Maria Forescu

Maria Forescu (15 January 1875 23 November 1943) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian opera singer and film actress. During the silent and talkies era of the German cinema, she appeared in several movies as a supporting actress. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Forescu, like other Jews of that period, was barred from her profession. She died in the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.

Maria Forescu
Maria Füllenbaum

(1875-01-15)15 January 1875
Died23 November 1943(1943-11-23) (aged 68)
OccupationFilm actress
Years active1913–1933


Forescu was born Maria Füllenbaum[1] on 15 January 1875,[2] in Czernowitz, Austria-Hungary. She attended a boarding school in Paris. She studied singing, music and drama at the Prague Conservatory. Around the turn of the century, she debuted as an operetta singer and soon became a well known member of the renowned Viennese Carl Theater. She also performed in several of the tours organized by the theater throughout Europe. Then she went to Berlin, where she appeared at the theater of the West, at the Operetta Theater, and the Metropolitan Theater.

She made her film acting debut in 1911 with the Charles Paulus-directed Die Pflicht.[3] She left singing in 1915 to concentrate on her film acting career. She mainly appeared as a supporting actress. After the advent of the talkies she acted in several films of her friend Harry Piel. She had played the character of Yelina in the crime film Marizza.[4] The most popular films in which Maria Forescu acted were the Gerhard Lamprecht-directed Between Night and Dawn and the Hans Behrendt-directed Danton (both 1931).[3] In the 1929 film Der Sittenrichter. § 218. Eine wahre Begebenheit, Forescu played the woman who aborted the heroine's child. The film was considered controversial for depicting the topic of abortion.[5] She also starred in the 1920 silent film The Women House of Brescia.[3] The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification.[6]

In 1932, after filming Das erste Recht des Kindes (directed by Fritz Wendhausen), her career was cut short by the new laws made by the Nazi party. She was deprived of living a respected life and was prohibited from engaging in any professional activities. Forescu, who was of Jewish origin, was expelled from the Reich Student Council film in 1938. After the expulsion and the rising hatred against the Jews she took refuge with Maria Hirschburg on the Motzstrasse in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. She died in the Buchenwald concentration camp on 23 November 1943.[3] Throughout her career she had acted in approximately 160 films.

Selected filmography


  1. Kay Weniger (2008). Zwischen Bühne und Baracke: Lexikon der verfolgten Theater-, Film- und Musikkünstler 1933 bis 1945. Metropol. pp. 120–21. ISBN 978-3-938-69010-9.
  2. "Maria Forescu". Kino TV. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  3. "Maria Forescu" (in French). Cine Artistes. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  4. Lotte H. Eisner (1973). F. W. Murnau. University of California Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-520-02425-0.
  5. Cornelie Usborne (2007). Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany. Berghahn Books. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-85745-362-4.
  6. Dr James C Robertson (2005). The Hidden Cinema: British Film Censorship in Action 1913–1972. Routledge. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1-134-87672-3.


  • Hardt, Ursula. From Caligari to California: Erich Pommer's Life in the International Film Wars. Berghahn Books, 1996.
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