Saladin Schmitt

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The grave of Saladin Schmitt in the Blumenstrasse cemetery in Bochum.

Saladin Schmitt (born September 18, 1883 in Bingen am Rhein , † March 14, 1951 in Bochum , actually Joseph Anton Schmitt , also working under the pseudonym Harald Hoffmann ) was director and theater manager .


Schmitt came from a family of wine merchants and mill owners who had lived in the lower Nahe for several generations, and the eldest son was named Saladin because, according to a family legend, an ancestor had participated in the crusades . When his older brother Saladin died, he took his first name.

After graduating from high school in Darmstadt in 1901, he studied German in Bonn and Berlin. In 1905 he did his doctorate with the Bonn Germanist and theater scholar Berthold Litzmann with a thesis on Friedrich Hebbel . In addition to his studies, he took under the pseudonym Harald Hoffmann at the drama school in Cologne with Max Martersteig lessons as an actor and director.

In the 1906/1907 season Schmitt worked as a dramaturge at the Stadttheater Elberfeld , after which he mainly wrote for the features section of the Kölner Tageblatt. From 1913 to 1915 he was a director at the Stadttheater Freiburg , and during the First World War he headed the German Theater in Brussels .

From 1919 to 1949 Saladin Schmitt was the director of the Schauspielhaus Bochum and from 1921 to 1935 at the same time of the Duisburg Opera . In Bochum he established the reputation of the with plays by Friedrich von Schiller , William Shakespeare and other classical authors , but also with works by the younger generation, such as Heinrich Eduard Jacob , whose play Beaumarchais and Sonnenfels he successfully staged on December 6, 1919 Theater .

From 1937 he was Vice President and from 1943 President of the German Shakespeare Society . Saladin Schmitt was replaced as general manager in 1949 when he tried to reinstate his former chief dramaturge Walter Thomas , who was considered controversial because of a National Socialist past; the removal was even demanded by a demonstration in front of the Bochum town hall .

Schmitt's homosexuality is first documented in his letters to Ernst Bertram , whom he met while studying together in Bonn. Their relationship ended when Bertram tied himself firmly to Ernst Glöckner . “Saladin Schmitt was open about his disposition. He knew numerous homosexuals and associated with them. ”During his brief engagement as chief director in Freiburg, he therefore got into“ considerable difficulties ”.

Schmitt was related to Stefan George as a third cousin . After a first personal encounter in 1905, some of Schmitt's poems appeared in the Blätter für die Kunst between 1909 and 1919 . A complete collection of the surviving poems and Schmitt's letters to George was published in 1964 by Robert Boehringer from George's estate. The following stanza from George's poem Secret Germany refers to Saladin Schmitt.

"I love the one who · my own blood ·
sang the best song after the best ..
Because once a precious good escaped him,
he casually broke his lute, ducked his forehead
intended for the laurel, quietly
walking between people."

- Stefan George : The New Reich: Secret Germany

The former Fürstenstrasse in Ehrenfeld has been named after him since 1955.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Saladin Schmitt: Those who went like that ; P. 71
  2. Jan Steinhaußen: “Aristocrats out of necessity” and their “philosophy of too high hanging grapes”: Nietzsche reception and literary production of homosexuals in the first decades of the 20th century: Thomas Mann, Stefan George, Ernst Bertram, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and others . a. ; Würzburg 2001; P. 33
  3. Uwe-K. Ketelsen: A theater and its city ; Cologne 1999 p. 83
  4. Saladin Schmitt: Those who went like that ; Afterword by Robert Boehringer; P. 71