage. She married Austrian physician Kurt Lundwall in 1969; he died in 1973 and is buried in Salzburg's Aigner Friedhof.[6]

After the fall of Communism in Europe

In the 1990s, Baarová re-appeared on the cultural scene of the Czech Republic. She published her autobiography. A film, Lída Baarová's Bittersweet Memories, was released in 1995[7] and won an award at the 1996 Art Film Festival in Trenčianske Teplice, Slovakia.

Later life and death

Baarová suffered from Parkinson's disease and died in 2000 in Salzburg, while living alone on the estate she inherited after the death of her second husband, Dr. Lundwall. Her ashes were interred in Prague's Strašnice Cemetery, where she rests with her parents and her sister Zorka.[8]

In popular culture

In 2016, a dramatization of Baarová's life was set on film in The Devil's Mistress (Lída Baarová) by Filip Renč, with Tatiana Pauhofová starring as Baarová, Karl Marcovics as Goebbels, and David Novotný as UFA's head of production Ernst Hugo Correll.[9][10]


See also



  1. ^ Baarova, Lida (18 May 2021). "Interview with Lida Baarova". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Reuth, Ralf Georg (1993). Goebbels. Translated by Winston, Krishna. New York: Harcourt Brace. pp. 216–218, 225, 233, 236–237, 239–240. ISBN 978-0-15-136076-5.
  3. ^ Manvell, Roger (2006). Doctor Goebbels: His Life and Death. Fraenkel, Heinrich. MBI Publishing Company. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-85367-715-1.
  4. ^ Kreimeier, Klaus (1999). The Ufa Story: A History of Germany's Greatest Film Company, 1918–1945. University of California Press. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-520-22069-0.
  5. ^ ""Toužila po slávě za každou cenu," říká o Lídě Baarové Stanislav Motl" (in Czech). Czech Television. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  6. ^ Profile; accessed 14 August 2015.
  7. ^ Stojanova, Christina (2006). "Czech Dream and the Mission of Documentary Cinema: A Conversation with Helena Třeštíkova". Kinokultura.
  8. ^ "File:Lída Baarová-hrob, Hřbitov Krematoria Strašnice 03.jpg - Wikimedia Commons". 29 July 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  9. ^ The Devil's Mistress. Netflix. 2016.
  10. ^ Renc, Filip (Director) (15 April 2016). "Films: The Devil's Mistress".


  • Baarová, Lida. (1992). Života sladké hořkosti. Ostrava, Czech Republic: Sfinga.
  • Frais, Josef. (1998). Trojhvězdí nesmrtelných. Prague, Czech Republic: Formát.
  • Motl, S. (2002). Prokleti Lidy Baarove. Praha: Rybka Publishers.
  • Škvorecký, J. (1983). Útěky: Vlastní životopis Lídy Baarové, jak jej vyprávela Josefu Škvoreckému. Toronto, Canada: Sixty-Eight Publishers.
  • Vávra, O. (1996). Podivný život režiséra: Obrazy vzpominek. Praha: Prostor.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 April 2024, at 21:02
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