Krauss, Werner

BORN 23 Jun 1884, Gestungshausen, Bayern (near Coburg) - DIED 20 Oct 1959, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 32 C, Nummer 22 (ashes))

Werner Krauss was born near Coburg as the son of a postman. His parents wanted him to becom a teacher and he was educated for that purpose. After he was removed from his school after working for a travelling group of actors he decided to become an actor himself. In 1903 he debuted at the Stadttheater in Guben.

He worked at Nürnberg, Dresden and Müchen before he went to Berlin in 1913. There he was engaged at the Max Reinhardt's Deutsches theater. In 1908 he had married Paula Saenger, who bore him a son, Egon, in 1913.

After several small parts he enjoyed his first success in Frank Wedekind's "Musik". He also appeared in movies. In 1920 he had the main part in "Das Cabinet des. Dr. Caligari", where he looked older than his 35 years. In 1924 he was Jack the Ripper in "Das Wachsfigurenkabinett".

He was a member of the Berliner Staatstheater from 1924 until 1926 and from 1933 until 1944. In 1930 his wife Paula committed suicide after she realized he had an affair with Maria Bard when she saw them on the stage together. He married Bard in 1931 and divorced her in 1940 before she committed suicide as well in 1944.

In 1933 he was Napoleon in "Hundert Tage" at the Burgtheater in Vienna and he was received by the co-author of the play, Mussolini. Goebbels made him deputy president of the Reichstheaterkammer. In 1940 he married Liselotte Graf (1910-1993) and in the same year he played Rabbi Löw in Veit Harlans's propaganda movie "Jud Süss".

After the war he was fined for his cooperation with the nazis and he became an Austrian. In 1951 he was back on the stage in Recklinghausen and in 1954 he was rehabilitated. In 1954 he received the Iffland-ring, an important theatre prize. His autobiography "Das Schauspiel meines Lebens" was published in 1958. He died in Vienna in 1959.

28/3/1929Performance of Frank Wedekind's "Der Marquis von Keith" in honour of the recently deceased Albert Steinrück. It took place at the Schauspielhaus at the Gendarmemarkt in Belrin. Director was Leopold Jessner and Heinrich Mann speeched. Among the participating actors were Heinrich George, Werner Krauss, Carola Neher, Tilla Durieux, Jakob Tiedtke, Conrad Veidt, Max Pallenberg, Elisabeth Bergner, Paul Wegener, Hans Albers, Käthe Dorsch and Veit Harlan. [Albers, Hans][Bergner, Elisabeth][Brausewetter, Hans][Dietrich, Marlene][Durieux, Tilla][George, Heinrich][Goetz, Curt][Harlan, Veit][Körber, Hilde][Kortner, Fritz][Mann, Heinrich][Pallenberg, Max][Steinrück, Albert][Veidt, Conrad][Wedekind, Frank][Wedekind, Tilly][Wegener, Paul]
5/3/1931Premiere of Zuckmayer's "Der Hauptmann von Köpenick" in Berlin. The satirical play was written by Carl Zuckmayer's and staged by Heinz Hilpert at the Deutschen Theater. Werner Krauss acted the title part. [Hilpert, Heinz]
17/9/1932Paula Wessely performs in Hauptmann's "Rose Bernd" at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. This was her breakthrough, both the audience and the critics were enthousiastic. Alfred Kerr praised her in the Berliner Tagblatt and Werner Krauss was deeply impressed. The director of the play was Karl Heinz Martin. [Kerr, Alfred][Martin, Karl Heinz][Wessely, Paula]


The grave of Werner Krauss at the Zentralfiedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (26 Aug 2002)


• Benz, Wolfgang/Hermann, Biographisches Lexicon zur Weimarer Republik, Beck, München, 1988
• Budig, Robert S. et al, Ehrengräber am Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Compress Verlag Wien, Wien
Werner Krauß
Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (Zuckmayer) – Wikipedia
Paula Wessely – Wikipedia

Krebs-Brenning, Mary

Published: 17 Dec 2006
Last update: 10 Jun 2023