Today we are celebrating Viola’s 88th birthday. As a tribute to her and to her beloved father, I am posting here a tribute to remember them and their very special relationship, ended all too sudden. But, at least we know that they are reunited now in Heaven…
First, let us remember Connie and his beloved daughter in their own words:
There occurred now the second big thing in my life. After three years of happy marriage, my daughter Viola Vera Maria was born. An emotion, the tenderest I had ever yet experienced, surged over me. This was complete, perfect happiness. The coming of Viola made me whole again. Do not ask me how I behaved when my daughter was born. Like a crazy man. Certainly I did not comport myself like a normal father. You might have thought nobody had ever had a baby before. I wanted to do the craziest, the most extravagant, the most useless things. When Viola was a year old, we all went to Travemunde for a lovely lazy holiday. Viola was enchantingly interesting; she and my wife and I laughed and played, three children together.
As for Viola, have I yet mentioned that she is nine, and growing up most beautiful? That she has unusual intelligence? That she has already learnt when to be gay, when to be serious? (And how important that is.) That her sense of humour is exquisite, her temperament ideal? That she is the most divine daughter any man could ever have…. But, perhaps you are a father or a mother yourself, so you will know that I must be stopped at this point, or I will go on forever.
Viola is never far from my thoughts. And our meetings together are beautiful occasions. She grows up with intelligence and love in her home, and the right atmosphere surrounds her life like a benediction. (Conrad about Viola, on Sunday Dispatch, October 1934)
As Conrad Veidt’s daughter, I never knew my father was an actor until I was seven years old and was permitted to see him in his current film in 1932, The Black Hussar. All I knew about him was that he was the most loving father in the world. He would rush home from his work at the studio to say my bedtime prayers with me, and to read me my favourite fairy tales, perhaps “The Little Mermaid” or “The Steadfast Tin Soldier.” My father would then kiss me goodnight, often leaving a smudge of make-up on my cheek and my pillow. This was because he didn’t want to waste any time at the studio removing the make-up, and then perhaps miss seeing me before I went to sleep, and miss saying my prayers with me.
This is just one example of the kindness and thoughtfulness, not only to me, but to so many others as well. He was a fine, caring, warm-hearted man, as well as an excellent actor. (Viola about Conrad, on Foreword, From Caligari to Casablanca, J. C. Allen, 1993)