Pola Negri, Berlin, 1937
For some reason, Pola morphed into a brunette Marlene Dietrich for this photograph. It was as if she was trying to look as German as possible during her return time with the Nazi-controlled UFA studios from 1935-1938.
The press snipe on the back of the photo deals with rumors that Pola was engaged to marry Nazi Chancellor Adolph Hitler. As far-fetched as that sounds, her history of announcing engagements to men she would not name made the rumor plausible in Germany. She didn’t help matters either with such attributed quotes as “Perhaps I shall marry some one high up in the German government.” The rumors hit the height of absurdity when she was briefly hospitalized for food poisoning and German tabloids suggested she had been poisoned out of jealousy by one of Hitler’s ex-girlfriends and U.S. gossip columnist Louella Parsons printed a rumor that Pola had been sent to Dachau Concentration Camp due to her lack of discretion in discussing her romance with Der Fuehrer.
Pola didn’t appreciate the gossip. She sued a French magazine in a Paris court for libel after they published an article claiming she was a regular sleep-over guest at Bertchesgarden and she “had Hitler wrapped around her little finger.” During the court proceedings, Pola testified that she never met Hitler–a claim she repeated again in her autobiography. She won her case and was awarded several hundred francs and a printed apology from the magazine.
Yet upon her return to America in 1941, she still had to bear the indignity of gossip magazines that painted her as a collaborator and Nazi sympathizer. With the help of a few friendly editors, she wrote of her time in Germany–of being shadowed by the Gestapo and threatened by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbles– for publication proving herself 100% pro-American..