Artur Brauner

Artur Brauner
The film producer Artur "Atze" Brauner. The photo was taken on 25th January 2002 in Leipzig when he was there for the mdr talkshow "Riverboat".

Info

Artur Brauner was born in 1918 in Łódź. His parents were Moshe und Brana Brauner. His father was a successful timber merchant. Artur’s original name was Abraham, but as early as his time in primary school he wanted to be known as Artur. He was a bright lad who was keen on learning, played the violin, and composed songs. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War he began studying at the Technical College in Łódź but his studies were brought to an early end when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. 

Location in the atlas of remembrance places

When the successful Polish/Jewish film producer Artur Brauner travelled to Łódź in 1992 to be made an honorary citizen of the city, he was visiting a place where his love of movies began. Łódź was not only his home town but the place were the young Artur indulged in his passion for the movies (often without the knowledge of his parents) in the cinemas, Luna, Casino, Splendid and Bajka. He claims to have visited the cinema eight times a week, once a day and always twice on Sundays. Decades later Artur Brauner could look back on over 250 films which he had produced himself, not in Łódź however, but Berlin.

Artur Brauner was born in 1918 in Łódź. His parents were Moshe und Brana Brauner. His father was a successful timber merchant. Artur’s original name was Abraham, but as early as his time in primary school he wanted to be known as Artur. He was a bright lad who was keen on learning, played the violin, and composed songs. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War he began studying at the Technical College in Łódź but his studies were brought to an early end when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939. It was not long before the multicultural city of Łódź was occupied, and the Jews where herded into the “Ghetto Lietzmannstadt”. Artur Brauner witnessed all the misery and death. But before the ghetto was finally sealed off on 30th April 1940 Artur Brauner fled the town with his family to seek refuge in the Soviet zone of occupied Poland. There in out-of-the-way, forgotten villages and forests he succeeded in surviving undiscovered until the end of the war. Nonetheless forty-nine of his relatives were murdered in the Holocaust.

After the war he first planned to emigrate to North America with his brother. On their way they stopped over in Berlin and here he remained for almost 70 years. In 1946 Artur Brauner set up a film production company entitled the Central Cinema Company (CCC-Film). The necessary financial support came from his family, above all from his brother-in-law Joseph Einstein.

Three years later in 1949 he bought up the site of an old poison factory in the Berlin suburb of Haselhorst, where he built the CCC Film Studios. In the course of time Artur Brauner produced over 700 films here, almost 270 of which were produced by himself. Although the majority of these films were pure entertainment Artur Brauner dedicated himself to themes that had shaped his life: over twenty of these films dealt with the persecution of the Jews and Nazi Germany. The most important of these include “Morituri”, “Bittere Ernte”, Hitlerjunge Salomon”, “Eine Liebe in Deutschland”, “Babij Jar”, not forgetting “Die weiße Rose“, “Mensch und Bestie” and “Der 20. Juli“. Artur Brauner’s films related to the Holocaust have been shown in Yad Vashem since 2009: since 2010 they have also been accessible in their own special mediatheque.

Artur Brauner was a highly successful film producer above all in the area of entertainment. His Edgar Wallace productions, his Karl May films and the Dr. Mabuse series are unforgettable, as are the box office hits “The Good Soldier Schwejk”, “Die Nibelungen”, “Kampf um Rom” and “Teufel in Seide”. Artur Brauner’s films always kept up with fashions and disdained no trends. His success proved him right and gave him the money to work with great stars like Romy Schneider, Sonja Ziemann, Heinz Rühmann, Maria Schell, Cornelia Froboess, Peter Alexander, Freddy Quinn, Caterina Valente, Klaus Kinski, Curd Jürgens and Gert Fröbe.

Artur Brauner constantly aimed to maintain his contact with Poland. He was also the first Western producer to produce a film in Poland. This was in 1958 when he made the film “The Eighth Day of the Week” (Ósmy dzień tygdonia), freely adapted from a short story by Marek Hłasko. The director was Aleksander Ford, and the main role was played by Brauner’s discovery Sonja Ziemann. As a result of their collaboration Brauner made three further films with Ford. After the events of “March 1968” and the anti-Semitic campaigns in Socialist Poland, Artur Brauner broke off all contacts with his native country. It was only in the 1980s that he returned to the “Polish film landscape”, where he produced films by the likes of Andrzej Wajda, Agnieszka Holland and Jerzy Hoffman.

Adam Gusowski

 

Additional information:

Artur Brauner set up the “Artur Brauner Foundation” in 1991. He said that the aim of the foundation was to promote understanding between Jews and Christians as well as tolerance between people of different religions, cultural circles, skin colour and social and ethnic origins. The aim of the foundation can be especially seen in the annual award of the "Artur Brauner Film Prize" to German-language film producers whose films disseminate tolerance and humanist values to their audiences.

In 1976 the Herbig Verlag published Artur Brauner’s autobiography, “Mich gibt's nur einmal. Rückblende eines Lebens”. The book revealed that “Atze” Brauner (that is the name of the author on the cover) to be a God-given storyteller. Artur Brauner’s fascinating and sometimes humorous memories give readers an insight into the turbulent life of a successful film producer. Sadly, not more. The book concentrates on the 1950s and less on the person of Artur Brauner: it is centred on screenwriters, directors and film stars who lived and worked with him.

Awards:
 

1961: Bambi for “Die Ratten”

1963: Zürich Film Prize for “Die Ehe des Herrn Mississippi”

1965: Goldene Leinwand for “Old Shatterhand”

1965: Goldene Leinwand for “Der Schut”

1967: Goldene Leinwand for “Die Nibelungen”

1970: Golden Bear for “The Garden of the Finzi Continis”

1972: Oscar (best foreign language film) for “The Garden of the Finzi Continis”

1983: IFF Gijon: 3rd Prize for “Nach Mitternacht”

1983: The German Film Prize: Filmband in Silver for “Die weiße Rose”

1985: Oscar nomination for “Bittere Ernte”

1990: The German Film Prize: Filmband in Gold for many years of excellence and work in German films

1992: Golden Globe for “Hitlerjunge Salomon”

1992: Honorary citizen of Łódź

1993: The Federal Cross of Merit, 1st Class

1996: DIVA-Award (together with Franz Seitz)

1996: Scharlih Prize (Karl May Prize)

2000: Golden Camera

2002: German Critics Prize (an honorary prize)

2003: Berlinale Camera

2008: Askania Award / Berlinale watch for his life work

2010: A star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin

Filmography:
 

1948: Morituri

1949: Mädchen hinter Gittern

1950: Maharadscha wider Willen

1951: Sündige Grenze

1952: Der keusche Lebemann

1953: Hollandmädel

1954: Große Star-Parade

1955: Liebe, Tanz und 1000 Schlager

1956: Du bist Musik

1957: Die Unschuld vom Lande

1958: Wehe, wenn sie losgelassen

1958: Mädchen in Uniform

1959: Der Tiger von Eschnapur – Director: Fritz Lang

1959: Das indische Grabmal – Director: Fritz Lang

1960: Der brave Soldat Schwejk – Director: Axel von Ambesser

1960: Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse – Director: Fritz Lang

1961: Willy auf Sondermission

1961: Via Mala

1961: Im Stahlnetz des Dr. Mabuse – Director: Harald Reinl

1962: Die unsichtbaren Krallen des Dr. Mabuse – Director: Harald Reinl

1962: Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Koffer

1962: Im Schatten einer Nacht

1962: Der Tod fährt mit and

1962: Das Ungeheuer von London-City

1962: Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse

1962: Der Fluch der gelben Schlange

1962: Sherlock Holmes und das Halsband des Todes

1963: Old Shatterhand

1963: Der Würger von Schloss Blackmoor

1963: Scotland Yard jagt Dr. Mabuse

1963: Der Henker von London

1964: Das Phantom von Soho

1964: Das 7. Opfer

1964: Die Todesstrahlen des Dr. Mabuse

1964: Der Schut

1964: Fanny Hill – Memoiren eines Freudenmädchens – Director: Russ Meyer

1965: Der Schatz der Azteken

1965: Durchs wilde Kurdistan

1965: Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes

1965: Im Reiche des silbernen Löwen

1966: Die Nibelungen 1 – Siegfried – Director: Harald Reinl

1967: Die Nibelungen 2 – Kriemhilds Rache – Director: Harald Reinl

1967: Geheimnisse in goldenen Nylons

1968: Winnetou und Shatterhand im Tal der Toten

1968: Kampf um Rom 1 – Director: Robert Siodmak

1968: Kampf um Rom 2

1969: Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Handschuhe

1970: Black Beauty

1970: Vampyros Lesbos – Erbin des Dracula – Director: Jess Franco

1970: Sie tötete in Ekstase – Director: Jess Franco

1971: Der Todesrächer von Soho – Director: Jess Franco

1971: Der Teufel kam aus Akasava – Director: Jess Franco

1971: X 312 – Flug zur Hölle – Director: Jess Franco

1972: Das Geheimnis des gelben Grabes

1972: Dr. M schlägt zu – Director: Jess Franco

1974: Ein Unbekannter rechnet ab

1983: S. A. S. Malko – Im Auftrag des Pentagon

1983: Eine Liebe in Deutschland

1983: Blutiger Schnee

1987: Hanussen – Director: István Szabó

1990: Hitlerjunge Salomon – Director: Agnieszka Holland

1996: Von Hölle zu Hölle

2002: Babij Jar – das vergessene Verbrechen

2002: Der Teufel, der sich Gott nannte

2006: Der letzte Zug – Director: Joseph Vilsmaier

2010: Wunderkinder

2013: Auf das Leben!

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Artur Brauner at the 6th International Film Festival in Berlin in July 1956
Artur Brauner, 1956
Artur Brauner at the 6th International Film Festival in Berlin in July 1956. Next to him is the head of the Berlinale, Alfred Bauer.
Artur Brauner and his wife Maria
Artur Brauner and his wife Maria
Artur Brauner and his wife Maria at the premiere of the play "The Blue Room".
Mit Jerzy Margański im Hotel de Rome in Berlin, Januar  2016.
Mit Jerzy Margański
Mit Jerzy Margański im Hotel de Rome in Berlin, Januar 2016.
Artur Brauner - Ein Jahrhundertleben zwischen Polen und Deutschland
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Artur Brauner - Hörspiel von "COSMO Radio po polsku"
In Zusammenarbeit mit "COSMO Radio po polsku" präsentieren wir Hörspiele zu ausgewählten Themen unseres Portals.