Wednesday, 15 March 2017

I know, once a miracle will happen

One hundred and five years ago today, a controversial legend was born...

From WFMU's faboo Beware of the Blog:
When Joseph Goebbels set out to create a Nazi movie studio to rival Hollywood's dream machine, he tried to recruit Germany's and Europe's most glamorous stars, most notably Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo. Since both Garbo and Dietrich had already fled war-torn Europe for Hollywood, Goebbels' attention drifted to the singer and actress Zarah Leander. In 1936, Goebbels signed Leander to the recently nationalised film studio UFA, and the Swedish Leander became the highest paid Nazi film star (much to Goebbels' consternation), and one of the most popular actresses and singers in Germany and Europe. She starred in ten propaganda films for the Reich and was a particular favourite of Hitler, who reportedly found the icy, husky-voiced Leander irresistible...

By 1943, Leander saw the handwriting on the wall and stiffed Goebbels, fleeing Germany for her Nazi-film-financed palace in Sweden. Goebbels was enraged, and branded her an enemy of Germany, but the Swedish people were also outraged by what they saw as her wartime Nazi collaboration and profiteering. Leander always insisted that she never bought into the Nazi philosophy and didn't socialize with Third Reich bigwigs. According to a 2004 book by Anthony Beevor (The Mystery of Olga Chekhova), Leander was in fact working for Soviet intelligence the entire time she was under contract to Goebbels, passing Nazi secrets on to the Russians whenever she visited her home in Stockholm. The Swedes never completely forgave her, but she did enjoy a comeback of sorts in the 1960's, appearing in musicals and concerts throughout Germany and Austria.
Now this is what I call a comeback! Here's the fragrant Miss Leander, replete with safety gays and lots of glitter - in a "Nightclub" that I wouldn't mind visiting...

And here, for your delectation, is a rather unexpected tribute to the great lady - by none other than our beloved Nina Hagen! Here she sings a German classic made famous by Zarah, Ich weiss, es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen:

Zarah Leander (15th March 1907 – 23rd June 1981)


  1. She was lucky! That could have all ended rather badly.

    1. I reckon most people would have thought twice before tackling Zarah Leander... She looks rather scary, even as an old lady. Jx

  2. She was just fabulous and is still played at home hear on the delargo jukebox.


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