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Obituaries

Kristina Soderbaum; Swedish Actress in Nazi Movies

February 15, 2001|From Associated Press

BERLIN — Kristina Soderbaum, a Swedish-born actress who starred in Nazi propaganda films as the ideal blond Germanic woman, has died after a long illness, her son said Tuesday. She was 88.

Soderbaum died Monday at her home in the small town of Hitzacker, 170 miles northwest of Berlin.

The daughter of a noted Swedish chemistry professor, she got into acting while studying in Berlin in the 1930s. She met director Veit Harlan, who cast her in a series of films and became her husband in 1940.

That year, Soderbaum played an innocent young woman in Harlan's notorious anti-Semitic film "Jud Suess" (The Jew Suess), whose Jewish main character is portrayed as a rapist and extortionist.

After the Nazi defeat in World War II, Harlan and his wife were ostracized from the arts until the early 1950s. Harlan went on trial in Allied-occupied Germany, charged with crimes against humanity for making "Jud Suess," but escaped conviction. Soderbaum made no films during that time.

Their careers resumed in Germany in 1951, but the later movies had limited success.

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