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Max Ehrlich

Picture Max Ehrlich

Foto: Alexander Binder (1888-1929)

1892 - 1944

The actor Max Ehrlich belonged to the celebrated cabaret artists of the 30's whose tragic end was sealed by the National Socialists. A destiny he had to share with the actors Otto Wallburg and Kurt Gerron among others.

He began his career at different stages where his comical talent thrilled the audience to enthusiasm.
It didn't take a long time when he appeared in a movie for the first time with the title "In der Heimat, da gibt's ein Wiedersehn!" (26).

He became a very popular cabaret artist in the next years. He appeared by Max Reinhardt, took part in revues and was very successful.
It followed other movies like "Herkules Maier" (27), "Die tolle Komtess" (28), "Die blaue Maus" (28), "Der schwarze Domino" (29) and "Ihr dunkler Punkt" (29).

He extended his popularity at the beginning of the 30's with the talkies and impersonated support roles in well-known productions like "Der Greifer" (30), "Hokuspokus" (30), "Der Korvettenkapitän" (30), "Der Tanzhusar" (31) and "Der Hochtourist" (31).

But the humorous actor was soon confronted with the politcal brutality, which ended his career abruptly.
As a Jew he wasn't able to work under the National Socialists and he appeared in Vienna. But his performances were also disturbed there and he went to Switzerland and Holland with his theater group.

But the homesickness was stronger than the fear and Max Ehrlich returned to Germany in 1935, at a time when Jewish artist were able to work under resticted conditions. In 1937 he left Germany and with the help of Ernst Lubitsch he went to the USA. Unfortunately he was not able to get work there, so he made the fatal decision to return to Europe. In 1939 he went to Holland to Willy Rosen and his Theater der Prominente and stood there even when the German occupied the country.

He was finally arrested in 1943 and was brought to the concentration camp Westerbork. There he became - similar to Kurt Gerron in Theresienstadt - the director of a theater group called "Camp Westerbork Theater Group" - existing from prisoners. The group could realise six main theater production in this camp and the group comprised till 50 members, often well-known artists from Berlin, Vienna and Holland.

Although the program involved often songs and sketches which nearly let forget the hard conditions in the camp they were always in danger to be deported.

The deportation from Westerbork reached dramatic dimensions in 1944, finally Max Ehrlich was also deported to Auschwitz with the last transport. There he was gassed on October 1, 1944.

Max Ehrlich took part in over 40 movies and directed ten of it in his career. He published several records and wrote the book "From Adalbert to Zilzer", in which he wrote humorous stories and anecdotes about many of his colleagues.

Other movies with Max Ehrlich: 
Familientag im Hause Prellstein (27) Fräulein Chauffeur (28) Liebfraumilch (28) Wien, du Stadt der Lieder (30) Die vom Rummelplatz (30) Die Marquise von Pompadour (30) Leutnant warst Du einst bei deinen Husaren (30) In Wien hab' ich einmal ein Mädel geliebt (31) Die schwebende Jungfrau (31) Um eine Nasenlänge (31) Kabarett-Programm Nr. 2. (31) Kabarett-Programm Nr. 6 (31)

Visit the Homepage of the Max Ehrlich Association.