Erwin Geschonneck

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Erwin Geschonneck
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-86965-0010, Nationalpreisverleihung an Erwin Geschonnek, Inge Keller.jpg
Walter Ulbricht, Erwin Geschonneck, Inge Keller (left to right)
Born Erwin Geschonneck
(1906-12-27)27 December 1906
Bartenstein, German Empire
Died 12 March 2008(2008-03-12) (aged 101)
Berlin, Germany
Spouse(s) Heike Geschonneck
Children Matti Geschonneck, Alexander Geschonneck

Erwin Geschonneck (27 December 1906 – 12 March 2008) was a German actor. His biggest success occurred in the German Democratic Republic, where he was considered one of the most famous actors of the time.

Early life[edit]

Geschonneck was born in Bartenstein, East Prussia (now Bartoszyce, Poland), the son of a poor shoemaker. The family moved to Berlin in 1909 so his father could work as a nightwatchman. In 1919, the younger Geschonneck joined the Communist Party of Germany. After the Nazi takeover in 1933, he emigrated to the Soviet Union via Poland, but was expelled in 1938 and moved to Prague. After the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, he was arrested on March 31, 1939.[1] During World War II, he was imprisoned in several Nazi concentration camps. In 1945, Geschonneck was one of the few prisoners who survived the RAF sinking of the Cap Arcona.[2]


Immediately following the war, Geschonneck acted in theaters in Hamburg, Germany, and made his film debut in 1947 in In jenen Tagen. He subsequently moved to East Germany, worked with Bertolt Brecht, and became a successful actor. He was a member of the jury at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival[3] and the 7th Moscow International Film Festival.[4]

The German film "Jacob the Liar" by Frank Beyer was nominated for Best foreign language film at the Academy Awards in 1977 - the only nomination for the GDR. In December 2006, he turned 100.

His last film, made in 1995 for the German television network ARD, was Matulla und Busch, where he played alongside veteran actor Fred Delmare. Geschonneck's son, Matti Geschonneck, directed.


Geschonneck died in Berlin on 12 March 2008, aged 101.[5]



  • Matulla und Busch (1995)
  • Das Graupenschloß (1982)
  • Benno macht Geschichten (1982)
  • Meschkas Enkel (1981)
  • Verlobung in Hullerbusch (1979)
  • Plantagenstraße 19 (1979)
  • Herbstzeit (1979)
  • Des Kleinen Lokführers große Fahrt (1978)
  • Ein Altes Modell (1976)
  • Die Insel der Silberreiher (1976)
  • Ein Wigwam für die Störche (1976)
  • Im Schlaraffenland (1975)
  • "Das Geheimnis der Anden" (1972) miniseries
  • "Jeder stirbt für sich allein" (1970) miniseries
  • "Rendezvous mit Unbekannt" (1969) miniseries
  • Die Ermittlung – Oratorium in 11 Gesängen (1966)
  • Asphalt-Story (1964)
  • Der Andere neben dir (1963)
  • "Gewissen in Aufruhr" (1961) miniseries
  • Die Gewehre der Frau Carrar (1953)


External links[edit]