Saturday, March 14, 2009
Rosita Serrano, the Chilean Nightingale
Rosita Serrano, billed as "the Chilean Nightingale", was one of Germany's most popular and exotic performers in the 1930s and 40s.
Unfortunately, like so many great entertainers, her career was caught up in the imperial entanglements of the Third Reich. While touring in Sweden, she gave a series of concerts specifically for the benefit of Jewish refugees who had fled the Nazis. When Goebbels heard about this, he ordered a warrant for Rosita's arrest on "espionage" charges.
Serrano got wind of the bounty on her head, and, unable to return to her apartment in Berlin and recover her possessions and her pet dachshunds, immediately left Sweden for her homeland of Chile. Meanwhile, her songs and movies were added to the ever-growing blacklist of entertainment banned by the Nazi regime.
In 1951 she tried to resume her career but hit speedbumps at every turn. Her repertoire was mostly in German, and in the United States, no one wanted to hear German songs so soon after the war. Back in Germany, she was unable to reignite the flame of her old career. And in Chile, she was reportedly looked down upon by locals because she had once sung for Nazis - despite the fact that she was a victim of Nazism herself. But she remained in Chile nonetheless, and led a quite impoverished life until her death in 1997.
Listen: Rosita Serrano - "Roter Mohn"