Heinrich George

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Heinrich George
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H09160, Heinrich George.jpg
Heinrich George in front of his house, 1930.
Born Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz
(1893-10-09)October 9, 1893
Stettin, Pomerania
Died September 25, 1946(1946-09-25) (aged 52)
Oranienburg, Brandenburg, Speziallager Nr. 7 Sachsenhausen
Occupation Actor
Years active 1921–1945

Heinrich George (9 October 1893 – 25 September 1946), born Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz, was a German stage and film actor.

Career[edit]

Weimar Republic[edit]

George is noted for having spooked the young Bertolt Brecht in his first directing job, a production of Arnolt Bronnen's Parricide (1922), when he refused to continue working with the director.[1]

He played in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Dreyfus (1930). In 1931, he starred in Berlin Alexanderplatz (1931).

George was an active member of the Communist party during the Weimar Republic.[2] He worked with theatre director Erwin Piscator and playwright Bertolt Brecht, both of whom identified with the political left. George starred in the lead role of the film Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1931).

Nazi era[edit]

After the Nazi takeover, George was classified as a "non-desirable" actor at first because of his earlier political affiliations and was thus barred from working in cinematic productions. However, he was eventually able to reach an accommodation with the Nazi regime. In 1937, George was designated as a Staatsschauspieler (i.e. an actor of national importance) and in 1938 was appointed director of the Schiller Theater in Berlin. George actively collaborated with the Nazis and agreed to star in Nazi propaganda films such as Hitler Youth Quex (1933) Jud Süß (1940), and Kolberg (1945) as well as appearing in numerous newsreels.

George had a stocky build and a Berlin accent which made him readily recognizable to German audiences. George's prestige as a leading actor of the day made him an "extraordinarily valuable catch for the Nazis."[3] Cooke and Silberman describe him as "the actor most closely tied with fascist fantasies of the autocratic and the populist leader".[4]

Postwar[edit]

Although Heinrich George had been a member of the Communist Party of Germany before the Nazi takeover, he was nonetheless interned as a Nazi collaborator at the Soviet concentration camp in Sachsenhausen where he died in 1946.[5]

Cause of death was starvation, even though official reports stated that he died "after an appendix operation".[6]

Personal life[edit]

Heinrich George married the German actress Berta Drews. They had two sons: Jan George and actor Götz George.

Filmography[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thomson, Peter; Sacks, Glendyr (1994), The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (2 ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 302, ISBN 0-521-41446-6 
  2. ^ Škvorecký, Josef. "JUD SÜSS". Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  3. ^ Fritzsche, Peter (2008). Life and death in the Third Reich. Harvard University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-674-02793-0. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Cooke, Paul; Silberman, Marc (30 July 2010). Screening war: perspectives on German suffering. Camden House. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-57113-437-0. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Fuchs, Anne; Cosgrove, Mary; Grote, Georg (2006). German memory contests: the quest for identity in literature, film, and discourse since 1990. Camden House. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-57113-324-3. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Neimi, Robert (2006), History in the Media: Film and Television, ABC-CLIO, p. 6, ISBN 978-1-57607-952-2 

Further reading[edit]

  • Berta Drews: Wohin des Wegs: Erinnerungen. Langen Müller, 1986. ISBN 3-7844-2098-2
  • Peter Laregh: Heinrich George. Komödiant seiner Zeit. Langen Müller (Herbig), München 1992, ISBN 3-7844-2363-9
  • Werner Maser: Heinrich George. Mensch, aus Erde gemacht. Quintessenz Verlag, 1998, ISBN 3-86124-351-2
  • Kurt Fricke: Spiel am Abgrund. Heinrich George – eine politische Biographie. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2000, ISBN 978-3-89812-021-0
  • Kurt Fricke: Heinrich George, in: Bernd Heidenreich/Sönke Neitzel (eds.): Medien im Nationalsozialismus. Schöningh Paderborn, 2010, S. 83–107, ISBN 978-3-506-76710-3
  • Michael Klonovsky, Jan von Flocken: Stalins Lager in Deutschland 1945–1950. Dokumentation – Zeugenberichte. Ullstein-Verlag, 1991, ISBN 978-3-550-07488-2
  • Horst Mesalla: Heinrich George. Rekonstruktion der schauspielerischen Leistung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der zeitgenössischen Publizistik. Dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin, 1969.

External links[edit]