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May 19, 2023

35 Vintage Portrait Photos of Hildegard Knef in the 1950s

Born 1925 in Ulm, German actress, singer, and writer Hildegard Knef appeared in several films before the fall of Nazi Germany, but most were released only afterward. Her two best known film roles were “Susanne Wallner” in Wolfgang Staudte’s film Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us), produced in 1946 by the East German state film company, and the first film released after the Second World War in East Germany; and “Marina” in Die Sünderin (The Sinner), in which she performed a brief nude scene, the first in German film history, which caused a scandal in 1951.

In 1948, Knef received the best-actress award from the Locarno Film Festival because of her role in the film Film Without a Title. Her singing career started in the 1960s once her film career was not going very well. She performed in television shows such as in episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King and in a 2000 documentary in which she was playing by herself Marlene Dietrich: Her Own Song.

In the 1960s, Knef appeared in a number of such low-budget films as The Lost Continent. She appeared in the 1975 screen adaptation of the Hans Fallada novel, Every Man Dies Alone directed by Alfred Vohrer, released in English as Everyone Dies Alone in 1976, and for which she won an award for best actress at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, then Czechoslovakia.

During her career, Knef performed in over 50 films. Nineteen of her films were produced in other countries than Germany: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria and Spain. She died at the age of 76 of a lung infection in Berlin, where she had moved after the German reunification. She smoked heavily for most of her life and suffered from emphysema.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Hildegard Knef in the 1950s.

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