Inglourious Basterds Movie - WHO WAS BRIDGET von HAMMERSMARK?

WHO WAS BRIDGET von HAMMERSMARK? (Illustration) Biographies Famous Historical Events Famous People Law and Politics Social Studies World History World War II Film

One of the most-popular singing actresses in Germany, during World War II, Zarah Leander may have been the inspiration for Bridgett von Hammersmark.  This image is from a currently sold CD of her songs.


As the war dragged on, Goebbels tried to lighten the hearts of German citizens with different types of movies.  Romances, comedies and music-in-film were extremely popular. 

Nazi propaganda did not disappear, as Allied bombings continued.  Those films were supplemented by stories which people could enjoy.  Movies like Wunschkonzert (“Request Concert,” 1940), Die große Liebe (“The Great Love,” 1942) and Kolberg (1945) were effective tools in distracting the German public.

Goebbels, a reported womanizer, also tried to develop a "star" system and was frequently seen with popular actresses.  Hitler, however, frowned on such activities since Goebbels was married with six young children.

One of the most popular actresses during the time of the Third Reich - Zarah Leander, star of "The Great Love" - was also a singer.  From Sweden, she wanted to be paid in her own currency and was widely rumored (before and after) to be a spy. 

Was she an inspiration for Bridget von Hammersmark (who met her fate at the hands of SS Colonel Hans Landa)?  One can only speculate, but it seems reasonable. 

Was Leander really a spy?  The British historian, Antony Beevor, thinks so - see The Mystery of Olga Chekhova, page 152) - although other scholars disagree.  Leander, herself, addressed the issue head-on when she said:

I would not be surprised if they claimed I were spying in Iceland on behalf of the Vatican.

Another star of Third-Reich cinema was an actress who became a film maker.  Leni Riefenstahl (who starred in the famous mountain adventure, Piz Palu) so impressed Hitler that he selected her to be his personal movie producer.  Among others, she made “Triumph of the Will” (documenting Hitler’s rise to power) and “Olympia” (about the 1936 Olympics).

Riefenstahl, who is still admired for her revolutionary film techniques, was never able to overcome her association with Hitler and his Nazi regime.  Although she lived to be 101, maintaining good health throughout her life, she was unwelcome in the post-war, movie-making world.

Hitler had always been unwelcome in Paris, where he had come to gloat soon after the June 22, 1940 armistice.  But French resistance, and Allied advances made during and after the Normandy (D-Day) invasion, worked hard to end Nazi control of the French capital. 

Paris was liberated in August of 1944.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2009

Updated Last Revision: Apr 23, 2015

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"WHO WAS BRIDGET von HAMMERSMARK?" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2009. Feb 25, 2020.
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