1897 - 1944
The actor Kurt Gerron was born as Kurt Gerson in Berlin.
Originally he planned to become a doctor although he already took part in a movie for the first time in 1914 called "Fräulein Puppe - Meine Frau" (14). But medicine remained his professional target. But before he could start his education he had to serve in World War I where he was wounded seriously. During his regeneration he studied medicine and afterwards he had to return to World War I, this time as a doctor at a military hospital.
Because of his injuries he was not able to continue his work as a doctor after the war. Therefore he concentrated to his passion, the acting.
From 1920 he appeared regularly at the Reinhardt-Bühnen in Berlin and beside it he was also very successful as a cabaret artist.
His real film career began parallel to his stage career in 1920 and at the beginning of his film career he took part in movies like "Spuk auf Schloss Kitay" (20), "Die Apotheke des Teufels" (21), "Wege des Lasters" (22) and "Die Schmiede" (24).
The year 1925 marked the breakthrough in the film business and the physical impressive Kurt Gerron acted in a number of popular movies.
To his well-known productions of those years belong "Varieté" (25), "Vorderhaus und Hinterhaus" (25), "Im weissen Rössl" (26), "Eine tolle Nacht" (27), "Einbruch" (27), "Feme" (27), "Die weisse Spinne" (27), "Dr. Bessels Verwandlung" (27), "Vom Täter fehlt jede Spur" (28), "Unmoral" (28), "Nachtgestalten" (29), "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" (29) and "Die weisse Hölle vom Piz Palü" (29).
Despite his intensive film activity he continued his stage career as well. He had his biggest success with the play "Die Dreigroschenoper" in 1928.
In the 30s the sound film heralded a new era but Kurt Gerron managed the transition without difficulty.
Immediately one of his first sound movies was the very successful movie "Der blaue Engel" (30) with a young Marlene Dietrich who founded her international renown with this film. It followed other well-known productions with "Die Drei von der Tankstelle" (30) "Einbrecher" (30), "Die Marquise von Pompadour" (31), "Bomben auf Monte Carlo" (31) and "Vater geht auf Reisen" (32).
Kurt Gerron already began to realise first movies as a director from 1921. His first movie as a director was "Im Strudel der Grossstadt" (21), it followed the silent movie "Der Liebe Lust und Leid" (26).
In the 30s followed other movies under his direction with "Der Stumme von Portici" (31), "Ein toller Einfall" (32) and "Der weisse Dämon" (32).
The much-quoted year 1933 was also for the Jew Kurt Gerron a far-reaching year. He was no longer able to work in Germany and he fled to Paris with his family. It followed an odyssey which led him to Austria, Italy and the Netherlands.
There he was able to continue his theater career and he even realised few movies as a director and took part in few others as an actor. When the German Army invaded the Netherlands he continued his activity but finally he was arrested and incarcerated in Westerbork. In February 1944 he was deported to the KZ Theresienstadt. There he founded a ghetto cabaret with other inmates and distracted the inmates from the bleak workaday life.
Finally they forced him into realising a glorifying movie because of his former cinematical experiences. He shot "Theresienstadt" (44) which had to demonstrate how "well" the Jews were able to live in this city of the Jews. The movie was shown afterwards to delegates of the Red Cross. When they had seen hit they finished their "survey" without an on-site-inspection.
But his collaboration did not protect Kurt Gerron from his destiny most of the inmates shared in Theresienstadt. After the end of the movie he was deported to Auschwitz and gassed in the same year.
movies with Kurt Gerron: