(Israel Twitter)Orna Porat was born Irene Klein in Cologne, Germany, in 1924. Her father was a Catholic and her mother a Protestant, but she chose atheism in her youth and was interested in socialist ideas. In 1934 her family moved to Porz, where she attended high school. During these years she was a member of the Hitler Youth, despite her parents’ objections.
After high school, she attended drama school and began her stage career at a repertory theater in Schleswig. There, she became acquainted with the writings of Thomas Mann and Franz Werfel and the poetry and plays of Bertolt Brecht, and discovered the truth about the atrocities of the Nazi regime.
Porat met her husband, Joseph Proter, in Schleswig. He was an officer in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, made up of Jewish volunteers from the British Mandate of Palestine. In 1946, she moved to Palestine with Proter, and married him (in a civil ceremony). She converted to Judaism later, in 1957, and they held a Jewish ceremony before adopting two children.
After being refused by the HaBima and Ohel theaters, she was accepted by the Cameri Theater, where she took her Hebrew name. She appeared there for many years, until 1984.
After the major financial and artistic crisis in the Cameri in 1958, Porat was appointed to the theater’s administrative board.