Is Pola Negri, siren of the silent screen days, Jewish.
The question perplexed motion picture circles in New York Friday following the receipt of word from Berlin that Adolf Hitler had personally set aside the Propaganda Ministry’s order prohibiting the actress from working in Germany because of a suspicion that she has Jewish blood.
The German Chancellor, according to the advices received here, ruled that Miss Negri could enter the Reich and act in a new film in which the erstwhile Hollywood vamp is to be starred.
GOEBBELS SAID NO
An application made several days to Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Herr Hitler’s fiery Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, for permission to make the picture had been refused.
The Berlin dispatches said the No. 1 man of the Nazi regime then entered the situation, issuing a communique which said, tersely:
“An investigation instituted by the Reichsfuehrer established that she is Polish and therefore ‘Aryan.’”
Two American producers for whom Miss Negri worked when she was somewhat youngerâ€”Paramount and United Artistsâ€”could not say definitely whether her racial origins were Semitic or not when a reporter for the Jewish Daily Bulletin queried their New York offices Friday.
VARIETY DOESN’T KNOW
At the headquarters of Variety, the theatrical weekly which delves into matters big and small affecting people in the show world with the enthusiasm of a ferret, the problem had engaged the attention of Wolfe Kaufman, one of the publication’s outstanding “detectives” and staff writers, before this reporter turned there for a solution.
“I really haven’t been able to find out,” confessed Wolfe. “I’ve looked into our files and all that, but haven’t succeeded in finding the answer. However, my impression is that Miss Negri probably is not Jewish.”
Moviegoers were divided into three campsâ€”those who held that the girl who stepped into Theda Bara’s pumps was certainly at least partly Jewish, those who maintained as steadfastly that she was not Jewish and those who hadn’t given the question a thought until the news from Germany “broke.”
It was pointed out in local film circles that the employment of Miss Negri, whose American heyday is but a memory, in the German picture industry is but another indication of how weak is the present position of the Reich movie makers. In the United States she is rated as a “hasbeen.”
The communique issued by Herr Hitler said the “accusations” brought against Miss Negri “are false.”