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Danuta Szaflarska

This page was created thanks to cooperation with The Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw.

The text below thank the courtesy of The Academy and Dr Paweł Płoński.

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Danuta Szaflarska 1915-2017


Born on 6 February 1915 in Kosarzyska, died on 19 February 2017 in Warsaw. A theatre and film actress, also known for her numerous performances in the Television Theatre and the Polish Radio Theatre.

She completed her acting education just before the outbreak of the Second World War, beginning her artistic career in 1939. She survived the war in Vilnius and Warsaw. During the Warsaw Uprising, she served as a liaison officer of the Home Army Headquarters.

After the war, she was associated with the theatres managed by Erwin Axer – first the Chamber Theatre in Lodz, then the Contemporary Theatre in Warsaw. This was a period of her remarkable development as an actress, resulting in outstanding roles in productions by renowned directors. Under Erwin Axer's guidance, she played Ruth in Leon Kruczkowski's “Germans”. In the following years, she performed on other leading stages in Warsaw – the National Theatre and the Dramatic Theatre.

Directors and audiences saw her primarily as a screen beauty, which was influenced not only by her physical features but also by her film roles, beginning with “Forbidden Songs”, the first post-war Polish film (1946), in which she was partnered by Jerzy Duszyński. The popularity of Szaflarska and Duszyński, the first lovebirds of post-war Polish cinema, was cemented by “The Treasure” (1948). Afterwards, the cinema forgot about the actress for over four decades.

She was rediscovered in the early 1990s, as she was reaching her 80s. This was when she became a star of film and theatre again – as in the early days of her career.

Danuta Szaflarska's late roles carried qualities inspiring audiences’ affection and trust – calmness, wisdom, gentleness, and forbearance, which also were the dominant features of the characters she played in her later theatre and film roles.

She was undoubtedly an acting phenomenon, the oldest actress to appear on stage – even after she had reached the age of 100.

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