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Heinrich George Edit Profile

actor

One of the great film stars of the Weimar period who became a strong supporter of the Nazis.

Background

Heinrich George was born on 9 October 1893 in Szczecin. He was a son of a civil servant.

Career

He started his career as an actor at Kolberg before World War I and made his film début in Robert Wiene’s Der Andere (1913), but only took off as a star of stage and screen after 1925. In 1926 he appeared in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, in 1929 in Richard Oswald's Dreyfus and in 1931 he was the male star of Berlin Alexanderplatz (1931).

Beginning with his role in Hitlerjunge Quex ( 1933) and in productions like Ucicky's Das Mädchen Johanna (1935), Carl Froelich’s Heimat (1938) and Herbert Maisch's Friedrich Schiller (1940), George appeared in and produced many films, achieving an outstanding international success.

Even more important was his theatrical career under the Third Reich. Named Director of the Schiller Theatre in Berlin, he excelled in productions of the classics such as Goethe's Goetz von Berlichingen, or the plays of Schiller, Kleist. Shakespeare and Calderon. He also starred in Hans Steinhoff's adaptation of Ibsen's drama. An Enemy of the People (Ein Volksfeind) brought to the screen in 1937. George was not only willing to accept honours and titles from the régime but also to propagandize on its behalf, even appearing in such a virulently anti-semitic film as Veit Harlan’s Jud Süss (1940) in the role of the Duke of Württemberg. George’s last film. Kolberg (1944), also with Harlan, glorified the city where he had once made his acting début, and it was here that he was arrested by Russian troops.

He died in Soviet custody in the camp of Sachsenhausen near Berlin on 26 September 1946.

Works

  • Film

    • Jud Süss Jud Süss

      (Virulently anti-semitic film)

      1940
    • Der Andere

      1913
    • Metropolis

      1929
    • Dreyfus

      1931
    • Berlin Alexanderplatz

      1931
    • Hitlerjunge Quex

      1933
    • Das Mädchen Johanna

      1935
    • Heimat

      1938
    • Friedrich Schiller

      1940
    • Kolberg

      1944

Politics

George was known to have had communist leanings, which probably explains why after his ‘conversion' of 1933 he threw himself with such fervour and enthusiasm into ofhcial Nazi art.