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.