Vienna, 1915 – 2012, London
Anita Bild was born Anna Lelewer. She began her ballet studies at age eleven. After completing high-school (Matura) 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. It was at this point she started to use the name “Anita” rather than Anna. Her career took her from Switzerland to Egypt, though by the time of Hitler’s annexation of Austria, she worked as a dancer in Linz’s State Theatre, (Landestheater). She was dismissed from the State Theatre as a “non-Aryan”. She applied for and received a visa to work in England as a house maid. 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 subsequent husband, fellow Austrian refugee Fritz Bild. From 1944 to 1946, Anita appeared as 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 went on to have a career as an actress and dancer before starting a new career as script writer for the BBC’s German programme in the mid-1950s. At the age of 75 she wrote her memoirs, published as A Cherry Dress, published posthumously in 2018.