Piscator, Erwin

DIRECTOR (GERMANY)
BORN 17 Dec 1893, Greifenstein (near Wetzlar) - DIED 30 Mar 1966, Starnberg, Bayern
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf, Potsdamer Chaussee 75-77 (Feld 050/82 (old: Abt. XX-W-688/690) (Ehrengrab))

Erwin Piscator had to break off his studies in art and philosophy because he was sent to the front during the First World War in 1915. In 1917/1918 he worked as a director and an actor at a front theatre in Kortrijk (Belgium).

Back in Germany he worked in Berlin at the "Proletarischen Theater" and he managed the Central-Theater in Kreuzberg. From 1924 until 1927 he was the stage director of the Volksbühne. Later he had his own theatre at the Nollendorfplatz. His plays were of a left wing social and political nature. In 1928 his theatre went bankrupt and in 1929 he defended his ideas in "Das Politische Theater" ("The Political Theatre", but it was never published in English).

In 1931 he moved to the USSR, where he made the movie "Aufstand der Fischer von St. Barbara". In 1936 he went into exile in Paris, where he married the dancer Maria Ley on April 1917 at Neuilly-sur-Seine (among the wedding guests was Bertolt Brecht). She was the widow of AEG heir Frank Deutsch, who had killed himself in Paris.

In 1939 the couple left for the United States, where he was director of the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research. In 1951 he was forced to return to Germany because to avoid being arrested for his communist views. Maria Ley took over the school and lived in New York until her death.

In 1962 he became the manager of the Freie Volksbühne in Berlin, where he made documentary theatre. One of his themes was Germany's nazi past. In 1965 he was elected a member of the Academy of Art. He died in 1966. Maria Ley lived until 1999, reaching the age of 101. She was buried beside her husband at the Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf in Berlin on 17 Dec 1999.

Family
• Wife: Ley-Piscator, Maria

Related persons
• cooperated with Durieux, Tilla
• cooperated with Rehfisch, Hans

Sources
Biographie: Erwin Piscator, 1893-1966
Elysium Between Two Continents - Erwin Piscator Award
• Mende, Hans-Jürgen, Lexicon Berliner Grabstätten, Haude & Spener, 2005
Baedeker Berlin, Baedeker Verlag, Stuttgart, 1994
Wikipedia (English)

Images

The grave of Erwin Piscator and Maria Ley at the Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf, Berlin.
Picture by androom (24 Aug 2006)

 

The grave of Erwin Piscator and Maria Ley at the Waldfriedhof Zehlendorf, Berlin.
Picture by androom (24 Aug 2006)

 


Pissarro, Camille

Published: 27 Oct 2006
Last update: 12 Dec 2009