Berlau-Lund, Ruth

BORN 24 Aug 1906, Charlottenlund, Gentofte - DIED 16 Jan 1974, Berlin: Charité Krankenhaus
GRAVE LOCATION Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischen Friedhof, Chausseestrasse (CU6)

Ruth Berlau was the daughter of the merchant Wilhelm Berlau, a German from Flensburg and a Danish mother. She grew up in Denmark. Her mother was unhappy in her marriage and attempted suicide, but she was discovered in time by Ruth and her sister and she was saved. Ruth broke off all contact with her father afterwards. When she was twenty she married Dr. Robert Lund, who was forty years old and had four children from an earlier marriage. He left her free to do what she wanted and in 1930 she travelled from Copenhagen to Paris on a bicycle. In France she was influenced by communism. Back in Copenhagen she started a career as an actress at the Royal Theatre. She also joined the Communist party and a few years later she was involved in the Spanish Civil War.

In 1933 in Denmark she met Bertold Brecht and his second wife Helene Weigel for the first time and she fell in love with him. Two years later they became lovers and in 1936 she divorced Lund after ten years of marriage. She started worked for Brecht as his secretary, but she also wrote and directed plays for him. In 1940 they all fled for the nazis to the USA. In 1944 she was pregnant by Brecht and he wanted to keep this a secret. Their son died a few days after his birth and she could never forgive Brecht.

After the war Brecht, Weigel and Ruth returned to Germany, where they worked in East Berlin. Her relation with Brecht was strained now and many of Brecht's friends turned their backs on her. After Brecht died in 1956 she was denied access to the "Berliner Ensemble" by Helene Weigel. The last part of her life was lonely and she died in 1974 at the Charité hospital in Berlin after she accidentally set fire to her bed with a cigarette. Like Brecht, she was buried at the Dorotheënstädtischen Friedhof in Berlin.

Related persons
• was the lover of Brecht, Bertolt


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


• Hammer, Klaus, Historische Friedhöfe & Grabmäler in Berlin, Stattbuch Verlag, Berlin, 1994
Wikipedia (DE)

Berliner, Arnold

Published: 04 Dec 2010
Last update: 04 Aug 2022