Söderbaum, Kristina

ACTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER (SWEDEN)
BORN 5 Sep 1912, Djursholm (near Stockholm) - DIED 12 Feb 2001, Hitzacker an der Elbe, Niedersachsen (near Dannenberg)
REAL NAME Söderbaum, Beata Margareta Kristina
GRAVE LOCATION Seeshaupt, Bayern: Friedhof (Alter Teil, 9-28)

Kristina Söderbaum was the daughter of Professor Henrik Gustaf Söderbaum who had presided the Nobel Prize Committee three times. She started her education in Stockholm and continued it in 1929 in Paris at the "Collège feminin du Boffémont".

After her parents died, a relative took her to Berlin in 1934. There she learned German and took acting lessons. In 1936 she made her film debut in "Onkel Bräsig". In 1937 she was discovered by Veit Harlan, who selected her for his "Jugend" (1938). In 1939 she married Harlan and they had two children, Kristian (1939) and Caspar (1946).

During the war she played in several propaganda movies that were directed by her husband. Best remembered is "Jud Süß", which also starred Ferdinand Marian and Heinrich Georg. She became a star in Germany and was a prototype of the blonde arian woman. In several movies she died in the water and this earned her the nickname "Reichswasserleiche" ("Official water corpse of the state"). Towards the end of the war she had a part in "Kolberg", the most expensive movie that was produced in the nazi era. In February 1945 she fled from Berlin to Hamburg with her family.

After the war she was prosecuted, but not convicted. During the period that Veit Harlan wasn't allowed to work (1945-1950) she didn't accept any film parts herself. But she did appear in theatre productions that were anonymously staged by her husband. Sometimes rotten vegatables were thrown at her and in the following years she often expressed regret for her roles in antis-emitic movies.

She moved with Harlan to Starnberg in Bavaria and after 1950 she made her return in movies directed by her husband. The last time they worked together was in "Ein Traumspiel" (1963). In 1964 Harlan died, leaving an enormous pile of debts behind. She started to work as a fashion photographer in 1965 and in 1972 she had her first solo exhibition in Graz.

In 1974 she played in the movie "Karl May" and in 1983 her memoirs were published ("Nichts bleibt immer so"). She largeley sank into obscurity although she had a part in "Night Train to Venice" in 1994. When she was eighty years old she said in an interview that Harlan would often remark on Hitler's amazing eyes. In 2001 she died in a nursery home in Hitzacker, Lower Saxony.

Family
• Husband: Harlan, Veit (1939-1964)

Related persons
• cooperated with George, Heinrich

Events
30/1/1945Premiere of Veit Harlan's "Kolberg" at La Rochelle. It was the most expensive movie that was made in the nazi era, starring Heinrich George and Kristina Söderbaum. The movie was about a village that refused to surrender during the Napoleontic Wars and was eventually rescued. Goebbels orderded the first copy of the movie to be delivered by parachute to the German troops in the French town La Rochelle, that had been surrounded since the invasion of 1944. La Rochelle was only captured by the allied troops after the German capitulation in May 1945. The movie was meant to encourage the German citizens, but nothing came of it because most movie theatres in Germany were closed by the time the movie was released. [George, Heinrich][Harlan, Veit]

Images

Kristina Söderbaum.
(1941-1944)

 

The grave of Kristina Söderbaum at the cemetery in Seeshaupt.
Picture by androom (23 May 2006)

 

The grave of Kristina Söderbaum at the cemetery in Seeshaupt.
Picture by androom (23 May 2006)

 

Kristina Söderbaum.
(1941-1944)

 

Kristina Söderbaum.
Picture by Baumann

 

Kristina Söderbaum.
Picture by Lilo

 

Kritsina Söderbaum in Farbfilm "Hanna Amon".
(c1951)
Picture by Wesel/Zeyn/Herzog-Film

 

Kristina Söderbaum.
(1941-1944)
Picture by Foto Baumann

 

Sources
LeMO Kapitel - Der Zweite Weltkrieg - Kunst und Kultur - Film "Kolberg"
LeMO Biografie - Biografie Kristina Söderbaum


Solti, Georg

Published: 2 Jun 2006
Last update: 19 Apr 2020