Marija Leiko

Marija Leiko (also known as Marija Leyko; 14 August 1887, Riga, Latvia – 3 February 1938, Moscow, USSR) was a Latvian silent movie actress in Europe since the 1910s, especially popular in Latvia, Germany[1] and Russia.

Marija Leiko
Born(1887-08-14)August 14, 1887
Riga, Latvia
DiedFebruary 3, 1938(1938-02-03) (aged 50)

Life and film career

Leiko conquered the German big screen first, starring in the The Diamond Foundation (1917), Kain (1918), Ewiger Strom (1919), Die Frau im Käfig (1919) and Lola Montez (1919) as the dancer.

When the silent movie era ended Leiko retired from film acting. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, she returned to her native Latvia. In 1935 she visited the Soviet Union and stayed to join the company of the Latvian State Theatre in Moscow.

During the so-called "Latvian Operation" the theatre was shut down, and on 15 December 1937, Leiko was arrested on charges of belonging to a "Latvian nationalist conspiracy". On 3 February 1938 at the age of 50 she was shot and buried in a mass grave at the secret NKVD killing field at Butovo, near Moscow.

Maria Leiko was posthumously rehabilitated for the absence of a crime (corpus delicti) on May 12, 1958.


On May 14, 2017 in Moscow on the wall of the house 9, building 3 at Obolensky lane memorial sign Last Address of Maria Karlovna Leiko was posted.[2]


  • Die Räuberbande (1928)
  • The Green Alley (1928) playing Katherina Rezek
  • At Ruedesheimer Castle There Is a Lime Tree (1928) playing Fritz's mother
  • Aufstieg der kleinen Lilian (1925)
  • Dr. Wislizenus (1924)
  • The Treasure of Gesine Jacobsen (1923)
  • Der Frauenkönig (1923)
  • Die Schneiderkomteß (1922) playing the young Comtesse
  • Sunken Worlds (1922)
  • Children of Darkness (1921, 2 pats) playing Maria Geone
  • Die Frau von morgen (1921)
  • The Rats (1921) playing Pauline Piperkarcka
  • The Fear of Women (1921) playing Reederstochter
  • Am Webstuhl der Zeit (1921) (as Marija Leyko) playing Ruth Einser, Hansen's assistant
  • Das Opfer der Ellen Larsen (1921)
  • Brandherd (aka Verlogene Moral. English release title Torgus) (1921) playing Anna
  • The Red Masquerade Ball (1921)
  • Die Kwannon von Okadera (1920) playing Ingele von Geortz
  • Eternal River (1920) playing Marija
  • Satanas (English release tite: Satan) (1920) playing Irene
  • Die Frau im Käfig (1919)
  • Freie Liebe (1919)
  • Lola Montez (aka aka Am Hofe Ludwigs I. von Bayern) (1919)
  • Das Frühlingslied (1918)
  • Die Diamantenstiftung (1917)


  1. Marija Leiko profile Archived 2007-11-23 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 10 February 2016.
  2. Russian: Москва, Оболенский переулок, дом 9, корпус 3 // Сайт «Последний адрес».


  • Guna Zeltina, Anita Uzulniece Russian: Мария Лейко : Актриса театра и кино, 1887-1937 Language: Latvian Riga Liesma 155 pages (Illustrated) January 1989 ISBN 5-410-00276-8 ISBN 9785410002769

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