Zorka Janů

Zorka Janů (born Zora Babková) (Štěchovice, 9 July 1921 – Prague, 24 March 1946),[1] a Czech film actress, was the younger sister of the legendary cinema star Lída Baarová. When she was 12 years old, she appeared in the movie Madla z cihelny (Brickmaker's daughter, 1933) alongside her sister who played the principal role. She studied the dramatic art at the Prague's Academy of Performing Arts.

The Virgins' Club

After the release of the Cech panen kutnohorských (The Virgins' Club) in 1938, Zorka captured the imagination of the movie-going public. In 1939 she got her first big role in the František Čáp and Václav Krška's movie Fiery Summer (Ohnivé léto), about a love triangle between Rose (Lída Baarová), Clare (Janů) and a young man, Šimon, who is loved by Clare, but loves Rose. Clare attempts suicide by jumping into the river. Two young men in love with her throw themselves into the torrent to save her, but one of them drowns. During the shooting of the Fiery Summer, Zorka Janů fell in love with the love of her life, the writer and poet František Kožík.

The war years

In the 1940s Zorka Janů appeared in seven movies, among them Baron Münchhausen and Rubens’ Caper. She played a leading role in the movie Čekanky (Ladies in Waiting, 1940) about an aging count who forbids his female staff to marry. Her last movie appearance was as Helen in Jiří Slavíček’s Boys and the River (1944).

Trials and tribulations

After Germany lost the war in 1945, her sister Lída Baarová (mistress of Joseph Goebbels) was imprisoned and her mother died during the interrogation by the Czech retribution tribunal. Zorka Janů was expelled from work, ostracized, and committed suicide by jumping out of a window.[2] The tragic story of Zorka Janů was told by Adam Georgiev in his (1998) book Deník sestry Lídy Baarové (Diary of Lída Baarová’s Sister).


  1. IMDb
  2. Peter Demetz - Prague in Danger: The Years of German Occupation, 1939-45


External links

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