Hardy Kruger

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Hardy Kruger, 2013

Eberhard August Franz Ewald "Hardy" Krüger (born April 12, 1928 in Berlin-Wedding ) is a German film actor , voice actor and writer . He was one of the most successful German actors of the 1950s and 1960s and became world famous through international film productions.


Education, war experience and political orientation

Eberhard August Franz Ewald Krüger was born as the son of the engineer Max Krüger (manager of the BeTaLag ) and his wife Auguste, nee. Meier, born. He had a sister, Ilse. The family moved to Berlin-Biesdorf in the 1930s , where Krüger grew up. In 1941, he was the age of thirteen at the request of his parents in the elite boarding the Nazi-oriented and Hitler Youth belonging to Adolf Hitler Schools (AHS). At that time the training took place at the Ordensburg Sonthofen due to the lack of existing school buildings . His schoolmates included u. a. Jakob Muth and Theo Sommer . Until 1944, Krüger was educated at the AHS for a future management position in the Nazi state , although his career aspiration was an engineer.

During his school days in Sonthofen , Krüger was selected in 1943 to play the apprentice Heinz Baum, known as "Bäumchen", for the Nazi propaganda film Junge Adler , directed by Alfred Weidenmann . The film was shot in the UFA studios in Babelsberg in 1943 and was released in cinemas on May 24, 1944. From then on, the film determined Hardy Krüger's further life. During the shooting, Krüger also got to know the criminal side of the Nazi state and thereby changed his views. He made the acquaintance of Albert Florath and Hans Söhnker , who at great risk helped Jews to flee and informed him about the regime. Kruger was now even acting as a secret courier.

At the age of sixteen, in March 1945 - in the last phase of the Second World War - Krüger was drafted to the western front as a group leader of the Waffen SS division “Nibelungen” due to his previous military training . When he refused to shoot an American scouting party in which black Americans also served, he was sentenced to death , but the SS officer in charge did not carry out the execution , instead making Krüger his reporter . On his second report he deserted , hid in the forests of the Bavarian Alps and finally got to Hamburg.

Acting career

On the advice of Wolfgang Liebeneiner , Eberhard Krüger became an extra in the Hamburger Schauspielhaus and at the same time spokesman for the then NWDR . After moving to Hanover , his acting talent soon crystallized. In the 1950s he became a popular film star in Germany, but found German post-war cinema too shallow, which is why he increasingly looked for international offers. His portrayal of the fighter pilot Franz von Werra in the British war film One Came Through made him known in English-speaking countries in 1957. In the following years, Krüger appeared alternately in German and international productions until the early 1960s, although the quality of the German films increased after his return from England in 1957 ( Der Fuchs von Paris , Banktresor 713 , Confess, Dr. Corda! , the two Käutner productions Der Rest ist Schweigen and Die Gans von Sedan as well as Boomerang and Zwei unter millions ) noticeably improved.

After the war he was one of the few German actors who made an international film career; he now called himself Hardy Krüger . He was involved in numerous productions until the 1980s , including Howard Hawks ' animal catcher film Hatari! alongside John Wayne , in the mercenary flick The Wild Geese appear alongside Richard Burton and Roger Moore , in the star -studded plane crash drama The Flight of the Phoenix by Robert Aldrich, starring James Stewart , Richard Attenborough and Peter Finch , and in The Red Tent , a Soviet one - Italian co-production with Sean Connery and Claudia Cardinale . In France, he played a German captain in the desert war drama Taxi to Tobruk alongside Lino Ventura and Charles Aznavour and took on the male lead in the drama Sundays with Sybill , which won the Oscar in 1963 in the category of best foreign language film .

Due to his Nordic appearance (blonde hair and blue eyes), Krüger was often cast as a Wehrmacht officer of the Second World War, especially in English-language films, for example in the all-star movie The Arnhem Bridge, his flight by Phoenix comrade Attenborough, and in the war comedy The secret of Santa Vittoria as the antagonist of Anthony Quinn and Anna Magnani . However, he was also given roles with positive character traits that were supposed to embody “good Germany”.

In 1971, Hardy Krüger starred in the Durbridge television crime novel The Knife . German television viewers also know Krüger from the travel stories of the television series Hardy's logbook , which was produced by Radio Bremen in the 1960s. At the end of the 1980s, Hardy's log book was continued in the TV series Weltenbummler on ARD , which was produced until 1995. From this time on he withdrew increasingly from the acting business. In 2011 he stood at the side of Dennenesch Zoudé in the ZDF television film Family Secrets - Love, Guilt and Death for the first time in a long time in front of the camera.

In the mid-1980s, Kruger officially ended his film acting career with a less significant Swedish-British co-production.


In 1970, Kruger began a second career as a writer. He published several novels, short stories and reports in which he could fall back on his experiences as a well-traveled cosmopolitan.

Hardy Krüger at a reading (2009)

Public engagement

Due to the impressions he gained in his youth, especially during the Second World War, Krüger has been involved in the Amadeu Antonio Foundation against right-wing extremism for many years .

Krüger worked in the documentary Von Werra by Werner Schweizer . The film reports without comment about the rise of the Nazi flying ace Franz von Werra in the era of National Socialism . The pictures and quotes that the director uses to tell the story of Franz von Werra speak for themselves. The script is based on the dissertation Between Ancien Régime and Modernism: The Aristocratic Family von Werra by the historian Wilfried Meichtry . Krüger, who played Von Werra in The One that Got Away in 1957 , reads his notes and describes his own childhood. Krüger's escape from the Prisoners of War Camp at the end of the war is contrasted with Von Werra's escape to New Orleans . Krüger also played a role in Nazi propaganda as an apprentice "Bäumchen" in the film Junge Adler (1944). The escape of the feature film The One that Got Away is commented on by contemporary witnesses in Von Werra . The sequence of the scenes, the entanglement of the actions, the documents and the themes are intended to contrast the people portrayed on film in the double portrait. As a teenager at a Nazi elite school like Franz von Werra, Krüger dreamed of an instrumentalized and very specific “ dream of flying ”. Later, however, his views became more critical when he came to love the films made by Jewish directors. In dealing with his own history, he states in the documentation Von Werra that his life and that of Franz von Werra ran in opposite directions from one point in time. Von Werra did everything in his power to return to National Socialist Germany after he was once a British prisoner of war. Krüger, on the other hand, describes how he later did everything to evade the Nazi dictatorship and also to get out of Germany at the end of the war. Hardy Krüger is asked about his own understanding of roles in the popular film One Came Through , as well as about the function of his portrayal in “ post-war Germany ”.

In 2013 he founded the initiative Together against right-wing violence together with Exit Deutschland , Klaus Bednarz , Hark Bohm and Dieter Hallervorden . The aim of the initiative is prevention work against right-wing extremism. He is also a supporter of courage against right-wing violence .

Private life

Krüger was married to actress Renate Densow (1918-2006) from 1950 to 1964 ; The first daughter Christiane Krüger, born in 1945, comes from this relationship .

His second wife was the Italian painter Francesca Marazzi from 1964 to 1977 . From this marriage Malaika Krüger (* 1967) and Hardy Krüger junior (* 1968) emerged, who also became actors.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Krüger owned and lived in the Hatari Lodge in Tanzania at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro , which served as the backdrop for the film of the same name .

Since 1978 he has lived in his third marriage with the American Anita Park in California or Hamburg . Until 2013, the family lived in a log cabin near Lake Arrowhead in a wooded area of ​​the San Bernardino Mountains above Los Angeles , and since then he has lived in Palm Springs every six months .

Awards and honors (selection)

awards received



  • 1973: The fifth offensive - Kesselschlacht an der Sutjeska (Sutjeska) - Director: Stipe Delic
  • 1974: Paper Tiger (Paper Tiger)
  • 1975: Barry Lyndon
  • 1975: Potato Fritz
  • 1977: The Arnhem Bridge (A Bridge Too Far)
  • 1977: The Wild Geese (The Wild Geese)
  • 1978: Die Sturmfahrt der Blue Fin (Blue Fin) - Director: Carl Schultz
  • 1981: Fine company - limited liability
  • 1982: Flames on the Horizon (Wrong is Right)
  • 1982: The World from Above - Director: Dieter Seelmann, Hardy Krüger (TV documentary series)
  • 1984: Inside Man (The Inside Man)
  • 1986: Sonnenschauer - Director: Christian Görlitz (episode from the TV series: Stories from Home)
  • 1986: Reunion in Autumn - Director: Mario Adorf (TV play)
  • 1987: Globetrotter - Director: Hardy Krüger (ARD television series, until 1995)
  • 2002: Von Werra - director: Werner Schweizer, documentary
  • 2011: Family Secrets - Love, Guilt, and Death


Web links

Commons : Hardy Krüger  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Andreas Conrad: Action star in the economic wonderland . In: Der Tagesspiegel , April 12, 2018, p. 21.
  2. a b c Harald Ruppert: The great actor and author read from his books in the Ravensbuch bookstore in Friedrichshafen. Hardy Kruger shakes hands with Hemingway . In: Südkurier of December 8, 2008.
  3. ^ According to our own information in the Beckmann television program on April 14, 2008
  4. Kruger, Hardy. In: Wer ist Wer ?: The German Who's Who . Vol. 39, Verlag Herrmann Degener, 2000, p. 801.
  5. In 90 years Hardy Krüger was given life several times in WAZ on April 12, 2018
  6. Film star Hardy Krüger turns 90: "Somebody wanted me to go on living" , spiegel.de , October 8, 2019
  7. a b c Hardy Krüger: 1945: Almost early death. November 2015, accessed October 3, 2018 .
  8. Hardy Krüger on bild.de about his membership of the Waffen-SS ( Memento from December 24, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  9. World star Hardy Krüger turns 90.Süddeutsche de GmbH, April 12, 2018, accessed on August 14, 2020 .
  10. http://www.realfictionfilme.de/filme/von-werra/index.php
  11. https://kultura-extra.de/film/feuilleton/von_werra_werner_schweizer.html
  12. Bernhard Krebs: Actor Hardy Krüger: From the Hitler School to the Fighter Against Right. In: Kölnische Rundschau . November 5, 2013, accessed November 25, 2018 .