February 14th, 2017 Headsman
Jewish cabaret singer and silent film actress Dora Gerson was gassed with her family at Auschwitz on this date in 1943.
Gerson’s cabaret career was the more robust through the roaring twenties but with benefit of retrospection we admit with Liza Minelli that from cradle to tomb, it isn’t that long a stay.
And the ominous next act would not belong to Weimar Jews.
After being elbowed off German stages by Reich race laws, Gerson recorded several songs in German and Yiddish; her “Vorbei” (“Beyond Recall”) hauntingly commemorates the lost world before fascism — “They’re gone beyond recall / A final glance, a last kiss / And then it’s all over.”
Gerson fled Nazi Germany to the Netherlands; once that country fell under its own harrowing wartime occupation, she tried to escape with her family to neutral Switzerland but was seized transiting Vichy France. Gerson, her second husband Max Sluizer, and their two young children Miriam (age 5) and Abel (age 2) were all deported to Auschwitz and gassed on arrival on Valentine’s Day 1943.
* Her first marriage was to film director Veit Harlan, who would later direct the notorious anti-Semitic propaganda film Jud Süß — based on an executed Jewish financier. From the German-occupied Netherlands, Gerson unsuccessfully appealed to this powerful ex for protection.
** Future horror maven Bela Lugosi also appeared in both Gerson films, Caravan of Death and On the Brink of Paradise. Gerson’s German Wikipedia page also identifies her as the voice of the evil queen in the 1938 German-language dub of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
On this day..
- 1873: John Gaffney, hanged by a President - 2016
- 1942: Matvey Kuzmin, modern-day Ivan Susanin - 2015
- 2004: Yang Xinhai, Monster Killer - 2014
- 1548: Francesco Burlamacchi, Lucca republican - 2013
- 1845: John Gordon, the last hanged in Rhode Island - 2012
- 1554: David van der Leyen and Levina Ghyselius, Anabaptist martyrs - 2011
- 1994: Andrei Chikatilo, the Butcher of Rostov - 2010
- 1530: Tangaxuan II, the last Tarasco ruler - 2009
- 270: St. Valentine - 2008
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Artists,Arts and Literature,Borderline "Executions",Capital Punishment,Children,Concentration Camps,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Gassed,Germany,History,Jews,Mass Executions,Netherlands,No Formal Charge,Poland,Summary Executions,Wartime Executions,Women