Artur Brauner

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Artur Brauner at the Berlinale 2018

Artur "Atze" Brauner (born on August 1, 1918 in Łódź , reign of Poland , as Abraham Brauner ; died on July 7, 2019 in Berlin ) was a German film producer of Polish origin. Brauner and his family were persecuted by the National Socialists during the occupation of Poland . He managed to escape to the Soviet Union and hide. After the war he came to West Berlin and became a successful film producer and entrepreneur there.


Early life and escape from National Socialism

Artur Brauner was the son of the Jewish timber wholesaler Moshe Brauner and his wife Brana. His father was from Katowice , his mother from Odessa . He had four siblings. His brother Wolf Brauner, born in 1923, was also a film producer. He graduated from high school in Łódź. He was already interested in film in his youth. In 1936 he traveled to the Middle East with young Zionists , where the group made two documentaries. He then studied at the Łódź Polytechnic until the beginning of the Second World War .

Artur Brauner, 1971

In 1940 he fled with his parents and siblings before the ghettoization of the Łódź Jews to the Soviet Union , where he survived the German occupation after 1941 without being recognized. According to Brauner, 49 of his Jewish relatives fell victim to the Holocaust . His parents and three of his siblings immigrated to Israel .

After temporary plans to emigrate to the USA , Brauner came to West Germany and West Berlin . He became the father of two sons and two daughters and lived in Berlin-Grunewald with his wife Theresa Albert, called Maria, a former Polish slave laborer whom he married on February 28, 1947 . One of his children is the journalist and film producer Alice Brauner . His niece is the actress and singer Sharon Brauner .

Career as a film producer

After arriving in Germany, Brauner applied for a film production license and on September 16, 1946, with the support of relatives and friends, founded the Central Cinema Compagnie (CCC-Film) in Berlin and became a film producer. In 1949 he built his studios on the site of the former Spandau powder factory in Berlin-Haselhorst , where since the first filming, in February 1950 for Maharajah unwillingly , over 500 films, half of them his own productions, have been made. Many of Brauner's films were made during this time in collaboration with the film distributor and producer Ilse Kubaschewski .

Brauner's company and temporary private residence of CCC-Film in Pücklerstrasse .

During the Second World War he had made an oath to himself: “If I survive, I have to bring the victims to life.” From the beginning, Brauner was committed to the democratic construction of Germany and tried to remember the persecution of the Jews. In 1961 he offered a reward of 10,000  marks for "confidential information" which "led to the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele being arrested and brought to a proper court."

In his films, too, he was concerned with coming to terms with the German Nazi past. His first film was called Tell the Truth . The autobiographical film Morituri (1948), which he produced with the support of the Soviet military authorities, was a failure. In Germany the time was not yet ripe so shortly after the experience of the war, only a few were interested in films about the lives of persecuted Jews. The windows of cinemas showing this film were smashed. Ultimately it was decided to take the film out of the program. In the following years, Brauner therefore focused more on entertainment films that met the public's taste. His competitor and former employee Horst Wendlandt secured the filming rights to the Karl May Western fabrics and the rights to the Edgar Wallace books before Brauner, who subsequently acquired the rights to works by Bryan Edgar Wallace , the son of Edgar Wallace , and the Karl May books for the oriental materials.

According to his own statement, Brauner did not interfere in the work of a director . He only interfered if the daily copies showed defects. However, Brauner did not hesitate to change the director if necessary in the middle of the shooting, as happened in the Karl May film Durchs Wilde Kurdistan (1965) with Franz Josef Gottlieb , who had completely overshooted the shooting schedule in Spain. Brauner's contract negotiations with actors and other filmmakers were notorious. For example, he hired the American actor Lex Barker for a Karl May film (again: Durchs Wilde Kurdistan ) and then shot two films with him (also the sequel Im Reiche des Silber Löwen ), but Barker only wanted it for them pay for a movie. Barker then demanded an additional payment of 100,000 marks in a court case  and won the case.

Artur Brauner (left) with the then Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt , 1971

Well-known actors like Romy Schneider in girls in uniform , or OW Fischer in people in the hotel , as well as Maria Schell , Sonja Ziemann and Gert Fröbe shot in the CCC studios . The film, shot in 1955 based on Gerhart Hauptmann 's play of the same name, Die Ratten , received the "Bambi" award in 1961.

The death of the cinema in Germany in the mid-1960s hit the CCC studios hard. The topics dealt with, which up to now corresponded to the taste of the public, were less and less in demand. With the problems of “ Grandpa's Kino ” and the emergence of the new German film , Brauner's film production got into considerable difficulties in the 1970s. A new strategy to win the audience back was needed. Brauner overcame these difficulties. At the same time, Brauner's concentration on the production of films that dealt with the Nazi regime became evident during this period. He repeatedly focused on people who, as Jews, were exposed to the persecution of the National Socialists: Charlotte , The White Rose , Witness from Hell , A Love in Germany , Hitler Youth Salomon . The latter film was awarded a Golden Globe in the USA .

Artur Brauner pursued a special business strategy. He used the money from the production and sale of entertainment films to even be able to produce films that dealt with the subject of the conflict with the Nazi regime. These topics were particularly close to his heart, also because of his personal experiences from those years. But it was rather difficult to make money from it. The film Witness from Hell, made in 1965, plays a key role here . Directed by Žika Mitrović . The object of the film is to show the effects of the Holocaust on the surviving victims.

Brauner's friends and visitors to his house included Kirk Douglas , Romy Schneider and Helmut Kohl . For his friend Helmut Kohl, Artur Brauner donated DM 50,000 in 1999 in the context of the CDU donation affair.

In 1999 Brauner opened the 4-star Hollywood Media Hotel Berlin on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin . He also owned the Holiday Inn Berlin Mitte am Gesundbrunnen . In 2004, Brauner's real estate company ran into financial difficulties because the crisis-ridden Cinemaxx Group delayed rent payments. According to various reports from 2018, the tax authorities of Brauner demanded debt payments of around 73 million euros.

Brauner produced around 500 films, many of them for television companies. He received two Golden Globes, an Oscar as a co-producer and in 2003 at the Berlin Film Festival Die Berlinale Kamera for his life's work.

Private life and public engagement

The Artur Brauner Foundation was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting understanding between Jews and Christians as well as tolerance between people of different religions, cultures, skin colors and social or ethnic origins. It supports film producers who dedicate themselves to these topics by awarding the Artur Brauner Film Prize of 25,000 euros annually.

In August 2007, Artur Brauner was appointed a full honorary member of the European Cultural Workshop (EKW) Berlin-Vienna in Berlin on the proposal of Friedrich Wilhelm Prince of Prussia .

Maria and Artur Brauner, 2010

Yad Vashem has been honoring Brauner since 2009 by constantly showing 21 of his productions related to the Shoah at the memorial, for example Charlotte , The White Rose , The 20th of July or Mensch und Bestie . The honored one described these screenings as "the coronation of my filmmaking". In March 2010, a separate media library was set up there for his films.

His wife Maria, with whom he had been married since 1946, died in August 2017 at the age of 92. She was known for her social commitment in Berlin. For over 60 years she took care of the Jewish community in Berlin , especially the Jewish seniors; she was a patient advocate at the Jewish Hospital .

Artur Brauner died after a faint attack in July 2019 at the age of 100 in Berlin. He found his final resting place in the Jewish cemetery in Heerstrasse .



Brauner visiting his star on the Boulevard der Stars , 2011
Star for Artur Brauner on the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin-Tiergarten

Obituaries (a selection)


Film documentaries

  • A life for the dream factory. Portrait of the film producer Artur Brauner. Documentation by Michael Strauven , Germany 1998, NDR , 90 min.
  • There's only one guy - Artur Brauner. Documentary by Wolfgang Dresler, Germany 1994, Deutsche Welle , 35 minutes.
  • Rosa's world. Short film portrait of the Brauner family by Rosa von Praunheim in the film, which consists of 70 short films. 2012.

Web links

Commons : Artur Brauner  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolf Brauner at IMBD
  2. Love without a filter - that means marriage!, accessed on October 23, 2012.
  3. Sharon Brauner's cuddly realm. In: Berliner Morgenpost .
  4. Michael Kamp : Glanz und Gloria. The life of the grande dame of the German film Ilse Kubaschewski. 1907 - 2001. August Dreesbach Verlag, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-94433-458-5 , pp. 131ff, 141, 147, 150, 173, 182f, 195, 216f, 219ff, 224, 282.
  5. Harry Balkow-Gölitzer: A classy Address: Prominent in Berlin-Dahlem and its history . be.bra verlag, 2014, ISBN 978-3-8393-4115-5 ( [accessed on November 12, 2019]).
  6. David SANSON: Berlin: Histoire, promenades, anthology dictionnaire . Groupe Robert Laffont, 2014, ISBN 978-2-221-15673-5 ( [accessed November 12, 2019]).
  7. I love you. Retrieved November 12, 2019 .
  8. FILM / BRAUNER: This is life . In: Spiegel Online . tape 47 , November 20, 1957 ( [accessed November 12, 2019]).
  9. ^ Artur (Atze) Brauner . In: Der Spiegel . No. 12 , 1961 ( online ).
  10. A life for the dream factory. Documentary for the 80th birthday. D 1998, directed by Michael Strauven (broadcast again with the same content on the occasion of the NDR's 90th birthday)
  11. CCC film Berlin Alice Brauner - the Crown Princess , by Gunda Bartels, Der Tagesspiegel September 12, 2016
  12. The Rescue of the Grand Seigneur , Der Spiegel , February 26, 2007
  13. One against many: this is how Artur Brauner sees himself since he escaped the Nazis. , by Uta Schrenk Jüdische Allgemeine May 3, 2007
  14. ^ Obituary for Artur Brauner Berlin film legend died at the age of 100 , by Bert Rebhandl Berliner Zeitung July 7, 2019
  15. Artur Brauner in trouble. In: Berliner Zeitung , November 2, 2005.
  16. The Rescue of the Grand Seigneur , Der Spiegel , February 26, 2007
  17. Artur Brauner: His last chapter. In: Der Tagesspiegel , April 20, 2008.
  18. Greiser filmmaker fights against the tax office - Treasury demanded 73 million euros from Atze Brauner. April 4, 2018, accessed July 7, 2019 .
  19. ^ Artur Brauner Film Prize
  20. Niklas Cordes: Maria Brauner died at the age of 90. August 16, 2017, accessed on July 7, 2019 (German).
  21. Maria Brauner , obituary, Der Tagesspiegel from August 20, 2017, accessed on July 8, 2019.
  22. ^ Artur Brauner in mourning: wife Maria has died. On from August 17, 2017.
  23. Maria Brauner died , , August 18, 2017, accessed on July 8, 2019.
  24. Film legend has passed away. Image, July 7, 2019, accessed July 7, 2019.
  25. The grave of Artur Brauner. In: Klaus Nerger, accessed on July 24, 2019 .
  26. Press release of the Munich Film Festival
  27. ^ "Against forgetting" . Artur Brauner receives the Marl Media Prize for Human Rights for his life's work. In: Jüdische Allgemeine , October 16, 2017, accessed October 16, 2017.
  28. Artur Brauner receives Carl Laemmle honorary award for his life's work - Carl Laemmle producer award. Accessed April 10, 2019 (German).