Ina Benita – femme fatale of the 30’s
It’s the 100th (or 101st) anniversary of Ina Benita’s birthday. Officially it is said that she was born on February 1st 1912, but she claimed in one of the interviews that she had been born in 1913. Nevertheless, it’s a good occasion to tell you a few words about her.
Ina Benita was one of the most popular Polish actresses before the war. She was the sex bomb type, with curly blond hair and strong make-up. She was the first Marylin Monroe, a dream of most of men at that time.
She often played a femme fatale, a woman with power over men, a woman without emotions, a beautiful egoist. It was something incredible for the pre-war period, after all women in Poland were still supposed to be housewives, even though they could vote already since 1918, so earlier than in France or the US. Still, watching such a strong and independent woman on the screen was unusual. Whereas other Polish actresses were kind of ‘a girl next door’, Ina was a vamp. She was mysterious and outstandingly pretty.
We know almost nothing about her private life. The most probable version is that when the war broke out she ran out of money and she was forced to act theatres in Warsaw which were collaborating with the Nazis. Most of Polish actors refused to do it that’s why she was very criticized and a lot of untrue legends about her are still popular. The point is that we shouldn’t judge anyone as we didn’t go through any war and we cannot imagine the tragedy of those people and the choices they had to make. She had an affair with an Austrian Wehrmacht officer and she went with him to Vienna, where she got pregnant. In 1944 he got an order to return to Warsaw and she came back too. Unfortunately, the Gestapo found out about their affair and he was accused of the Rassenschande and sent to the Eastern front, whereas she got arrested and locked up. Her son was probably born in a jail. She was released not a long time before the outbreak of Warsaw uprising.
The majority of witnesses claimed that she’d been killed during the Warsaw uprising with the baby in her arms. Approximately 200 000 inhabitants of Warsaw died as a result of that uprising, so this version is more likely to be true than the one saying that she escaped to Vienna where she lived afterwards. She was only 31 or 32 years old…
Just look at her, wasn’t she extraordinary?