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Heinrich George

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Heinrich George
Heinrich George by Hugo Erfurth 1930.jpg
Publicity portrait by Hugo Erfurth, 1930
Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz

(1893-10-09)9 October 1893
Died25 September 1946(1946-09-25) (aged 52)
Years active1912–1945
SpouseBerta Drews
Children2, including Götz George

Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz[1] (9 October 1893 – 25 September 1946), better known as Heinrich George (German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ɡeˈ(ʔ)ɔʁɡə] (listen)), was a German stage and film actor.

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Weimar Republic

George is noted for having spooked the young Bertolt Brecht in his first directing job, a production of Arnolt Bronnen's Parricide (1922), when he refused to continue working with the director.[2]

He appeared in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Dreyfus (1930), as well as starring in Berlin Alexanderplatz (1931).

George was an active member of the Communist party during the Weimar Republic.[3] He worked with theatre director Erwin Piscator and playwright Bertolt Brecht, both of whom identified with the political left.

George in front of his house at Bismarckstraße 34 in Wannsee-Berlin with his mastiff Fellow in 1930
George in front of his house at Bismarckstraße 34 in Wannsee-Berlin with his mastiff Fellow in 1930

On 12 October 1932, he changed his legal name to his stage name George.[1]

Nazi era

After the Nazi takeover, George was classified as a "non-desirable" actor at first because of his earlier political affiliations and was thus barred from working in cinematic productions. However, he was eventually able to reach an accommodation with the Nazi regime. In 1937, George was designated as a Staatsschauspieler (i.e. an actor of national importance) and in 1938 was appointed director of the Schiller Theater in Berlin. George actively collaborated with the Nazis and agreed to star in Nazi propaganda films such as Hitler Youth Quex (1933), Jud Süß (1940), and Kolberg (1945) as well as appearing in numerous newsreels.

George had a stocky build and a Berlin accent which made him readily recognizable to German audiences. George's prestige as a leading actor of the day made him an "extraordinarily valuable catch for the Nazis."[4] Cooke and Silberman describe him as "the actor most closely tied with fascist fantasies of the autocratic and the populist leader".[5]


Although Heinrich George had been a member of the Communist Party of Germany before the Nazi takeover, he was nonetheless interned as a Nazi collaborator by Soviet occupying forces at the NKVD special camp Nr. 7 in Sachsenhausen where he died in 1946.[6]

The cause of his death was starvation, even though official reports stated that he died "after an appendix operation".[7]

Personal life

Heinrich George married the German actress Berta Drews. They had two sons: Jan George and actor Götz George.



  1. ^ a b "Transscription of birth certificate of Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulz, born 1893-10-09" (in German). Stettin: Civil registry, Stettin (Szczecin), Poland. 5 November 1934 [1893-10-14]. 3600. Retrieved 27 June 2016. (NB. This document documents Georg August Friedrich Hermann Schulzs birthday on 1893-10-09, as well as the change of his legal name from Schulz to George on 12 October 1932.)
  2. ^ Thomson, Peter; Sacks, Glendyr (1994), The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (2 ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 22–39, ISBN 978-0-521-41446-3
  3. ^ Škvorecký, Josef. "JUD SÜSS". Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  4. ^ Fritzsche, Peter (2008). Life and death in the Third Reich. Harvard University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-674-02793-0. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  5. ^ Cooke, Paul; Silberman, Marc (30 July 2010). Screening war: perspectives on German suffering. Camden House. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-57113-437-0. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  6. ^ Fuchs, Anne; Cosgrove, Mary; Grote, Georg (2006). German memory contests: the quest for identity in literature, film, and discourse since 1990. Camden House. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-57113-324-3. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  7. ^ Neimi, Robert (2006), History in the Media: Film and Television, ABC-CLIO, p. 6, ISBN 978-1-57607-952-2

Further reading

  • Berta Drews: Wohin des Wegs: Erinnerungen. Langen Müller, 1986. ISBN 978-3-7844-2098-1
  • Peter Laregh: Heinrich George. Komödiant seiner Zeit. Langen Müller (Herbig), München 1992, ISBN 978-3-7844-2363-0
  • Werner Maser: Heinrich George. Mensch, aus Erde gemacht. Quintessenz Verlag, 1998, ISBN 978-3-86124-351-9
  • Kurt Fricke: Spiel am Abgrund. Heinrich George – eine politische Biographie. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 2000, ISBN 978-3-89812-021-0
  • Kurt Fricke: Heinrich George, in: Bernd Heidenreich/Sönke Neitzel (eds.): Medien im Nationalsozialismus. Schöningh Paderborn, 2010, S. 83–107, ISBN 978-3-506-76710-3
  • Michael Klonovsky, Jan von Flocken: Stalins Lager in Deutschland 1945–1950. Dokumentation – Zeugenberichte. Ullstein-Verlag, 1991, ISBN 978-3-550-07488-2
  • Horst Mesalla: Heinrich George. Rekonstruktion der schauspielerischen Leistung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der zeitgenössischen Publizistik. Dissertation, Freie Universität Berlin, 1969.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 June 2023, at 17:26
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