Die Katakombe

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Die Katakombe (literally: The Catacombs) was a political-literary cabaret in Berlin from 1929 to 1935. It was founded by Werner Finck, Hans Deppe, R.A. Stemmle and others in the basement of the Association of Berlin Artists at Bellevuestraße 3. Among the artists who performed in the venue were Rudolf Platte, Theo Lingen, Ursula Herking, Isa Vermehren, Ernst Busch, Hanns Eisler, Erich Kästner, Ivo Veit and Erik Ode.

Finck was the conférencier (master of ceremonies) for a program of sketches and parodies. Within a year differences over the cabaret's artistic direction led to the departure of such politically motivated artists as Busch and Eisler. The location of the cabaret also changed.

After the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933, Secret Police were ever-present in the audience. Although the cabaret was by then entirely non-political, the venue continued to be suspect:

B.- Nr.41551/35 II 2 C 8057/ 35, 16 April 1935: The audience in the Katakombe continues in the vast majority made up of Jews, who pay tribute to the meanness and the vicious, destructive criticism of compères Werner Fink [sic] with fanatic applause. Fink is the typical former cultural Bolshevik, who apparently has not understood understand the new time or chooses not to understand it and attempts, like earlier Jewish writers, to throw into the dirt the ideas of Nazism and all that is sacred to the Nazis.[1]

Die Katakombe was shut 10 May 1935 at the instigation of Joseph Goebbels. Finck was briefly detained in the Esterwegen concentration camp.

Further reading[edit]

  • Helmut Heiber: Die Katakombe wird geschlossen; Archiv der Zeitgeschichte, 4; Scherz-Verlag, München 1966
  • Werner Finck: Spaßvogel – Vogelfrei; Berlin 1991; ISBN 3-548-22923-9
  • Isa Vermehren: Reise durch den letzten Akt: Ravensbrück, Buchenwald, Dachau. Eine Frau berichtet; Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2005; ISBN 3-499-24007-6
  • Sascha Ilic: Berlinsko okno (Berliner Schacht). Roman; Bookfactory, Belgrad 2005; ISBN 86-7718-016-8

Recordings[edit]

  • Werner Finck: Aufgehobene Rechte. Kabarett aus der Katakombe; CD; ISBN 3-491-91114-1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ „B.- Nr.41551/35 II 2 C 8057/ 35, 16. April 1935: ‚Das Publikum in der ‚Katakombe‘ setzt sich in der überwiegenden Mehrzahl aus Juden zusammen, die den Gemeinheiten und der bissigen, zersetzenden Kritik des Conférenciers Werner Fink [sic!] fanatisch Beifall zollen. Fink ist der typische frühere Kultur-Bolschewist, der offenbar die neue Zeit nicht verstanden hat oder jedenfalls nicht verstehen will und der in der Art der früheren jüdischen Literaten versucht, die Ideen des Nationalsozialismus und alles das, was einem Nationalsozialisten heilig ist, in den Schmutz zu ziehen‘“ - Report cited by Werner Finck