Katja Ebstein

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Katja Ebstein at the Eurovision Song Contest 1970

Katja Ebstein , real name Karin Ilse Everywhere (* 9. March 1945 as Karin Witkiewicz Ilse in Girlachsdorf ), is a German singer and actress . She became internationally known with third place at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 , followed by another third place in 1971 and second place in 1980 , which made her the most successful German ESC participant at the time. So far, she has released over 30 albums in the fields of hits , pop music , chansons , cabaret and musicals .



Ebstein was born in Girlachsdorf in Lower Silesia (today Gilów, Gmina Niemcza , Poland ). She grew up in the West Berlin district of Reinickendorf on Epensteinstrasse, from which her later stage name comes. After graduating from high school, she studied archeology and Romance studies. In the jazz and songwriting scene, she sometimes sang in student and artist bars. In 1964, the broadcaster Free Berlin engaged Katja Ebstein, together with three accompanying musicians, including Bodo von Greiff, for the ARD program Marmeladentopf . In the group Die Kreuzberger she sang the Spanish Fandango de Huelva. The well-known Berlin composer and producer Heino Gaze became aware of them. After she had proven herself with background vocals in his productions, he produced her first two singles under the stage name "Katja", but they were unsuccessful (Irgendwo, Irgendwie 1965; Wo ist das Schiff 1966). In the same year she took part, also with moderate success, at the hit festival in Knokke , Belgium ; then she initially limited herself to background vocals for other productions and small appearances.

It was through Gaze that she met the composer and producer, her future partner and first husband Christian Bruhn , who from then on accompanied her productions. At the Chanson Folklore International festival at Burg Waldeck in the Hunsrück , she met Siegfried Loch , who was the head of Germany at the time for the American record company Liberty / United Artists , who was looking for new talent for the international market. He helped her to a permanent contract with Liberty / United Artists Records based in Munich.

After great success with the first two singles, Der Draht in der Sonne and ... and when the rain falls , as well as her first TV appearance as "Katja Ebstein" in April 1969 in the program Sing and swing - an evening with international guest stars appeared in autumn 1969 first LP Katja, especially promoted by the youth magazine Twen and by truck Branss , the makers of ZDF Hit Parade , TV Portrait produced Katja - the voice, which, however, only in 1970 after taking part in the preliminary round for the Grand Prix Euro vision song Contest was broadcast . In late autumn 1969 she sang What dreams a Christmas tree in May the German original soundtrack of the title Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown? the singer Nina from the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service and was with the associated single A-side Why is the world so beautiful for the first time more often present on German television.

The 1970s and 1980s

Katja Ebstein, 1970

On February 16, 1970 won Ebstein the German preliminary decision by Christian Bruhn composed and Günter Loose texted wonder there are always , reaching the Euro Vision Festival in Amsterdam third. This was the start of her international career. Her songs have appeared worldwide in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese. Ebstein took part twice in the Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson. The title for the 1971 competition in Dublin, This World , was composed by Dieter Zimmermann , the text was by Fred Jay . With the environmental song she reached third place again. In her third and last participation in 1980 with theater , written by Ralph Siegel and Bernd Augener , she took second place. These two titles also became evergreens in Germany and came onto the market worldwide in different languages. Due to her contributions to the Grand Prix, she moderated the preliminary decision in 1981 and was a popular musical guest and guest in various related programs.

In 1970 she was voted best singer at the International Song Festival in Rio de Janeiro . A tour with the James Last orchestra followed from September to November 1970, further tours - including with the Paul Kuhn orchestra through the Soviet Union - followed in the following years in which Ebstein with titles such as And when a new day wakes up, A little song about peace, The Star from Mykonos or An Indian Boy from Peru became one of the most successful German pop singers. In 1972 she appeared for the first time in the GDR in the program Ein Kessel Buntes .

The music industry has meanwhile honored her with numerous awards: “Best Singer” at the international song festival in Rio de Janeiro , most popular foreign singer in Spain; she received the rose of Rome in Italy . But she has also been honored several times in Germany, including twice the Golden Europe , and she received the Golden Tuning Fork , and later the Lale Andersen and the Fred Jay Prize .

In 1975 she and the Heinrich Heine Society published a Heine cycle set to music by Christian Bruhn (Katja Ebstein sings Heinrich Heine, EMI Electrola). Even after her divorce from Bruhn in 1976 she again delivered various successes to the record companies (for example Es war ein Jäger, 1974, and Half his Life, 1975), continued to concentrate on lyrically more demanding titles, well-known musical melodies (for example 1977 Wein 'not about me, Argentina from the musical Evita ) and cabaret couplets in their repertoire . In 1978 the LP So wat wie ick et bin ... can only be from Berlin . These songs are still part of their concert program today.

Katja Ebstein, 1980

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ebstein was also a guest on many German television programs, in particular she was involved in many editions of the ZDF Hitparade, Disco, Music from Studio B, Starparade, Musik ist Trumpf, Dalli Dalli , etc. There were also regular appearances on talk shows, in which she still takes a stand on social and political issues.

At the heyday of German hits, Ebstein also regularly presented his own music shows, the most important of which were: Katja - The Voice (1970), Katja & Co. (1976), Konzert frei Haus (1980), Das ist mein Milieu (1981) and Mein Name is Katja (1982). The GDR radio broadcast her live concerts in East Berlin in 1983, 1986 and 1987. Numerous personality shows were also dedicated to her; She rarely took on external moderation, such as for music from Studio B, or moderated anniversary programs for long-term colleagues such as Paul Kuhn.

Appearances as an actress

Ebstein on a song contest postcard, 1980

With the director and author Klaus Überall , whom she married in 1979, she developed her acting talent in the early 1980s. In 1980 he staged her first play at the Ernst-Deutsch-Theater in Hamburg : Professor Unrat , the title role was played by the theater director Friedrich Schütter . In this piece Ebstein took on the role of Rosa Fröhlich, the blue angel . Many other theater engagements followed, from the Buhlschaft in Jedermann to the pirate Jenny in Brecht's Threepenny Opera . She played leading roles in the musicals Chicago , Sweet Charity and in 1993 Victor and Victoria . After all, she was the chaja in the holocaust drama Ghetto by Joshua Sobol at the Meiningen State Theater .

In between, television series were produced for ARD , in 1984 13 episodes of the series Unterwegs in der DDR, which was also broadcast with great success by GDR television and was therefore extended by a further 26 episodes in 1986/87, and in 1989 20 episodes of the series Friedrichstadtpalast , in the Ebstein was seen alongside well-known East and West German actors.

Her musical work also continued. In 1986 she presented with Mensch, just say Na and the song of the ARD television lottery . The comeback success fell short of expectations and so their last single production for the time being appeared in 1987 with the title Lach 'mich nicht aus .

Occasionally, they also took over the vocals in German movie dubbed versions , such as 1977 for Helen Reddy in Pete's Dragon or 1988 for Bette Midler in Oliver & Co. In addition, German sung theme songs for various international came children's cartoon series in the 1970s, about for Niklaas, a boy from Flanders and Perrine .

From 1990 Ebstein turned increasingly to the literary genre. After a successful women's lyric production together with Lutz Görner , which also went on tour as a stage program, solo programs followed such as masterpieces by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff , Beat the drum and don't be afraid with pieces by Heinrich Heine or the Brecht-Heine- Compare drummers without fear . The follow-up program in Berlin ... in spite of all that! is a German lesson based on the example of Berlin with texts from Kurt Tucholsky to Konstantin Wecker . Up until 1996 and 1999 these programs were also published on CD.

In the 1990s, the German hit celebrated a revival. In addition to her literarily engaged appearances, Ebstein was a guest in music programs to present her older hits. As a result, CD compilations appeared with their titles from the 1970s and 1980s. Aside from literary publications, there was a single foray into pop music in 1994 . The album Ebstein with the single Nur ein Blick (With one Look) contains world-famous musical themes in German.

Katja Ebstein in the 2000s

Katja Ebstein, 2016
Bremen, handprint in the Lloyd-Passage

Together with the WDR Chamber Symphony Orchestra , Ebstein performed The Story of the Soldier by Igor Stravinsky in 2001 . A pre-Christmas program followed . A star falls ... with texts by Robert Gernhardt , Georg Kreisler , Heinrich Heine , Erich Kästner , Hanns Dieter Hüsch and Loriot . With this program she is still on the road every year across Germany. Like the previous literature programs, this one was put together and staged by Klaus Überall.

In 2003 Ebstein was the star guest at the major event of the controversial alternative medicine specialist Matthias Rath in the Berlin Tempodrom .

In 2005 she celebrated her 40th anniversary as a singer. On the occasion of this event, the album Witkiewicz (single title: In this country) was produced. Pe Werner , Xavier Naidoo and other composers and lyricists contributed to the realization of the project . With a band under the direction of Dieter Falk , she went on the “anniversary tour” with her new and her personal favorite tracks, which has been continued throughout Germany since 2006 under the title Meine Lieder .

In May and June 2007 she was in the second season of the RTL dance show Let's Dance on television; With her professional dance partner Oliver Seefeldt she finished second in the competition.

In autumn 2007 Ebstein took over the jury chairmanship of the Stuttgart Chanson Festival , which takes place annually in the hotel Le Méridien there. In the spring of 2008 she was seen - also committed to the next generation of musicians - often on television, including at the Eurovision Song Contest preliminary round in 2008, where she was a star guest not only because of her services to the Grand Prix, but also as the “godmother” of Newcomer Carolin Fortenbacher acted. In March and April 2008 she was on the jury of the ZDF -Show Musical Showstar 2008 program , in which, together with Uwe Kröger and Alexander Goebel, she selected two future actors for the musical Starlight Express .

On January 7, 2008, Federal President Horst Köhler awarded Katja Ebstein the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her social and artistic commitment , which was presented to her on April 7, 2008 by Bavaria's Prime Minister Günther Beckstein in Munich.

In April 2008 she celebrated with the new stage program Na und? We're still alive !, which her husband Klaus Überall had written for her, premiered in Dülmen in North Rhine-Westphalia . The program consisted mainly of songs from the 1980 album He du da , but also included current political and social issues as well as new pieces. Despite his lung cancer, which he only made public a few months after the diagnosis, Ebstein made a few appearances with this concert evening and was on the road for her foundation. On October 29, 2008, Klaus Überall succumbed to the disease, about which Ebstein first spoke publicly in the spring of 2009 in an interview with the Berlin local broadcaster TV Berlin.

In 2011 she celebrated a comeback with the cover version of Wunder there again and again together with the German rapper JokA . This version was originally produced for the second episode of the music documentary Cover my Song , broadcast on September 6, 2011 on VOX . Due to its great success, a music video was also produced at the end of 2011. There are always miracles from JokA feat. Ebstein stayed at number 1 in the German hip-hop download charts for several weeks.

In the RTL program Die ultimative Chartshow under the motto "The most successful German singers", which was broadcast on February 17, 2012 and placed all interpreters in the German charts based on the most and most successful hits, Ebstein landed at number 12.


Ebstein lives near Munich. She has also owned a house on the North Sea island of Amrum since the 1970s.

Political and social engagement

Katja Ebstein was active in the student movement in the 1960s , supported Willy Brandt in the 1972 election campaign and the West German peace movement in the 1980s, and is now a member of Attac . In 2003 she appeared together with Konstantin Wecker at a demonstration against the Iraq war . In 2012 she was one of the signatories of the “Coalition of Resistance”, a “Joint Appeal for the Salvation of the People of Europe” written by Mikis Theodorakis , Tony Benn and Manolis Glezos . In 2013 she campaigned for the Left Party in the federal election campaign .

Since 1992 Ebstein has enabled children from financially disadvantaged families to stay on the North Sea island of Amrum . This private initiative gave rise to the “Environment Action for Children and Environmentally Damaged Youngsters” association. The aim of the association is health, improved future prospects and education for children and young people. In 2004 the “Katja Ebstein Foundation” was founded with the patron Ingrid Stolpe as a networking point for many initiatives that fight against child poverty in Germany. In January 2008, she and the North Rhine-Westphalian Family Minister Armin Laschet presented the Katja Ebstein Foundation 's project "Tanzen builds bridges - dance heals", which was inspired by her participation in the RTL show Let's Dance at the opening dance tournament of the 1st Bundesliga Latin . In autumn 2008, together with the board of directors of the Katja Ebstein Foundation in Munich, she established a collaboration with the Giovane Elber Foundation, which is primarily committed to Brazilian street children.

For 15 years Ebstein has been a project sponsor for village development in Mali in the Sahel zone as "help for self-help". With Welthungerhilfe , Ebstein supports the construction of small houses for the people living below the poverty line in the Peruvian highlands. Thereby sponsorships for orphans from the highland regions are arranged, who are to be integrated into families living there.

In addition, Ebstein belongs to the association “Artists for Christ” founded by Inge Brück and appears as such in musical charity services for persecuted Christians.

Katja Ebstein is one of the first signatories of the “Alliance for Brandenburg”, an initiative of the federal state of Brandenburg that wants to ensure that the integration of refugees succeeds.

In December 2016 she was elected a member of the Federal Assembly by the Brandenburg state parliament . She stood on a joint list of all parties for the SPD parliamentary group and was subsequently a participant in the Federal Assembly on February 12, 2017 for the election of the German Federal President.


Literary works

  • Katja Ebstein: Working for a culture of peace. In: Hans-Joachim Girock (Ed.): A dream of the church. Do we need another Christianity? Quell, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-7918-1406-0 , pp. 44-54
  • Katja Ebstein (Ed.): Masterpieces. Eulen, Freiburg 1996, ISBN 3-89102-244-1
  • Katja Ebstein (Ed.): Beat the drum and don't be afraid! Poems and songs by Heinrich Heine. Eulen, Freiburg 1996, ISBN 3-89102-245-X
  • Katja Ebstein: From the art of living. In: Today I know what I want. Tell women over 50. vgs Egmont, Cologne 2004, ISBN 3-8025-1644-3 , pp. 66–75
  • Katja Ebstein: Beat the drum and don't be afraid. In: Wolfgang Bittner , Mark vom Hofe (Ed.): Experienced stories. I meddle. Striking German résumés. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 3-89502-222-5 , pp. 27-36


Katja Ebstein at the Eurovision Song Contest 1980

Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChartsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1970 My life is like a song DE11 (4 weeks)
1971 Friends DE44 (3 weeks)
United Artists
1973 Katja DE37 (4 weeks)
United Artists
1974 ... what else I wanted to sing DE43 (1 week)
United Artists
1980 Glass house DE19 (16 weeks)

More studio albums

  • Katja (Liberty 1969)
  • Miracles are always there (Liberty 1970)
  • Katja Ebstein en español (United Artists 1971) (unpublished in Germany)
  • We Live - We Love (United Artists 1972)
  • An Indian boy from Peru / And your train leaves in 5 minutes (1973)
  • The Star of Mykonos (United Artists 1974) (unreleased in Germany)
  • Le soleil de Mykonos (United Artists 1974) (unpublished in Germany)
  • Wild roses and other dreams (EMI Electrola 1974)
  • Katja Ebstein sings Heinrich Heine (EMI Electrola 1975)
  • Katja & Co. (recordings from the ARD TV show of the same name, EMI Electrola 1976)
  • There is a horse market in Petersburg (EMI Electrola 1976)
  • Love (EMI Electrola 1977)
  • Something like ick et am ... can only be from Berlin (EMI Electrola 1978)
  • Katja live (Ariola 1980)
  • Hey you there ... (Ariola 1980)
  • Cheer up (Ariola 1981)
  • My name is Katja (live recordings from the ZDF TV show, Ariola 1982)
  • Dream time? (Ariola 1982)
  • Poets (with Lutz Görner, Rezitheater-Verlag 1990)
  • LiLaLutsche - I slide on the slide (children's songs, Igel Records 1991)
  • Ebstein (Polydor 1994)
  • Masterpieces (CAT Music 1996)
  • Ave von Medjugorje - Pilgrim songs (with Inge Brück, CAT Music 1996)
  • Ave from Medjugorje - Pilgrim songs (with Inge Brück, CAT Music 1997)
  • Ave de Medjugorje - Chansons pelèrines (with Inge Brück, CAT Music 1997)
  • Ave von Medjugorje (in Bosnian, with Inge Brück, CAT Music 1997)
  • Do not be seduced! - Katja Ebstein sings and speaks Bertolt Brecht (Deutsche Grammophon 1999)
  • Berlin ... in spite of all that! (Deutsche Grammophon 1999)
  • A star falls ... (CAT Music 2001)
  • Witkiewicz (EMI 2005)
  • So what - we're still alive! (Self-published, 2013)
  • Sister Class (self-published 2015)


  • Inch Allah (United Artists 1973)
  • The Great Successes (United Artists 1974)
  • Katja Ebstein international (United Artists 1974)
  • The Star of Mykonos (United Artists 1975)
  • We Live, We Love (United Artists 1975)
  • Star portrait (1976)
  • Katja & Co. (original recordings for the television program of the same name, EMI 1976)
  • Star Parade (1977)
  • Portrait (1978)
  • Star Discotheque (1978)
  • Super Gold (1979)
  • Collection (1979)
  • The Star Album (1980)
  • Stars in Gold ( Ariola 1982)
  • Star Festival (Ariola 1986)
  • Star portrait (Europe 1986)
  • Star portrait (LaserLight / Delta Music 1991)
  • My greatest successes (BMG Ariola 1994)
  • There are always miracles (BMG Ariola 1994)
  • Ballads (BMG Ariola 1996)
  • Inch Allah (BMG Ariola 2003)
  • I have to see Berlin again (BMG Ariola 2003)
  • Schlager & Stars (EMI 2004)
  • Theater, theater ( BMG Ariola 2005)
  • Dieter Thomas Heck presents Up Close - The Stories of My Stars (BMG Sony / Ariola 2006)
  • Songs of Hunters and Clowns (EMI 2007)
  • The best of 40 years of hit parade (Ariola 2009)
  • Be strong (Ariola 2010, new edition of the album "He du da")
  • All hits (The best of 40 years, Sony Music 2010)
  • There are always miracles - My most beautiful songs (Reader's Digest, 2010)
  • Only the wind knows my dreams - Hits & Rarities (3-CD-Box) (Sony Music 2010)

Club special editions

  • There are always miracles (S * R International 1970)
  • This is Katja Ebstein (Liberty 1970)
  • And when a new day awakens (S * R International 1970)
  • Friends (S * R International 1971)
  • We live - we love (S * R International 1972)
  • The Star of Mykonos (S * R International 1973)
  • Glass house (Ariola 1980)
  • The Big Hits (Ariola 1981)
  • The great German Schlager archive: Drafi Deutscher / Katja Ebstein (Sonocord 1990)
  • Golden Stars (1998)

PhD publications

  • Thank you, Katja Ebstein (limited to 2000 pieces) (Liberty 1971)


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1970 Miracles are always there.
Miracles are always there
DE16 (11 weeks)
- -
And when a new day awakens
my life is like a song
DE28 (4 weeks)
- -
1971 This world
DE16 (10 weeks)
- -
A little song of peace
DE47 (1 week)
- -
1973 The star of Mykonos
DE4 (24 weeks)
- CH2 (12 weeks)
1974 An Indian boy from Peru
... what more I wanted to sing
DE22 (20 weeks)
- -
... what else I wanted to sing
DE30 (5 weeks)
- -
Once upon a time there was a hunter
Wild roses and other dreams
DE4 (28 weeks)
AT6 (20 weeks)
1975 Half of his life
in Petersburg is horse market
DE25 (7 weeks)
- -
1976 You don't cry for love.
There is a horse market in Petersburg
DE48 (1 week)
- -
There is a horse market in Petersburg There is a horse market
in Petersburg
DE38 (8 weeks)
- -
1980 Farewell is a bit like dying in a
glass house
DE10 (18 weeks)
- CH8 (5 weeks)
DE11 (15 weeks)
- -
Then marry your Glashaus office
DE30 (12 weeks)
- -


  • 1970: Black Peter (TV series, an episode)
  • 1971: The Song of the Balalaika (L'homme qui vient de la nuit)
  • 1971: Glückspilze (TV movie)
  • 1972: Die Glückspirale (TV movie)
  • 1975: Berlin greets Bern (TV movie)
  • 1983: Wunderland (TV movie)
  • 1999: Gisbert (TV series, an episode)


  • Wolfgang Bittner , Mark vom Hofe: Beat the drum and don't be afraid. Katja Ebstein. In: I meddle. Bad Honnef 2006, ISBN 978-3-89502-222-7 .
  • Jürgen C. Hansen: Katja Ebstein. Stations in a career. cat-music, Otterfing 2002/2005.
  • Heinz P. Hofmann: Katja Ebstein. A woman who knows what she wants ... In conversation with HP Hofmann . In: Ernst Günther, Heinz P. Hofmann, Walter Rösler (eds.): Cassette. Rock, pop, hit songs, revue, circus, cabaret, magic - an almanac (=  cassette ). No. 7 . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1984, p. 241-249 .

Web links

Commons : Katja Ebstein  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Epensteinstrasse. In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )
  2. ↑ The grand finale in the capital Berlin offers a great backdrop. Rath: "Together we can create a better future!" Dr-rath-foundation.org.
  3. Detlef Kuhlbrodt : Cells are healed again . In: taz , October 10, 2003.
  4. Cover my Song: Katja Ebstein vs. JokA on VOX.de.
  5. Jump upKatja Ebstein, who lives in Amrum, thrilled at her home game in the Norddorf parish hall ... In: AmrumNews. September 11, 2019, accessed April 30, 2020 (German).
  6. Benno Ohnesorg: The death of the dreamer in Süddeutsche Zeitung of May 30, 2007.
  7. Our supporters (A to E) | Alliance for Brandenburg . In: Alliance for Brandenburg . ( buendnis-fuer-brandenburg.de [accessed on April 6, 2017]).
  8. ^ " Role models for others" - Woidke awards the Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg . Report from the Brandenburg State Chancellery, June 15, 2015; accessed November 16, 2015.
  9. a b Chart sources: DE AT CH