Eisler, Hanns

BORN 6 Jul 1898, Leipzig, Sachsen - DIED 6 Sep 1962, Berlin (Ost)
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof, Chausseestrasse (CH (Ehrengrab, 1. weg li., li. S.))

Hanns Eisler was the son of a Jewish philosopher, Rudolf Eisler. During the First World War he served in as Hungarian regiment and was wounded several times.

In 1920 he married the singer Charlotte Demant (1884-1970). They had a son in 1928, the painter Georg Eisler. Hanns Eisler became a pupil to Arnold Schönberg, who supported his work and in 1923 his "Piano Sonata No. 1" was performed in Prague. In 1925 he won the Art Prize of the City of Vienna. He moved to Berlin and his works were performed in Venice. In 1926 he quarreled with Schönberg and during the same year he applied for membership of the Communist Party, but for unknown reasons he never became a member.

When the nazis came to power he happened to be in Vienna and in 1935 he visited the US for the first time, sponsored by anti-Nazi artists. During his absence Charlotte Demant divorced him in Vienna. In 1936-1937 he was in Spain, where he married Louise Jolesch (born Von Gosztony). In 1938 he left for the USA, where he taught at a school for Social Research in New York. From 1942 onwards he worked as a composer and as a teacher in Los Angeles. He wrote for Brecht and scores for several movies. In Los Angelese a reconciliation with Schönberg took place and a friendship with Charles Chaplin started.

In 1948 he was forced to leave the USA because of his alleged sympathies for communism. He moved to East Berlin, where he became a member of the Academy of the Arts and a Professor at the Academy of Music. His libretto for his opera "Johann Faustus" was heavily criticized in 1953 and he left for Vienna for a while. In 1954 he was back in Berlin and he divorced Louise. On 26 Jun 1958 he married Stephanie Peschl. In 1960 he had a heart attack and in 1962 he died in Berlin.

Related persons
• cooperated with Brecht, Bertolt
• was a friend of Chaplin, Charles Spencer
• was pupil to Schönberg, Arnold


The grave of Hanns Eisler at the Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (26 Mar 2007)


Baedekers Berlin, Baedeker, München, 1996

Ekstein, Rudolf

Published: 17 Jun 2007
Last update: 27 Jan 2022