Vienna, 1915 – 2012, London
Born Anna Lelewer, Anita Bild began her ballet studies at the age of eleven. After completing high-school at Vienna’s Rahlgasse Gymnasium, she enrolled as an English major at Vienna’s University before being engaged as a dancer by the Ballet in Basel. Her career took “Anita,” as she called herself from now on, from Switzerland to Egypt, though by the time of Hitler’s annexation of Austria, she worked as a dancer in Linz’s City Theatre. Being dismissed from the theatre as a “non-Aryan,” she applied for and received a visa to work in England as a chambermaid. Through friends, she was persuaded to enter a marriage of convenience in order to avoid deportation. It was during this period that she met her future husband, fellow Austrian refugee Fritz Bild. From 1944 to 1946, Anita appeared as a singer and dancer in a number of refugee venues in London, for which she composed both words and music to several cabaret songs. After the war, she worked as an actress and dancer before starting a new career as a screenwriter for the BBC’s German program in the mid-1950s. At the age of 75, she wrote her memoirs, posthumously published in 2018 as A Cherry Dress.