Lotte H. Eisner

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Lotte H. Eisner (5 March 1896 – 25 November 1983, Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris) was a German-French film critic, historian, writer and poet. She was a mentor to the director Werner Herzog.

Early life, education and career[edit]

She was born Lotte Henriette Regina Eisner in Berlin, the daughter of a Jewish merchant and his wife. After studies in Berlin and Munich, from 1927 she worked as a theater and film critic for German newspapers. Among others, she wrote for Film-Kurier, a daily film newspaper published in Berlin.

In 1933, she fled from Germany to France to avoid the rising anti-Jewish persecution by the Nazis. During World War II she hid for a time, but finally was caught and interned in the French concentration camp at the town of Gurs in Aquitaine, France. (Foreign Jews were interned as aliens.) She survived the war, and after the Liberation returned to Paris.

She worked closely with Henri Langlois, the founder of the Cinémathèque Française. She worked there from 1945 as Chief Archivist until her retirement in 1975.

Lotte H. Eisner continued to write for the monthly Cahiers du Cinéma and La Revue du Cinéma. In 1974, learning that Eisner was seriously ill and on the verge of death, the German film director Werner Herzog walked from Munich to Paris to visit her, in the faith that she would be well again when he arrived. His journey is recounted in Herzog's book Of Walking in Ice. She had been a mentor to him.

Legacy and honors[edit]


  • Murnau France 1964, US and UK 1972
  • Fritz Lang, Da Capo Press, New Edition 1986, ISBN 0-306-80271-6
  • Die dämonische Leinwand, engl. The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt, University of California Press, Second Edition 2008, ISBN 0-520-25790-1
  • Ich hatte einst ein schönes Vaterland. Memoiren, Munich: dtv, 1988 - she describes her collaboration with the eccentric Henri Langlois.

External links[edit]