Erwin Geschonneck

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Erwin Geschonneck
BirthplaceBartenstein, Germany

Geschonneck, Erwin


Born Dec. 27, 1906, in Berlin. German actor. Member of the Communist Party of Germany since 1929.

In the early 1930’s, Geschonneck was an actor in the Political Theater under the direction of E. Piscator. He played his first cinema role in the antifascist film Kuhle Wampe in 1932. In 1933 he emigrated to the Soviet Union and later to Czechoslovakia. He was imprisoned in a fascist concentration camp from 1939 to 1945. He worked as an actor, from 1945 to 1949 in the Kammerspiele Theater in Hamburg, and from 1949 in the Berliner Ensemble. His roles include Matti, the Regimental Priest, and the Butcher in Herr Puntila and His Man Matti, Mother Courage and Her Children, and The Mother, all by Brecht. Geschonneck is one of the leading actors in the German Democratic Republic. His best film roles include Hans Karjanke in Captain From Cologne (1956), Commissar Witting of the International Brigade in Five Cartridge Cases (1959), Colonel Ebershagen in Conscience Aroused, parts 1-5 (1961, television film), Walter Kramer in Naked Among the Wolves (1963), Kalle Blücher in Carbide and Sorrel (1964), and the Old Miner in The Banner of Krivoi Rog (1967). The television film The Actor Erwin Geschonneck was made in 1964. He received the National Prize of the GDR in 1954, 1960, and 1961.


Sul’kin, M. Ervin Geshonnek. Moscow, 1967.
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He was closely involved with the making of the film, which he considered a success, both artistically and politically, but Soviet censors had issues with the drawing of the character of Teetjen which they felt elicited too much empathy from the audience (due no doubt to a moving performance by Erwin Geschonneck, a renowned stage actor and a member of Brecht's Berliner Ensemble).