Go back

George Heinrich

Heinrich George

References

  • Fricke, K.: Spiel am Abgrund. Heinrich George. Eine politische Biographie (2000)
  • Maser, W.: Heinrich George. Mensch aus Erde gemacht. Die politische Biographie (1998)

Beginning in the early 1920s, Heinrich George was considered one of Germany's leading stage figures, renowned as a charismatic character actor. Initially, he sympathised with communism, but following the National Socialist's seizure of power in 1933, he adjusted to life under the Nazis and in 1943, was appointed director of Berlin's Schiller Theatre.

After the Third Reich was defeated, the Soviet People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) brought him in for interrogation several times. Finally, in July 1945, for having performed in a number of Nazi propaganda films, he was interned in the Soviet's "Special Camp No. 3." At Hohenschönhausen, he initially worked in the kitchens and repair yard before being assigned to the camp's theatre. Despite his imprisonment, he managed to send a series of heart-wrenching secret messages to his wife, Berta Drews, detailing both the catastrophic conditions in the camp and the intensity of his despair. In the summer of 1946, Heinrich George was transferred to the Sachsenhausen camp, where he died a few weeks later of untreated appendicitis. He was equally popular among the Soviet guards and the camp's inmates and was the only prisoner to be buried in a separate grave.

After reunification in 1990, a search was instigated for the grave, following former prisoners' leads on the location. It was found in an overgrown, wooded area. In 1994, Heinrich George's remains were moved to his final resting place in the Berlin-Zehlendorf cemetery. In 1998, the Russian authorities granted pardon for Heinrich George, clearing his name entirely.