Alexander Granach

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Alexander Granach
Alexander Granach as Knock in Nosferatu (1922)
Born Jessaja Granach
(1893-04-18)April 18, 1893
Werbowitz, Galicia, Austria-Hungary
Died March 14, 1945(1945-03-14) (aged 51)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting place Montefiore Cemetery
Other names Jessaja Granach
Occupation Actor
Years active 1920–1944
Spouse(s) Martha Guttmann (m. 1914–1921) (div. one son)
Partner(s) Lotte Lieven ( 1933-1945) his death[1]
Children Gad Granach (1915-2011)

Alexander Granach (April 18, 1893 – March 14, 1945) was a popular German actor in the 1920s and 1930s who later migrated to the United States.

Life and career[edit]

Granach was born Jessaja Granach in Werbowitz (Wierzbowce/Werbiwci) (Horodenka district, Austrian Galicia then, now Verbivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine), to Jewish parents and rose to theatrical prominence at the Volksbühne in Berlin. Granach entered films in 1922; among the most widely exhibited of his silent efforts was the vampire classic Nosferatu (1922), in which the actor was cast as Knock, the lunatic counterpart to Renfield, effectively a substitute name for Dracula. He co-starred in such major early German talkies as Kameradschaft (1931).

The Jewish Granach fled to the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power. When the Soviet Union also proved inhospitable, he settled in Hollywood, where he made his first American film appearance as Kopalski in Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939). Granach proved indispensable to film makers during the war years, effectively portraying both dedicated Nazis (he was Julius Streicher in The Hitler Gang, 1944) and loyal anti-fascists. Perhaps his best role was as Gestapo Inspector Alois Gruber in Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die! (1943). His last film appearance was in MGM's The Seventh Cross (1944), in which almost the entire supporting cast was prominent European refugees.

Granach died on March 14, 1945 in New York from a pulmonary embolism following an appendectomy. Alexander Granach's autobiography, There Goes an Actor (1945) was republished in 2010 under the new title, From the Shtetl to the Stage: The Odyssey of a Wandering Actor (Transaction Publishers). His son, Gad Granach, lived in Jerusalem and wrote his own memoirs with many references to his father.



  • Alexander Granach: There Goes an Actor, Doubleday, Dorian and Co, Inc., Garden City 1945, ASIN B0007DSBEM
  • Alexander Granach: Da geht ein Mensch, Ölbaum-Verlag, Augsburg 2003, (Neuauflage) ISBN 3-927217-38-7
  • Alexander Granach: From the Shtetl to the Stage: The Odyssey of a Wandering Actor. Transaction Publishers, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4128-1347-1
  • Albert Klein and Raya Kruk: Alexander Granach: fast verwehte Spuren, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-108-X
  • Alexander Granach: Mémoires d'un gardien de bordel, Anatolia, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-35406-040-4
  • Gad Granach: Heimat los!, Ölbaum-Verlag, Augsburg 1997, ISBN 3-927217-31-X
  • Gad Granach: Where Is Home? Stories from the Life of a German-Jewish Émigré, Atara Press, Los Angeles 2009, ISBN 978-0-9822251-1-0


External links[edit]