Paul Hörbiger

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Paul Hörbiger (1939)

Paul Hörbiger (born April 29, 1894 in Budapest , Austria-Hungary , † March 5, 1981 in Vienna ) was an Austrian actor .


Paul Hörbiger grew up as the son of the engineer Hanns Hörbiger and his wife Leopoldine with three brothers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire . In 1902 the family moved to Vienna. After graduating from the Stiftsgymnasium St. Paul im Lavanttal , Hörbiger volunteered in a mountain artillery regiment in 1914 during the First World War . Awarded several times, he was promoted to first lieutenant on November 1, 1918 . As a result of the war, his father lost all of his fortune, which he had invested in war bonds , and the family became impoverished.

More or less by chance, Paul got into acting. He graduated from the Otto drama school in Vienna and began his acting career in 1919 at the Reichenberg City Theater (now Liberec ) in Bohemia and from 1920 to 1926 at the Deutsches Theater in Prague . With an engagement at the Deutsches Theater Berlin from Max Reinhardt (1926 to 1940) Hörbiger made the big breakthrough. From 1929 he also played on the Baranowsky stages and at the comedians' cabaret .

In the 1930s, Paul Hörbiger became one of the most popular German-speaking actors with sound films. In his roles he embodied the type of a kind-hearted person with a great zest for life; Hörbiger found a congenial partner in Hans Moser . From 1940 to 1943 Paul Hörbiger could be seen in the ensemble of the Vienna Burgtheater . In 1943 he appeared at the Salzburg Festival as Papageno with Gusti Huber as partner in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte . In 1936 he founded the Algefa film with EW Emo and the Austrian consul Karl Künzel in Berlin .

Like many other artists, Hörbiger made himself available to Nazi propaganda in 1938 after the Anschluss of Austria to call for a “ referendum on the Anschluss of Austria to Germany ”, but subsequently turned away from the National Socialists. In his autobiography, he mentions that he, like his wife, voted "No" in the vote.

He used his popularity to help many Jewish colleagues from the Viennese artist scene to flee to Switzerland. In 1944, Hörbiger was put on the Gottbegnadeten list by Goebbels , so he was one of those “irreplaceable” artists who were exempt from front-line work and who were given a certain freedom of movement. Towards the end of the Second World War , Hörbiger joined a smaller resistance group that had been founded by the cafetier Richard Patsch in Vienna, and won other artists such as Theo Lingen and Oskar Sima for the resistance. However, he was by no means a figurehead of the resistance, as he claimed in his memoirs. He is likely to have overestimated his political status and his inviolability in Hitler's Reich when he signed a check for 3,000 Reichsmarks over the resistance group . When this became known, he was arrested in 1945 by the Nazi regime, imprisoned in the Vienna Regional Court and sentenced to death for high treason . The end of the war probably saved his life. Shortly before that, the German-language broadcaster BBC reported his death for propaganda reasons.

Honorary grave of Paul Hörbiger in the Vienna Central Cemetery (32C-52)

After the war, in contrast to his sister-in-law Paula Wessely , Paul Hörbiger was able to continue his career without interruption. With the box office hit Der Hofrat Geiger in 1947 he made a brilliant debut in post-war films. At the denazification commission he testified in favor of his brother Attila Hörbiger . While this played mainly theater in the 1950s, Paul was mainly seen in film and television. His best-known films during this period include Hallo Dienstmann , The Rape of the Sabine Women , A Queen's Girl Years , The German Masters and Charley's Aunt . In Carol Reed's international film production The Third Man , Hörbiger was seen alongside Joseph Cotten as a murdered doorman. From 1947 to 1949 Hörbiger was President of First Vienna FC 1894 .

In the 1950s, Paul Hörbiger invested a lot of energy privately in investigating the mysterious death of his third brother Alfred , who died on July 31, 1945 at the age of 54 in the Innsbruck University Clinic. While Attila Hörbiger believed in a natural death, Paul filed a complaint against unknown persons in 1951 on suspicion of murder. A total of 15 trials followed, including exhumations and autopsies of the body. This legal dispute also broke the relationship with his brother Attila Hörbiger. All proceedings were dropped in 1963 due to a lack of evidence.

In 1964 he recorded the music album Servus Wien together with Hans Moser . From the mid-1960s onwards, Paul Hörbiger devoted himself more to the theater, as he was too much committed to the role of the cozy Viennese in his film roles. From 1965 he was again a member of the Burgtheater ensemble. He also played in numerous television films . During this time he also reconciled with his brother.

Hörbiger's last premiere at the Burgtheater took place in 1979: Comedy of Vanity by Elias Canetti (directed by Hans Hollmann ). Hörbiger once again wore the typical cap of the Viennese servant, as in Franz Antel's film Hallo Dienstmann .

The actor family

Paul Hörbiger was the son of Hanns Hörbiger , the founder of the world ice theory , and the great-grandson of the organ builder Alois Hörbiger . He was the brother of Attila Hörbiger and the uncle of Elisabeth Orth , Christiane Hörbiger and Maresa Hörbiger , great-uncle of Cornelius Obonya and Manuel Witting . He was married to the actress Josepha "Pipa" Gettke since 1921 . The wedding was preceded by an assassination attempt on Paul Hörbiger. Josepha originally wanted to marry her fellow actor Rudolf Dietz. After she had left him for Hörbiger, Dietz ambushed the couple in an inn in the Moravian town of Wisowitz . He aimed the revolver at Josepha, but the shots hit Paul Hörbiger. The lung was shot through and a rib was pierced. Hörbiger was first taken to a psychiatric clinic near Wisowitz for initial medical care before he could be transported to Vienna, where he was operated on by Professor Paul Albrecht. On the hospital bed, Josepha promised to marry him.

His children were Christl (* March 17, 1922), Hansi (* 1926; † March 16, 1929), Monica (* May 5, 1930, the mother of Christian Tramitz and grandmother of Paul Sedlmeir ) and Thomas Hörbiger , who was also an actor and is the father of Mavie Hörbiger .

Filmography (selection)

Paul Hörbiger has appeared in over 250 films.


See also


  • Paul Hörbiger: I played for you. Memories . Recorded by Georg Markus . Herbig, 1979, ISBN 3-7766-1001-8 .
  • Michael Horowitz: Paul Hörbiger: Pictures of Life . Jugend und Volk, Vienna 1993, ISBN 3-224-17693-8 .
  • Herwig Würtz: Paul Hörbiger, Hans Moser: two Viennese acting legends . City of Vienna, 1994.
  • Georg Markus : The Hörbigers. Family biography . Amalthea, Vienna, 2006. ISBN 3-85002-565-9 .
  • Christina Höfferer and Andreas Kloner: Hörbiger. A family constellation . ORF radio feature 2008, 54 minutes.

Web links

Commons : Paul Hörbiger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wiener Künstler zum April 10th In: Neues Wiener Journal of April 7th 1938, p. 13.
  2. Paul Hörbiger: I played for you . Herbig, Munich 1980, p. 242.
  3. a b How Austrian audience favorites came to terms with the Nazi regime In: Profile from February 23, 2010.
  4. Georg Markus: The Hörbigers: Biography of a Family . Amalthea, 2006, ISBN 3-85002-565-9 .
  5. Based on the novel Ilona Beck by Oswald Richter, Richter-Tersik. There is a 32-page advertising leaflet in the inventory of DNB Leipzig