From Fischer to Douglas: Senta Berger describes experiences of abuse

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From Fischer to Douglas
Senta Berger describes experiences of abuse

Senta Berger, who is now 79 years old, has had a long acting career. A career in which she apparently also had to experience some assaults by male colleagues. So she’s now unpacking a whole series of incidents.

Now actress Senta Berger is also talking about her experiences with sexual assault in her industry. During her career she has repeatedly experienced such situations on the set, says the now 79-year-old actress in an interview with “Zeit”.

She played with OW Fischer in “It doesn’t always have to be caviar”.

(Foto: imago images / United Archives)

Accordingly, her fellow actor OW Fischer tried to rape her while filming “It doesn’t always have to be caviar”. “After that I should actually have said: I can’t shoot with you tomorrow and not make this film with you. But OW Fischer knew that I wouldn’t say that,” Berger told Die Zeit. Instead, she hadn’t exchanged a private word with him.

At the end of the shooting, Fischer apologized with the Faust quote “The eternal feminine draws us up”. It is not the first time that Berger has publicly prosecuted Fischer: As early as 2006, she reported on this and other attacks in her book “I know yes that I can fly”.

An “unbelievable merger”

In the new conversation Berger also reports that Hollywood star Kirk Douglas once tried to get closer to her. Douglas, with whom she was in front of the camera for the film “The Giant’s Shadow”, is said to have tried to kiss her against her will. After she turned her head away, the actor with Russian-Jewish roots tried, according to Berger, to justify himself with the following sentence: “Your people killed my people.” She felt it was an “unbelievable merging”, explains the actress.

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Kirk Douglas was Berger’s film partner in “The Giant’s Shadow”.

(Foto: imago images/Everett Collection)

The case of the fallen film mogul and now convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein didn’t really surprise her, says Berger. She once experienced a similar incident in New York with the American producer Darryl Zanuck, whom she describes as the “Harvey Weinstein figure”: Zanuck invited her to his hotel room and then followed her in a bathrobe. Colleagues told her that this was “common” behavior, said Berger.

In the meantime, the balance of power would change, believes Berger. “But in my opinion there is too much discussion about the language and gender asterisks and too little about the real conditions. And too much about actresses and too little about cleaning women or bus drivers,” she adds.

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