La Jana was the stage name of the brunette Viennese-born actress and exotic dancer Henriette “Henny” Hiebel. She was trained as a ballerina for ten years and first performed at the Frankfurt Kinderoper at the age of eight. Of boyishly slim build, she appeared on stage in cabaret in 1921.
La Jana received good publicity from a successful tour of Britain. The build-up continued with glamour photographs for Vogue magazine. Movies followed and La Jana hit the big time with Truxa (1937) and The Stars Shine (1938).
Propelled to instant stardom, La Jana came to represent oriental or Latin mystery and allure as the scantily-clad heroines of The Tiger of Eschnapur (1938), Das indische Grabmal (1938) and Stern von Rio (1940).
La Jana was married to the opera star Michael Bohnen and was said to have previously been romantically involved with Wilhelm, the last Crown Prince of the former German Empire.
Her life ended tragically young at the very peak of her popularity. She died of pneumonia at the age of 35. One fanciful story has it that she aided in the escape from Nazi Germany of Jewish acting colleagues and was consequently murdered by the SS.
Take a look at these glamorous photos to see the beauty of La Jana in her short life.