Also known as the The Devil’s Pawn
Pola Negri plays Lea, a bright adolescent girl who lives in the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw with her ill father. She loves to read, and intends to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg in the hopes of making her father well again. Her father dies suddenly and her tutor, Ossip Storki, is called away to work for the governor. When she goes to Russia, she learns that Jewish women are only allowed to work as sex workers with the benefit of a “yellow passport”, otherwise they will be taken to prison. She applies for a yellow passport and takes up residency at a brothel. Upon finding the identification papers of her tutor’s deceased sister Sophie in a book her tutor gave her, Lea applies to the University with the deceased sister’s identification papers and is accepted. So begins an unhappy life of studying by day and receiving scholastic honors, while reluctantly working as a party girl at night. Her fellow students, including a boy named Dimitri who is in love with her, then find her out. Dimitri in particular is crushed to learn of Lea’s double life. Lea realizes that this will be the end of her scholastic career, and attempts suicide.
Dimitri goes to their professor, Peter Zukowski, to tell him of Lea’s double life. Prof. Zukowski then ruminates over his own double life, having fathered an illegitimate child 19 years prior with a fellow student named Lydia. He does not know what became of either Lydia or the child. Meanwhile, Lea’s former tutor Storki learns that his deceased sister has allegedly received a gold medal for her studies at the University in St. Petersburg. Storki is suspicious and asks for a leave of absence from his work to investigate the matter. A meeting between Stroki and Prof. Zukowski reveals that Lea is actually the professor’s long lost daughter. The next day, Lea is brought to the University for an emergency operation. The professor learns on the spot this it is Lea, his daughter, that he has to save from death. The surgery is successful, and Lea recovers, with both her father and her admirer Dimitri at her side.
Directors: Eugen Illés, Victor Janson
Writers: Hans Brennert, Hanns Kräly
Stars: Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, Victor Janson