CLAIM

A photograph shows Melania Trump's grandmother, Olga Orlif, who was a Soviet Soldier in World War II.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

In January 2017, photographs began to show up on social media along with the claim that they were images of Melania Trump’s grandmother, purportedly a Soviet soldier named Olga Orlif:

Screenshot 2017-01-31 at 10.32.26 AM

The earliest versions of this rumor that we could uncover were accompanied by Russian text, which we have translated below:

Старший лейтенант Советской Армии Ольга Орлиф – бабушка югославки Мелании Трамп :-)?

Senior Lieutenant of the Soviet Army Olga Orlif – grandma of Melania Trump

This photograph actually shows actress Janet Leigh as Lt. Anna Marladovna (later Lt. Anna Shannon) in the 1957 movie “Jet Pilot,” a film about a Russian pilot who may or may not be a spy.  (It remains unclear whether this particular image is a still from the film, or if it was an official promotional photograph.)

The web site TheRedList.com featured another image of Leigh in her Soviet Army costume:

080-janet-leigh-theredlist

Information about the real grandparents of Melania Trump (previously Melania Knauss) remains scarce online. The only tidbit we were able uncover was that her grandparents lived in Sevnica, a town in Slovenia, and that her grandfather developed a red onion variety called the Raka — but even that tidbit is anecdotal

While we don’t know much about the First Lady’s grandmother, a photograph of a Soviet soldier who looks a lot like Janet Leigh along with the claim that it shows Melania Trump’s grandmother is actually Janet Leigh dressed as a Soviet soldier for a 1957 movie role.

Sources:

Smith, Alex.   “Melania who? Trump’s wife a forgotten memory in Slovenian home town.”
    The Guardian.   5 September 2016.

Collins, Lauren.   “The Model American.”
    The New Yorker.   9 May 2016.