You gave your number and were told to go to the cattle trucks. There is a legend
that Gerron knelt before the officer, begging for his life and crying out 'But I made
the film for you!' The officer laughed and kicked him and sent him on.
as interviewed in the movie 'Kurt Gerron's karussell'.
1928, Berlin, the maiden performance of 'Die Dreigroschenoper' (The Threepenny Opera
After the ouverture
, Gerron opens with the song 'Die Morität'.
Standing ovation, for a song that will go in history as 'The Balad of Mack The Knife
Gerron's name will be completely forgotten after the war.
Gerron, born in 1897 to Jewish parents studied medicine
. In 1920 he decides to be a
stage actor and in the twenties, Gerron becomes a frequently asked actor who mainly plays
typical 'bad guys' or 'jealous husbands' roles, but after his performance in 'The Threepenny Opera
he is the national star (playing the role in over 300 performances).
In 1930 he becomes director of a Berlin theatre, where he directs the popular show"Der Rote Faden"
with Gustav Gründgens, Grete Weiser and Marlene Dietrich
. Shortly after that,
he plays the impressario of Lola (Marlene Dietrich
) in 'The Blue Angel
Around that same time he is approached by the Berlin UFA studios to become a movie director. From his
hand several movies appear, mainly "optimistic comedies".
On April 1933 in the midst of making the movie 'Meine Frau, die Hochstaplerin' he's ordered to
leave the studio. He decides to leave the country and (together with parents and wife Olga) they
settle in Paris. Known for his movies in Germany he has not a hard time to find a job as a director.
In 1935 he decides to settle in The Netherlands
where he is allowed to direct the movie 'Merijntje
', but his German-Jewish background gives him troubles after 1937. Gerron falls
back to his biggest love, cabaret
until 1942, when he's arrested by the Nazis.
He's sent to Westerbork
and ends up in the concentration camp Theresienstadt
. Here again
he becomes a star again, when he starts 'Karussell', a cabaret show for his fellow-prisoners.
In the Summer of 1944, the Nazis ask Gerron to make a movie about Theresienstadt in trade for his life.
The movie, financed by 'confiscated
Jewish properies' and pure propaganda, is finished in 1945. Gerron
doesn't survive the movie though: after 11 days of filming he's replaced and deported to Auschwitz
. He and his
wife are killed in October 1944.
'Kurt Gerron's Karussell' - A documentary
Director: Ilona Ziok (Germany/Netherlands/Czech Republic) 1999
Featuring: Ute Lemper, Bente Kahan, Ursula Ofner, Ben Becker, Max Raabe