I had never heard of the acclaimed horror film actress before reading her obituary this morning. What a life!
She was born Ingoushka Petrov on November 21 1937 in Poland, interrupting attempts by her father, a Prussian engineer, and Polish-Jewish mother to escape from Nazi Germany to Britain. Her parents were on a train to leave the country when Ingrid Pitt's mother went into labour, forcing them to get off and seek medical help. Unable to escape afterwards, they were eventually rounded up by the Germans in 1943, when Ingrid and her mother were separated from her father and interned at the Stutthof concentration camp.
In 1945, with the Red Army closing in, the Nazis marched survivors towards Germany; but when Allied aircraft strafed the roads, Ingrid and her mother managed to escape into a snowbound forest. By the time they were found by the American Red Cross, the war had been over for several weeks without their realising it.
Diagnosed with tuberculosis, Ingrid spent three months in hospital and was not expected to recover. But she survived to be reunited with her elderly father in Berlin. ...
But the political climate in East Germany was not to her liking; neither did her outspoken criticism of communist officials impress the government there.
Her dissent brought her to the attention of the Volkspolizei and she determined to flee Berlin on the night of her planned stage debut, diving into (and nearly drowning in) the river Spree, which runs through the city. In a romantic twist, she was rescued by Laud Pitt, a handsome lieutenant in the US Army, whom she later married. ...
Outside acting, Ingrid Pitt qualified as a black belt in karate, and in the 1960s trained in a Hollywood gym, or dojo, with Elvis Presley. She also had a passion for cricket and Second World War aircraft, and held a private pilot's licence. After mentioning her interest in aviation on a radio programme, she was invited by the museum at RAF Duxford to fly in a Lancaster bomber.
She also wrote ten books, including an autobiography, which just has to be a fun read.