Hans Rudolf Berndorff

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Hans Rudolf Berndorff (born September 20, 1895 in Cologne , † December 1963 in Hamburg ) was a German journalist and writer .

Live and act

Berndorff was the son of the Magistrate Hans Berndorff and Marie Hartzheim. After attending school in Düsseldorf, Berndorff belonged to the Prussian army, in which he made it up to officer. After the First World War , Berndorff was briefly a member of a volunteer corps. He then began to work as a journalist: from 1925 he was chief reporter for various publications by Ullstein Verlag. At this time he became known for his series of articles about shipwrecks, criminal cases, world travel and expeditions.

In the era of National Socialism Berndorff was, who is also the SS belonged, Lu Seegers states that "as an author well liked." Between 1933 and 1940 he published 19 novels and factual reports in the Berliner Illustrirten Zeitung (BIZ) alone, under the pseudonyms Rudolf van Wehrt and Hans Rudolf . There were also numerous book publications.

In the 1950s Berndorff wrote numerous other novels as well as biographies and writings on recent history. As a ghostwriter , he also wrote alleged "autobiographies" for personalities such as the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch and the banker Hjalmar Schacht . The authenticity of the former was later fundamentally denied by the Sauerbruch student Rudolf Nissen .


“As an example of the professional continuity in the field of entertainment journalism and the polyvalence of entertaining literary material in various political systems, the professional career of the journalist and writer Hans-Rudolf Berndorff, who published several novels in HÖR ZU! published. Berndorff, born in 1895, after training in acting direction and dramaturgy, had worked as chief reporter for various Ullstein-Verlag publications from 1925 and had become known for his series of articles about shipwrecks, criminal cases, world trips and expeditions. During National Socialism, the active war participant and former free corps fighter, member of an SS standard since 1933, was well liked as an author. Between 1933 and 1940 he published 19 novels and factual reports under his name and under the pseudonyms Rudolf van Wehrt and Hans Rudolf alone in the BIZ, all of which were published as books by Ullstein and Deutsche Verlag. Even in World War II, Goebbels did not want to do without Berndorff's popular entertainment material. His works were considered "important to the war effort" and the Propaganda Ministry endeavored to guarantee the book and now film author Berndorff optimal working conditions until 1945. After the Second World War, Berndorff was able to continue his career without interruption despite his membership in the SS. The conservative British press officer Sefton Delmer, who was responsible for setting up the news agency "German News Service", smuggled Berndorff, whose earlier reports in Berlin he valued, through the "questionnaire mess", so that he was a reporter for the news service and also a correspondent for the " Manchester Guardian ”. For Eduard Rhein, the fact that Berndorff had celebrated his greatest successes during the Third Reich did not seem to have been an obstacle, the writer he valued for HÖR ZU! to win. On the contrary: the editor-in-chief took into account the existing popularity of Berndorff in order to praise his novels: "You too will certainly remember his sensational novels and factual reports in the old Berliner Illustrirten Zeitung." Berndorff's work was so popular that Rhein at the beginning of the several times in the fifties presented works by the former BIZ author. "

During the Nazi era, Berndorff also worked as a screenwriter. For example, he and director Hans Steinhoff wrote the script for the Hans Albers film Shiva and the Gallows Flower , which was 3/4 shot at the end of the war and remained unfinished. It was performed in a reconstructed version in 1993.


  • Espionage! Dieck & Co., Stuttgart 1929.
  • Diplomatic underworld . Dieck & Co., 1930.
  • You equip! Dieck & Co., Stuttgart 1931.
  • The rider on the way of the cross. Based on motifs from the novel "Der Großkophta" (Memories of a Doctor) by Alexander Dumas . Dieck & Co., Stuttgart 1931. [cf. Memoirs of a Doctor ]
  • And you, my darling, go with me - a novel by an actress . Ullstein, Berlin 1936.
  • You play dangerous, white woman . Ullstein, Berlin 1938.
  • Judgment Day love . Novel. German publisher, Berlin 1941.
  • The girl from beyond the grave . Spiegel Verlag, Berlin 1943.
  • Shiva and the gallows flower . Hermann Hillger Verlag, Berlin 1943.
  • Paranon . Möhlich, Hamburg 1949. (originally in Hörzu No. 37 to 49/1948)
  • Break the law. Novel of a deadly passion . In: Hörzu, No. 46/1949 to 2/1950
  • General between East and West. From the secrets of the German Republic , Hoffmann and Campe, 1950.
  • (with) Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. Kindler & Schiermeyer, Bad Wörishofen 1951.
  • Tryst with death. A forgotten episode from Sauerbruch's life. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) Licensed edition Bertelsmann, Munich 1956, pp. 439–456.
  • A life for surgery. Obituary for Ferdinand Sauerbruch. In: Ferdinand Sauerbruch: That was my life. (1951) Licensed edition Bertelsmann, Munich 1956, pp. 456–478.
  • Venus on the scales. A fate in the twilight of the stars . In: Hörzu, No. 50/1951 to 11/1952.
  • together with Richard Tüngel : You should crawl on your stomach ... Germany under the occupying powers . Wegner, Hamburg 1958.
  • Cancan and big tattoo. From the memoir of a Rhenish rascal . Ullstein, Berlin 1961. Later published under the title The black-white-red four-poster bed Ullstein, Berlin 1963.
  • Uncle Tutu. The business of a serious bon vivant . Ullstein, Berlin 1964.
  • The realm of the pirate Avery . Freitag Verlag, Berlin 1982.

As Rudolf van Wehrt

  • The Germans are coming! 1914 before Paris. Based on contemporary reports , Ullstein, Berlin 1933.
  • Tannenberg. How Hindenburg beat the Russians . Ullstein, Berlin 1934.
  • Morro Castle The hour of a ship's death . Ullstein, Berlin 1935.
  • The king of Kakikakai. An adventurous story from the South Seas . Ullstein, Berlin 1936.
  • The dragonfly war. An adventurous story . Ullstein, Berlin 1936.
  • Children's crusade. The story of a sacrifice . Deutscher Verlag, Berlin 1938. (Danish translation as Børnekorstoget , Reitzel 1939)
  • So the war broke out in 1940.
  • France on the run. An experience report from dramatic days . Stalling, Berlin 1941.
  • A whale - spooky to look at! A utopian novel . Spiegel Verlag, Berlin 1943.
  • The Hannack case . In Hörzu, No. 48/1949 to 7/1950.
  • Murder files Sengespeik. Factual report . In: Hörzu, No. 19/1950 to 31/1950.
  • The Count of Monte Pharo. An adventurous incident . In: Hörzu, No. 42/1950 to 13/1951.
  • Krubitzki's egg. The story of a medical privateer . In: Hörzu, No. 7/1962 to 28/1962.
  • Whoever takes the devil on board ... The story of a mysterious crime at sea . Portrayed by Rudolf van Wehrt. In: Hörzu, No. 36/1962 to 49/1962.
  • Another soul rescued saved. The history of the Salvation Army and its founder . Portrayed by Rudolf van Wehrt. In: Hörzu, No. 50/1962 to 28/1963.

Feature films

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lu Seegers: Listen! Eduard Rhein and the radio program magazines (1931–1965). Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2003, ISBN 3-935035-26-8 , p. 181.
  2. Helle Blätter, dark Blätter , Stuttgart 1969 u.ö.
  3. Lu Seegers: Listen! Eduard Rhein and the radio program magazines (1931–1965) . Potsdam 2003 (2nd edition), pp. 181-182 ( quotation permission )