Eugen Schuhmacher

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Eugen Josef Robert Schuhmacher (born August 4, 1906 in Stuttgart , † January 8, 1973 in Munich ) was a zoologist and animal film pioneer . Along with Heinz Sielmann and Bernhard Grzimek, he is one of the most outstanding animal filmmakers in Germany. As early as 1952, he drew the cinema audience's attention to the destruction of the animal world by humans with his film Nature in Danger . His film The Last Paradises is one of the masterpieces of nature and animal films.


Schuhmacher's cinematic work began with short and educational films, which he has made in South America since the 1930s , but also about local wildlife. In the following 40 years he created very successful cinema documentaries, which received awards at the International Film Festival in Cannes and Venice , among others . Schuhmacher's documentary Im Schatten des Karakoram about the culture and animal world of the Himalayas was shown in competition at the 1955 Berlinale and received the Federal Film Prize (film tape in gold) in the category of outstanding cultural film.

From 1958 37 episodes of the TV series “On the trail of rare animals” were filmed, which ran very successfully from 1964 to 1972 on the 3rd TV programs of ARD.

On January 8, 1973 Eugen Schuhmacher died of cancer at the age of 66. He was buried in the Grünwald forest cemetery.

He did not live to see the success of his last film, Europe's Paradises . For this film he was on the road for two years and filmed a. a. Sea birds on the Hallig Norderoog , the Spanish Imperial Eagle in the Coto de Doñana National Park in Spain, European bison in the Białowieża National Park between Poland and Belarus and the last Asian population of the Waldrapps in Birecik (Turkey).

In 2001 the 16th International Documentary Film Festival in Munich showed a retrospective of his films in the series Das Tier im Blick .

Pioneering work for world nature conservation

In the spring of 1959, filming began on The Last Paradises , a commission from the IUCN . This film is one of the longest and most ambitious animal film projects. For seven years, the shoemaker and his cameraman Helmuth Barth traveled to over 60 countries to film the most endangered animal species in the world at the time. The result is an alarming report about the threat to the animal world and its habitats, which is particularly impressive due to its unique images. The production costs amounted to over one million DM. On February 28, 1967, the film was released in German cinemas and was enthusiastically received by both audiences and critics. The book of the same name was also a global success and was translated into several languages, including a. in:

  • USA: The Last Paradises: On the track of Rare animals, Doubleday & Co, Inc. New York
  • England: The Last of the Wild: On the track of Rare animals (with Gwynne Vevers; Winwood Reade), Collins, London, 1968
  • Italy: Gli Ultimi Paradisi, GARZANTI, MI, 1966
  • Slovenia (then: Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia): Nedotaknjene divjine: Po sledeh redkih zivali (with Prevedla Nada Vukelic´), Ljubljana: Drzavna Zaloba Slovenije, 1969
  • Finland: Viimeiset paratiisit: Harvinaists eläinten jäljillä (with Heikki Väänänen), Porvoossa: W. Söderström, 1968
  • Netherlands: De laatste paradijzen - Speurtocht naar zeldzame dieren (with MEA Thijssen-van den Bosch), Wageningen Zomer & Keuning, 1967
  • Hungary: Az utolsó éden



Short and educational films

  • 1933: To the Gran Chaco Indians
  • 1933: Land and animals in the Gran Chaco
  • 1935: Technology creates a bird paradise
  • 1937: Among sabers and terns
  • 1940: Just a pond. Camera hunt in the untouched nature reserve
  • 1941: The women fright
  • 1941: subtenant
  • 1942: Salmo, the trout
  • 1942: Feathered builders
  • 1942: Nestling-nest-fleeing
  • 1943: Beware of adders
  • 1943: Net made of silk
  • 1943: Little winter guests
  • 1944: In the realm of the little elves
  • 1944: Antelopes of the Mountains
  • 1945: Schnurf, the hedgehog
  • 1949: Little night ghosts
  • 1950: Feathered guests on the outskirts of the city
  • 1951: Gray witnesses from the Middle Ages
  • 1951: The yellow cathedral
  • 1952: Secrets in the moor
  • 1953: Bird life in the Pacific
  • 1953: White treasures in the tropical country
  • 1955: In the land of the Hunzas
  • 1956: The heraldic bird
  • 1956: From nature's picture book
  • 1957: Nature's treasure trove
  • 1959: The garden spider
  • 1960: Stone Age people in New Guinea
  • 1964: The bird with the lyre-tail

Feature films

  • 1939: Tiergarten South America (alternatively: Tierparadies South America) (his first movie)
  • 1940: Indian (only camera, directors: Ernst R. Müller and Gerd Philipp)
  • 1952: nature in danger
  • 1953: On the way to Tierra del Fuego
  • 1953: In the footsteps of the Incas
  • 1953: Capuchin Mission in Chile
  • 1955: In the shadow of the Karakoram
  • 1958: Canada - land of the black bears
  • 1960: Ghostland of the South Seas
  • 1960: Mission to Papua Country
  • 1966: Alaska - Wilderness on the Edge of the World (Co-Director: Freimut Kalden)
  • 1967: The last paradises
  • 1970: Europe's paradises

watch TV

  • 1964–1972 On the trail of rare animals (37 episodes)


  • 1936: Among avocets and terns - observations and natural records from the bird world on the German North Sea coast , Hugo Bermühler Verlag
  • 1937: The game birds of the German hunter - a textbook to prepare for hunter exams . A manual for practice , published by J. Neumann
  • 1940: Just a pond. Camera hunt in the untouched nature reserve . Fotofreund series of publications Volume 5. Elsner Vlgsgesellschaft. Berlin. Vienna. Leipzig. (with Anton Kutter)
  • 1951: Schnurf, the hedgehog and other delightful animal stories , F.Bruckmann
  • 1951: My movie animals , F. Bruckmann
  • 1958: The mountain is alive - mountain animals in the Alps, Andes, Rocky Mountains and in the Himalayan Karakoram , F. Bruckmann
  • 1958: One Hundred Days in the Rocky Mountains (with Paul and Veronika Eipper), R.Piper & Co Verlag, Munich
  • 1966: The Last Paradises - On the trail of rare animals , Bertelsmann GmbH Gütersloh
  • 1970: I filmed 1000 animals - experiences on all continents , Ullstein Verlag Berlin - Frankfurt / M - Vienna, ISBN 3-550-06563-9
  • 1970: On the trail of many animals. Stories I read over and over again . Kindler, Munich
  • 1970: Alaska: Vast Land on the Edge of the Arctic (with Heinrich Gohl), Kümmerly & Frey Geographical Publishers, Bern, Switzerland
  • 1972: Europe's paradises - the last chance of an endangered continent , Bertelsmann GmbH Gütersloh, ISBN 3-570-04536-6
  • 1973: Endangered animal world - 7 years of film work on all continents , Penny Verlag, Neu-Isenburg


  • 1950: Little night ghosts: Federal Film Prize Festival Berlin (Wanderpreis Festspiele Berlin)
  • 1951: Feathered guests on the outskirts of the city: 2nd prize in the Cannes Festival
  • 1952: Gray witnesses from the Middle Ages: 1st prize in the Venice Festival
  • 1951: The Yellow Cathedral: 1st Prize Cannes Festival
  • 1955: In the shadow of the Karakoram: Bundesfilmpreis Filmband in Gold
  • 1958: Canada - Land of the Black Bears: Silver Alpine Rose Festival Trento
  • 1960: Ghostland of the South Seas: Golden Neptune Festival Trento
  • 1966: Alaska - Wilderness on the Edge of the World : Grand Prix, Trento Festival
  • 1967: The last paradises : Golden Neptune, Trento Festival
  • 1971: Cherry Kearton Medal and Award from the Royal Geographical Society


Schuhmacher bought his first camera - a "Bell and Howell handheld camera", model Eyemo - in 1931. In 1932 he married Maria Eder. In 1934 their daughter Annemarie was born, who later became the editor of his films. In 1955 he became an employee at Bayerischer Rundfunk and produced over 100 programs.


  • Hermann Gerstner (Ed.): Eugen Schuhmacher. Encounters and experiences with the great animal lover . Hohenloher Druck- und Verlagshaus, Gerabronn, Crailsheim 1973, 291 pages, ISBN 3-87354-044-4

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. International Documentary Film Festival Munich 2001 - Series: The Animal in Sight - Egen Schuhmacher The last paradises . Retrieved November 14, 2016.