Dorothea Neff (Dorothea Neff)

Dorothea  Neff

Actress. Born in Munich Germany, her early performances were on the German stage as a young heroine and lover, later became a character actress. Performed with the Deutschen Volkstheater (German National Theater) in Vienna (made honorary member in 1978), and from 1973 to 1976 performed at the Burgtheater (among other roles, as Elizabeth in “Maria Stuart”). Despite becoming blind in 1967 she remained active on stage and in film, radio and cabaret. In 1979 she was awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem for her actions from 1941 to 1945 to save the life of her Jewish dress designer, Lilli Schiff, who had received a “resettlement” order to immediately leave Vienna. Neff decided that Schiff would stay with her and then traveled to the Jewish section of Vienna and posted a suicide note on Schiff’s apartment door. Schiff was hidden in the back room of Neff’s apartment from October 1941 until May 1945. During that time, Neff continued her usual schedule including hosting opening night post – performance parties at her home, to which she had to invite Viennese Nazi officials along with the usual theater people. Even though the Nazis socialized in Dorothea’s living room, Schiff was never detected. Both women survived the war. In 1981, during a grand ceremony in Vienna at which the entire community of actors came to honor her, Dorothea Neff finally explained that she heard a voice within her say that she could not allow this (resettlement to a concentration camp) to happen. Died in Vienna, Austria.

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  • February, 21, 1903
  • Germany


  • July, 27, 1986
  • Austria


  • Zentralfriedhof
  • Austria

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