With an exotic, dark appearance and an Eastern European mystery, Elina Lowensohn, a rising actress in mostly independent films, is a performer considered to have the kind of expressive looks that would have played well in silent movies. Filmgoers will long remember her performance as a Jewish architect shot by Ralph Fiennes simply because she knows how to construct a building's foundation in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" (1993). Lowensohn's own background included both concentration camp victims and survivors. Her grandparents died in the cattle cars on the way to camps, while her father survived them. He went on to become minister of housing in the Romanian Communist government until purged because he was a Jew; he died in 1973 when Lowensohn was seven. Her mother, a ballet dancer and teacher, left Lowensohn and her younger brother in Romania while she traveled to South America to work, before settling in Washington, DC, where she obtained a green card and staged a year-long protest (including a hunger strike) until the US State Department allowed her children to emigrate to the US. The family settled in upstate New York.