Most known for his role as a Nazi in Casablanca and Nazi Agent. Conrad Veidt had an esteemed reputation as an actor, making more than a hundred movies in Berlin, Paris, London, and Hollywood. With that said, he was also known for his anti-Nazi actions, once ordered to be killed by the Gestapo.
After Veidt’s marriage with his Jewish wife Lily, they moved to England, listing himself as a Jew in his identity card. He then donated most of his salaries to war efforts against the Nazis while portraying Nazis as villains in his famous Hollywood films.
Conrad Veidt’s Legacy
Emerging from a common working-class area in Berlin, Germany, Hans Walter Conrad Veidt was born on January 22, 1893. Most known for his villainous roles in Casablanca and The Thief of Baghdad, he starred in numerous films that immortalized his excellence in acting.
Veidt lived most of his life in Berlin, dedicating his summers in Potsdam as a young child. For his educational attainment, he finished high school in Sophiengymnasium, located in Berlin, and received no diploma as he finished his final year in 1912 due to a lack of money.
After departing from school, Veidt appeared in The Doctor’s Dilemma in an esteemed performing arts theater in Berlin known as the Deutsches Theater. He frequented the theater stages of Berlin; his promising career was cut short due to the beginning of World War II in 1914.
In 1916, he returned to the Deutsches Theater; due to better financial opportunities, it was not long before he worked in the film industry as an actor familiar to cinema-goers. Three years after his first film, he starred in an expressionist classic horror movie entitled The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Veidt remained an esteemed reputation throughout his silent film era to the period of the Nazi invasion in Germany and Europe. His talent was internationally recognized, making more than a hundred movies in Berlin, Paris, London, and Hollywood.
His career remained short-lived as he suffered a stroke in the middle of playing golf on the Riviera Country Club golf course, situated in Los Angeles, passing away at the young age of 50. (Source: The German Way)
Veidt and Lily’s Anti-Nazi Love
During the period Veidt frequented England after the divorce with his second wife, German aristocrat Felicitas Radke, he soon met Llona Prager, his third and final wife. Llona Prager was a German Jew that preferred to be called Lily.
Veidt’s relationship with Lily didn’t start his hate for Nazis, and even before they met, he was known to oppose the Nazis. Since the Nazis were progressively invading Germany, Veidt and Lily migrated to the United Kingdom weeks after their marriage and became citizens there.
Before departing from Germany, Veidt listed himself as Jewish in his race identity card. Apprehended and sentenced to death by the Gestapo for his Nazi-opposing activities, he was returned to England to avoid international incidents.
Before leaving England due to the prevalent airstrikes in London, Veidt made sure to sign his entire life savings to aid the war efforts against the Nazi enemies. Veidt and Lily then settled in Hollywood, where Veidt played evil roles as Nazi villains, starring in Casablanca and Nazi Agent.
The irony of Veidt’s roles as Nazi antagonists has a reason behind them. As specified in Veidt’s contract, he would only play Nazis if they were villains; with the hefty salary Veidt gained from his roles, Veidt and Lily sent most of his money to help the Allied Forces fight against the Nazis. (Source: Birth. Movies. Death.)