"Born Dorothea Gerson in Berlin.....Gerson began her career as a touring singer and actress in the Holtorf Tournee Truppe alongside actor Mathias Wieman.....where she met and married her first husband, film director Veit. The couple married in 1922 and divorced in 1924. Harlan would eventually direct the highly anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda film Jud Süß (1940) by request of Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels.
In 1920, Dora Gerson was cast to appear in the successful film adaptation of the Karl May penned novel Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses (On the Brink of Paradise) and later followed that same year in another May adaptation entitled Die Todeskarawane (Caravan of Death). Both films included Hungarian actor Béla Lugosi in the cast. However, both films are now considered lost films.
Gerson continued to perform as a popular cabaret singer throughout the 1920s as well as acting in films. By 1933 however, when the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, the German-Jewish population was systematically stripped of rights and Gerson's career slowed dramatically. Blacklisted from performing in "Aryan" films, Gerson began recording music for a small Jewish record company. Dora Gerson also began recording in the Yiddish language during this time, and the 1936 song "Der Rebe Hot Geheysn Freylekh Zayn" became highly regarded by the Jews of Europe in the 1930s. Her best remembered recordings from this era were the songs "Backbord und Steuerbord" and "Vorbei" (Beyond Recall), which was an emotional ballad, subtlety memorializing a Germany before the rise of the Nazi Party.
In 1936 Dora Gerson relocated with relatives to the Netherlands fleeing Nazi persecution. On May 10, 1940, however, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Soon, the Jews of the Netherlands were subject to the same anti-Semitic laws and restrictions as in Germany. After several years of living under oppressive Nazi occupation, the Gerson family began to plan to escape. In 1942 Gerson and her family were seized trying to flee to Switzerland....The family were sent by railroad car to transit camp Westerbork bound for the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland. Dora Gerson was murdered at Auschwitz on February 14, 1943 at the age of 43."
For some reason, these fragments evoke in me the memory of reading the brutal calvary of Sofya in Life and Fate. A child of the century, destroyed by a cruelty, seemly woven into every second