Max Colpet

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Max Colpet (born July 19, 1905 in Königsberg , East Prussia ; died January 2, 1998 in Munich ; actually Max Kolpenitzky , another pseudonym Max Kolpe ) was a stateless American writer , screenwriter and songwriter from 1954 .

Live and act

Max Kolpenitzky's father came from Wilna , his mother from Dünaburg , they had come to the German Reich as Russian citizens , but were considered stateless here . Because of their Russian origins, the family was interned in Bad Liebenstein in Thuringia at the beginning of the First World War . In 1920 she moved to Hamburg , where Max attended the Talmud Torah School and graduated from high school. He was active in the Wandervogel and in the Zionist youth movement. He did not finish his engineering studies at the Technical University of Berlin , but lived in Berlin from columnist newspaper articles in the Berliner Tageblatt , Cross-Section , Tempo , Simplicissimus , Porcupine and Weltspiegel . He also worked for radio and for film.

Together with Erik Ode he founded the cabaret "Anti" in Berlin in 1928 and was involved in the founding of Werner Finck's Katakomben-Cabaret in 1929 . In 1932 Colpet began to write film scripts, for some of these manuscripts ( Scampolo, a child on the street, The Blue from Heaven, Madame does not want children ) he collaborated with the young writer Billy Wilder , who was almost the same age , from which a lifelong friendship emerged. After the transfer of power to the National Socialists in 1933, he had to hide and was able to escape with a French visa. His parents were victims of the Holocaust . In Paris in 1934, Wilder's directorial debut Mauvaise graine came together again. In 1935 he went to Austria, in 1937 he wrote the musical Pam-Pam for the Theater an der Wien .

After the annexation of Austria in 1938, Max Colpet fled to France again, the French army did not accept his volunteer registration. With Max Ophüls he produced the radio drama Les sept crimes d'Adolf Hitler . He was interned in Vichy France, but escaped to Switzerland in 1943, where he was interned again during the war. In 1945 he went back to Paris and took part in Roberto Rosselini's film Germany in Years Zero . Billy Wilder invited him to Hollywood in 1948 , where he finally received American citizenship in 1954. In the same year Colpet went to the Federal Republic of Germany and from then on lived in Munich . There he worked a. a. as a copywriter for the Münchner Lach- und Schießgesellschaft and translated the musicals West Side Story and Irma la Douce into German. He had lived in Switzerland since 1966, also because of racist hostility in Germany. Colpet had a close friendship not only with Wilder, but also with Marlene Dietrich , for whom he wrote lyrics.

His best-known work is the German text Tell me, where the flowers are to the anti-war song by Pete Seeger , which made Dietrich world famous in the German version. He also wrote a German text for Donovan's protest song Universal Soldier under the title Der Ewige Soldat , which was also intended for Marlene Dietrich. The melody composed by Buffy Sainte-Marie was then recorded at the request of the music producer Gerhard Mendelson with his discovery Dominique in 1965 - but without any measurable success.


Lyrics (selection)

Filmography (selection)

  • 1932: For once I don't want to worry
  • 1932: It's about everything
  • 1932: Scampolo, a street kid
  • 1932: The blue of the sky
  • 1933: Madame does not want children
  • 1934: Mauvaise graine
  • 1934: The crisis is over ( La crise est finie )
  • 1936: The Little Cavalier ( Mircha / Bubi )
  • 1938: Place de la Concorde
  • 1938: It should be the tithe ( Accord final )
  • 1938: Secret in the Secret Annex ( Derrière la façade )
  • 1939: But my Hans, he can do it ( Le grand élan )
  • 1939: Thieves and Love ( Battement de cœur )
  • 1941: Your first rendezvous ( Premier rendez-vous )
  • 1946: Heartbeat
  • 1948: Germany in the year zero ( Germania in Anno Zero )
  • 1955: Your first date
  • 1955: love without illusion
  • 1958: The man who couldn't say no ( Manden, der ikke ku 'sige nej )
  • 1960: ... and cheeky too!

Recordings / sound carriers

  • Max Colpet (Kolpe) - Author portrait in historical photos 1930–1937: Oops, now I'm coming! Performers: Marlene Dietrich; Hans Albers; Hilde Hildebrand; Willi Forst u. a. Duo-phon-Musikverlag, Berlin 2005: Edition Berliner Musenkinder 05523



  • Werner Röder; Herbert A. Strauss (Ed.): Biographisches Handbuch der Deutschensprachigen Emigration nach 1933 / International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933–1945 , Vol II, 1 Munich: Saur 1983, p. 193
  • Volker Kühn (Ed.): Germany's Awakening: Cabaret under the swastika; 1933-1945 . Volume 3. Weinheim: Quadriga, 1989 ISBN 3-88679-163-7 , p. 370
  • Raoul Konezni: Booklet with a short biography, the musicals, a chronological directory of all films (song texts, screenplay, dialogues, ideas, translation, assistant director) and a chronological directory of the television films / shows in: Max Colpet (Kolpe) - author portrait in historical recordings 1930 –1937: Oops, now I'm coming! , 2005
  • Kay Less : "In life, more is taken from you than given ...". Lexicon of filmmakers who emigrated from Germany and Austria between 1933 and 1945. A general overview. ACABUS Verlag, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-86282-049-8 , p. 126.

Web links