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Maria Orska
Maria Orska ca 1920.jpg
Maria Orska on promotional postcard from c. 1920.
Photographed by A. Macsigay, Hamburg. Card published by Photochemie, Berlin.
Rachel Blindermann

(1893-03-16)16 March 1893
Mykolaiv, Russian Empire, today in Ukraine
Died16 May 1930(1930-05-16) (aged 37)
Other namesMaria Daisy Orska
Spouse(s)Hans von Bleichröder (23 January 1888 – 1938)
RelativesGabryela Marchesa di Serra Mantschedda and Edwin Orska

Maria Orska (Russian: Мария Орская; 16 March 1893 - 16 May 1930) was an important actress of the German theater and cinema in the 1920s.

Maria Orska was born as Rachel Blindermann in 1893, of a Jewish family, in a city of Mykolaiv (Russian: Nikolaev), not far from Odessa, in what is now Ukraine, at the time a part of Russian Empire. Just before World War I Maria Orska moved to Wien, Hamburg and Berlin in 1915. She spoke fluently German, French, Italian, Russian and Polish. Eldest child of Habrán Moiseyvich Blindermann (Lawyer) and Augusta Frankfurter.

In Berlin, Maria Orska worked with Rudolf Bernauer in the Hebbel Theater, Max Reinhardt and was famous for her parts in theater plays by Strindberg, Wedekind and Pirandello. She also gained national popularity in Germany for her film parts, although theater was always more important to her. Her first movie Dämon und Mensch (1915) was produced by Jules Greenbaum, one of the pioniers of the German cinema, who discovered cinema during his 20 years long stay in Chicago and migrated back to Germany in 1895. Most of her movies were produced by Alfred Maack, director and producer employed by Greenbaum. She was sometimes credited in films and film publicity materials as Maria Daisy Orska.

Oskar Kokoschka drew in 1922, a famous portrait of her, now kept as a lithograph in collections of several museums. Orska married an important Jewish banker from Berlin in November 12/1920, much older than she was, Baron Hans von Bleichröder (son of Gerson von Bleichröder) and took a name of Baroness von Bleichröder. They were divorced in 1925. Maria Orska's lover, a wealthy Jewish industrialist and geologist Julius Heinrich Koritschoner from Vienna, shot himself in Constantinople in 1928, writing before death a letter to Orska. His morphine addiction is thought to have made him suicidal.

Maria Orska's sister Gabryela Marchesa di Serra Mantschedda, married to an Italian aristocrat, committed suicide in 1926 by hanging herself on a curtain rope in a Berlin hotel, after a heated argument with Maria.

Her youngest brother, Edwin Orska, aviator of the Russian Empire Air Force, survived the Bolshevik Revolution and lived in Berlin until 1937. He married in Ecuador South America in 1938. Died in Quito in 1966 at the age of 71.

Maria Orska had an enormous popularity in Central Europe of the 1920s. Her stage performances at the Hebbel-Theater in the Kreuzberg district were seen as extraordinary by the Berlin audience of that era. Her photographs appeared on covers of magazines, postcards with her portraits were distributed all over that part of the continent.

Maria Orska committed suicide in 1930, in Vienna. Some people speculate that an addiction to morphine had a decisive influence on the last years of her life.


Maria Orska - portrait by Oskar Kokoschka, 1922
Maria Orska - portrait by Oskar Kokoschka, 1922

External links

This page was last edited on 21 July 2021, at 09:01
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