Hana Maria Pravda (Hana Maria Pravda)

Hana Maria Pravda

Actress, Director, Author. She made her screen debut as Hana Beck at age seventeen in “Mariika the Unfaithful” (1934), which was soon followed by leading roles in several Czechoslovakian movies. She then went to Leningrad, to study drama under the Russian director Alexei Dikii, and while there witnessed Stalin’s purges of 1936 to 1937. After returning to Czechoslovakia, she moved to the country town of Potstein in the hope of escaping anti Jewish prejudice, but in 1942 was sent to the Terezin ghetto near Prague. While there she became a leading figure in the ghetto’s Freigist theatre group, performing from scripts smuggled in from outside. She was sent to Auschwitz in 1944, and then to Birnbaumel, she finally escaped in 1945 while on a forced march to Bergen-Belsen death camp. She eventually returned to Prague, where she joined the “Realistic Theatre” company before escaping communist rule on forged papers. She went first to France and then Australia, where she formed the “Tana” theatre company. Her work there was noticed by Dame Sybil Thorndike, who wrote letters of introduction for her to Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont and Sir John Gielgud, which enabled her to live and work in England. Her successful English career included directing the Leatherhead Reparatory Theatre and acting roles in the television serials “Danger man”, “The Saint”, “Dad’s Army” and “Z Cars”. More movie appearances followed, including “Agatha Christie: Proirot” and “Leon the Pig Farmer”. In 1993 she appeared as Miss Erikson in a West End revival of Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter”, and she continued to appear in radio dramas into her eighties. In 2000, her diary of her holocaust experiences were published as “I Was Writing This Diary for You, Sasha”, it was followed in 2002 by “Kaleidoscope: Snapshots of My Life”, which confirmed that her experiences had not altered her optimistic view of humanity. (bio by: js)

Born

  • January, 29, 1918
  • Republic

Died

  • May, 05, 2008

Cemetery

  • Brompton Cemetery
  • England

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