17 November 1925
Allenstein, East Prussia
|Died||8 May 2017 (aged 91)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
|Other names||Kurt Lowens|
Curt Lowens (17 November 1925 – 8 May 2017) was an actor of the stage and in feature films and television, as well as a Holocaust survivor and a rescuer who saved about 150 Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Life and career
Born Curt Löwenstein in the East Prussian town of Allenstein (now Olsztyn, Poland), his father was a respected lawyer, and his mother was active with several local Jewish community organizations. His father's career declined due to loss of clients after the Nazis' takeover of Germany, so the family moved to Berlin hoping that the city's large Jewish community could provide more protection. Young Curt continued to receive an education and to prepare for his bar mitzvah under the guidance of Rabbi Manfred Swarsensky of the Fasanenstrasse Synagogue. After the violence of Kristallnacht (also known as the November Pogrom) in November 1938, the Nazis closed his school. In early 1939, Lowens received his bar mitzvah in a school auditorium with 34 other youths.
Lowens' older brother Heinz successfully emigrated to Britain a few months before the start of World War II. Curt and his parents planned to emigrate to the United States via the neutral Netherlands in early 1940. While waiting to depart from Rotterdam, however, the Germans invaded the Netherlands on the intended day of their departure. During the first two years of the German occupation, Curt's father worked at a desk job for the Jewish Council in Amsterdam, which initially saved the family from deportation to Auschwitz. Nonetheless, Curt and his mother were rounded up, unexpectedly, and deported to Westerbork in June 1943, but they were released through his father's connections.
The family subsequently went into hiding, each separately since individuals were more readily placed in homes of rescuers. Curt took on the false identity of "Ben Joosten". He managed to visit his mother when she, also under a false name, was treated at a hospital run by Catholic nuns; she died in January 1944. Curt, meanwhile, had become active in a network of Dutch rescuers, including Hanna van der Voort and Nico Dohmen, aiding Jewish children in hiding. By war's end, some 150 Jewish children were rescued by this group alone. Curt Lowens also aided two downed American Army Air Corps flyers, for which he later received a commendation from General Dwight D. Eisenhower. After liberation, he joined the British Eighth Corps as an interpreter, aiding the British in their house arrest of the remaining Nazi leaders in Flensburg, Germany in mid-May 1945.
In 1947, Curt, his father, and step-mother immigrated to the United States. Under the name Curt Lowens, he trained to become an actor, studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York. He has appeared in over 100 films and TV shows since 1960. Lowens died on 8 May 2017 at the age of 91 in Beverly Hills.
- Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory (1962)
- The Four Days of Naples (1962)
- Il Processo di Verona (1963)
- Blue Light episode "Invasion by the Stars" (1966) (TV)
- Torn Curtain (1966)
- Tobruk (1967)
- Counterpoint (1968)
- Garrison's Gorillas (1968) as Maj. Sturm \ Col. Krueger \ Col. Broiler
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
- The Mephisto Waltz (1971)
- Trader Horn (1973)
- The Hindenburg (1975)
- The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)
- The Other Side of Midnight (1977)
- The Entity (1981)
- Firefox (1982)
- To Be or Not To Be (1983) as Airport Officer
- The A-Team (1983-1987) as Soviet Embassy Official
- Private War (1988) as Paul Devries
- Night Children (1989)
- Paid To Kill (1991) as Spinosa
- A Midnight Clear (1992) as older German NCO
- Mandroid (1993) as Drago
- Necronomicon (1993) as Mr. Hawkins
- A River Made to Drown In (1997)
- The Cutter (2005)
- Ray of Sunshine (2006)
- Hellsing Ultimate (2007)
- Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
- Angels & Demons (2009)
- Supah Ninjas (2011)
- She Wants Me (2012)
- Wolff, Carlo (1 November 2012). "Holocaust gathering hopes to keep memories alive". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Flax, Peter; Baum, Gary; Roxborough, Scott; Guthrie, Marisa; Lewis, Andy (16 December 2015). "Hollywood's Last Survivors of the Holocaust share their stories". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- "Curt Lowens," in Holocaust Survivors: The Indestructible Spirit, Chapman University, 2010.
- "The indestructible spirit of Holocaust survivors". Jewish Journal. 1 May 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Robbins, Gary (8 October 2009). "Chapman donor who survived Holocaust to portray Nazi". OC Register. Archived from the original on 12 October 2009. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
- "Fallece curt lowens, el protagonista de el terror de los lobos". La Cosa (in Spanish). 10 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Curt Lowens, Holocaust Survivor and Wartime Hero Turned Actor, Dies at 91