Hans Meissner (Artistic Director)

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Hans Meissner (born July 3, 1896 in Frankfurt am Main , † July 14, 1958 in Augsburg ) was a German director and actor. From 1933 to 1945 he was general director of the Frankfurt Municipal Theaters .

life and work

After visiting the Klinger - secondary school in Frankfurt 1914/15 he took acting classes at the High Conservatory until its convening . In 1917 he suffered a serious wound near Verdun and was discharged from military service . After his recovery he resumed acting classes in Frankfurt. His first engagement took him to the Württemberg Volksbühne in Stuttgart in 1919 .

In 1921 he returned to Frankfurt and joined the newly founded Frankfurt Art Theater for the Rhine and Main , a socialist touring stage during the Weimar Republic . After the art theater collapsed economically during the period of inflation , Meissner took over the rebuilding of the stage as director in 1924.

In 1930 he was appointed director of the Stettin City Theater . Meissner had belonged to the SPD since 1928/29 and was exposed to constant attacks by the local NSDAP in Stettin since the beginning of his term in office . With the DC circuit of the Szczecin Theater on March 8, 1933 shortly after the Nazi seizure of power he asked for immediate leave of absence. His name was on a list of undesirable directors kept by the Berlin Reich leadership of the Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur .

General manager in Frankfurt am Main

In Frankfurt am Main, the National Socialist Lord Mayor Friedrich Krebs , appointed on March 13, 1933 , dismissed the management of the municipal theaters on March 28, 1933. The new theater director Hans Geisow , who was appointed to succeed Alwin Kronacher , was not up to the job and was dismissed in June 1933. Krebs then appointed Meissner, whom he had known since his time in Frankfurt, as general manager of the municipal theaters. Krebs and Meissner had carefully prepared the appointment. Meissner left the SPD in October 1932 and became a member of the NSDAP on April 1, 1933 at the instigation of Krebs. In addition, on the recommendation of the mayor, Meissner had collected Persilscheine in Stettin, which attested that he had never been politically active.

On Meissner's appointment as general manager in June 1933 , a letter from Stettin appeared in the Frankfurter Volksblatt , the party newspaper of the Frankfurter NSDAP, with the sharp attack: “Anyone who still supports Mr. Meissner today makes himself an enemy of our movement and is ruthless from us today Pushed aside. ”In order to save Meissner's appointment, Krebs, who was also the Hessen-Nassau state director of the Kampfbund for German Culture, accepted the simultaneous appointment of Friedrich Bethge as chief dramaturge of the municipal theaters. On July 18, 1933, Krebs confirmed the contract with Meissner, who placed all four venues of the municipal theaters under his control: the opera , the theater , the small house and the Römerberg Festival founded in 1932 by Alwin Kronacher and Max Michel .

With the Römerberg Festival, Meissner found a format in which he could develop his talent as a director. He planned to develop the festival into a Bayreuth of German classical music . They were intended to serve as "popular education" and to become "sources of genuinely ethnic feeling" for visitors from home and abroad. His directorial work for the festival included Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy (1934), Faust. A tragedy. (1935), Fiesco (1936), Florian Geyer (1937), Hamlet (1938) and Die Nibelungen (1939).

In addition to classics and Frankfurt dialect pieces, Meissner regularly staged pieces by National Socialist authors, including by Friedrich Bethge, in the Schauspielhaus. One of the highlights was a production by Woyzeck on the 100th anniversary of Georg Büchner's death in 1937. In the opera, Meissner succeeded in premiering several works by important contemporary composers in Frankfurt, including Die Zaubergeige (1935), Doctor Johannes Faust (1936) and Carmina Burana (1937 ), Die Rose vom Liebesgarten (1939), Columbus (1942) and Die Kluge (1942).

In January and March 1944, the Frankfurt theaters were destroyed in several air raids . The theater operation was temporarily maintained in several alternative quarters until all theaters in Germany were closed on September 1, 1944 .

Meissner firmly expected to remain director of the Frankfurt theater after the war. However, he was arrested in June 1945 and sent to the Moosburg internment camp , where he stayed until March 1947. During this time he converted to the Catholic Church.

In 1949 Meissner became theater director in Gelsenkirchen , and in 1953 general director of the Augsburg city theaters . On July 14, 1958, he died of a fatal heart attack. Until recently he had suffered from the fact that he could not continue his theater work in Frankfurt.



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Janine Burnick, Jürgen Steen: The new general manager and his chief dramaturge. In: Frankfurt am Main 1933–1945. Institute for Urban History , June 7, 2005, accessed June 25, 2018 .
  2. Janine Burnick, Jürgen Steen: The "seizure" of opera and drama. In: Frankfurt am Main 1933–1945. Institute for Urban History , October 21, 2014, accessed on June 25, 2018 .
  3. a b Heike Drummer, Jutta Zwilling: “Bayreuth of German Classics”? Frankfurt and the Römerberg Festival. In: Frankfurt1933–1945.de. Institute for Urban History, October 26, 2015, accessed on June 18, 2018 .