Hauptmann, Elisabeth

BORN 20 Jun 1897, Peckelsheim, Westfalen - DIED 20 Apr 1973, Berlin
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof, Chausseestrasse (CU6-6-5)

Daughter of a medical doctor. She was educated as a teacher and worked in that profession near the border of Poland. In 1922 she went to Berlin, where she worked as a secretary. In 1924 she met Bertold Brecht for the first time and in 1925 she worked as his editor for "Mann ist Mann" and "Die Hauspostille" for the Kiepenheuer publishing house.

She collaborated with Brecht on further projects and in 1927 she left Kiepenhauer and became a free lance author and translator. Her translation of "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay was the basis for "Die Dreigroschenoper" by Weill and Brecht and she was responsible for the story of "Happy End".

After Brecht left Germany for the nazis in 1933 she visited him in Denmark and was arrested after her return. After her release she moved to Paris and in 1934 she left for New York. She lived with her sister in St. Louis where she was a teacher at a high school.

In 1941 she returned to New York where she had an affair with the socialist Horst Baerensprung. After he left for Europe in 1946 she worked more frequently for Brecht and she wrote scripts for movies. In 1948 she married the composer Paul Dessau.

She followed Brecht back to Europe in 1949 and divorced Dessau in 1952. In 1954 she was officially engaged as a dramatist at Brecht's Berliner Ensemble. After Brecht's death in 1956 she published his works at the Suhrkamp publishing house. In 1961 she received the Lessing Prize of East Germany.

• Husband: Dessau, Paul (1949-1952, Los Angeles, California)

Related persons
• was the lover of Brecht, Bertolt
• cooperated with Brecht, Bertolt


The grave of Elisabeth Hauptmann at the Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof, Berlin.
Picture by Androom (16 Aug 2010)


• Hammer, Klaus, Historische Friedhöfe & Grabmäler in Berlin, Stattbuch Verlag, Berlin, 1994
Internet-Portal "Westfälische Geschichte"

Hauptmann, Ivo

Published: 05 Dec 2010
Last update: 11 Feb 2023