juris eckstein

So, what about Maria Leiko?

Posted in memoriam by Juris on Decembris 15, 2009

It was a tale a family loss that turned to tragedy. It began when Maria journeyed from her native Riga to Tbilisi in 1936 to mourn the death of her daughter Nora and collect her newly motherless granddaughter. But instead of returning to her native Latvia with her granddaughter, the writer and successful stage and screen actress made a fateful decision to accept work at Skatuve Latvian Theatrical Company in Moscow

Instead of making a comfortable final act to star career Laiko was soon caught up in the violent whirlwind of Stalin purges. With 30 of her colleagues at Skatuve, she was summarily shot as a spy, Nazi and Latvian nationalist within just two years.

Born the daughter of worker in 1887 in Riga, 17 years old Maria has moved to Vienna and after – to Berlin. She started with Fridrich Murnau as his muse and the star, then played at Max Reinhardt’ theatre.

Maria has left Germany after Nazi came to power in 1933. Her stage career in Riga National Theatre was very successful. One of her stage-partners was the great Russian actor Mikhail Chekhov (the nephew of famous Russian writer), emigrated from Stalin’ Soviet Union, there is name of Maria Leiko in Napoleonic Encyclopedia after her role in “Maria Valevska”  drama in Riga, 1934.

In 1930. Maria’s daughter Nora fell in love with an officer of Soviet diplomatic service to Berlin ( he was native Georgian man) and was married. (His second name was Chichavaya, it isn’t really Georgian surname, most probably – Abkhazian one). Within a few years Nora’s husband was posted back to Tbilisi, where the couple settled to start a family. But disaster struck when Nora died giving birth to the couple’s first child shortly after moving to Tbilisi in 1934. The child lived with her father, who named her after her late mother – Nora. In 1936. it was decided that she should be raised by her grandmother for Riga.

So , she left to Tbilisi, but stayed in Moscow, in Butova NKVD-KGB’ secret polygon for ever. No any information about little Nora destiny.

 

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