|Born||(1913-03-02)2 March 1913|
|Died||3 September 1991(1991-09-03) (aged 78)|
Falk Harnack (2 March 1913 – 3 September 1991) was a German director and screenwriter.
Harnack was from a family of scholars, artists and scientists, several of whom were active in the anti-Nazi Resistance and paid with their lives.
Falk Erich Walter Harnack was the younger son of painter Clara Harnack, née Reichau, and literary historian Otto Harnack; a nephew of theologian Adolf von Harnack and Erich Harnack, professor of pharmacology and chemistry; the grandson of theologian Theodosius Harnack and the younger brother of jurist and German Resistance fighter Arvid Harnack.
He never got to know his father, who committed suicide in 1914.
These acquaintances made a big impression on him, so that he recoiled from Nazi propaganda.
He worked there as a director until 1940, when he was drafted into the Wehrmacht.
In 1942, Hans Scholl, Alexander Schmorell and other members of the Munich Resistance group the White Rose got in touch with Harnack through Lilo Ramdohr, a mutual friend who had gone to school with Harnack.
Harnack put them in touch with his cousins, Klaus and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
That same year, the Gestapo intercepted communications revealing the existence of the Red Orchestra and leading to numerous arrests.
Many of those arrested were later executed, including Harnack's brother on 22 December 1942, and on 16 February 1943 his sister-in-law, Mildred Harnack, an American citizen.
During this period, Ramdohr was engaged to Falk Harnack, which Arvid mentioned in his farewell letter to his family, written hours before his execution.
Though Harnack's brother had just been executed, he went to Munich to meet with Sophie and Hans Scholl on 3 February 1943.
He and Hans Scholl agreed to meet again on 25 February but Harnack waited in vain; Scholl had already been arrested and executed, along with his sister.
Of the lot, Harnack was the only one acquitted; the others were found guilty and condemned to death, some executed the same day they were tried at the Volksgerichtshof, the civilian "People's Court".
On 19 April 1943, Harnack was acquitted because of a lack of evidence and "unique special circumstances".
He then joined the Greek partisans fighting the Nazis, working with the Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) and co-founded the Anti-Fascist Committee for a Free Germany with Gerhard Reinhardt, becoming leader of the organization.
In 1947, he began working at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.
The main character carries out a Nazi execution, though he ruins his business, marriage and life over it.
One such adviser said, "[the film had] an undesired and deleterious effect on people in the GDR, as it does not depict hatred of fascism, but rather pity for the murderers.” The government banned the movie within weeks.
Poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht remarked after the banning, “It is important to emphasize that there can be no sympathy for a Nazi executioner."
From the end of the 1950s, however, he worked almost exclusively in television.
He also wrote the screenplays for many of his films.
From 1962 to 1965, he was the leading director of the newly founded German television station, ZDF.
Subsequently, he worked primarily as a free lance.
In addition to entertainment, he also made challenging films, which sometimes dealt with Germany's Nazi era and the Resistance, such as his 1955 release The Plot to Assassinate Hitler (Der 20.
In 1962, he directed for television, Jeder stirbt für sich allein, an adaptation of Hans Fallada's novel, Every Man Dies Alone, based on the story of Otto and Elise Hampel, a working class couple who became involved in the anti-Nazi Resistance, failed in their efforts and were executed.
Recognition and personal
About Harnack's work, German author Gerhard Schoenberner remarked, “At a time when West German postwar film had sunk to its artistic and political low, his work set new standards for the dictates of commerce and the false glorification of the past that had become fashionable during the Adenauer period as a result of the Cold War.”
Harnack was married to German actress Käthe Braun, who was often in his films.
He died on 3 September 1991 after a long illness.
- 1940 Goethe Medal of the German National Theater Weimar
- 1952 DEFA, Gold pin
- 1959 Guild of the German Stage, Silver pin
- 1977 Honorary Certificate, Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime
- 1983 Filmband in Gold for "Longstanding and Excellent Work in German Film"
- 1989 Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Officer's Cross
- 1951: The Axe of Wandsbek (based on a novel by Arnold Zweig) – with Erwin Geschonneck, Käthe Braun, Claus Holm, Gisela May
- 1954: Roman eines Frauenarztes (based on a novel by Curt Riess ) – with Rudolf Prack, Anne-Marie Blanc, Winnie Markus, Jan Hendriks
- 1955: The Plot to Assassinate Hitler – with Wolfgang Preiss, Annemarie Düringer, Wolfgang Büttner
- 1956: Night of Decision – with Carl Raddatz, Hilde Krahl, Albert Lieven
- 1956: The Story of Anastasia – with Lilli Palmer, Ivan Desny, Ellen Schwiers, Tilla Durieux
- 1957: The Night of the Storm – with Lilli Palmer, Ivan Desny, Susanne Cramer, Siegfried Schürenberg
- 1958: Restless Night (based on a story by Albrecht Goes) – with Bernhard Wicki, Ulla Jacobsson, Hansjörg Felmy
- 1959: Arzt ohne Gewissen  – with Ewald Balser, Wolfgang Preiss, Barbara Rütting, Wolfgang Kieling
- 1959: Der Fall Pinedus (TV film, based on a play by Paolo Levi ) – with Alfred Balthoff, Franz Schafheitlin, Fritz Tillmann, Hans-Christian Blech
- 1960: Der Prozess Mary Dugan (TV film, based on The Trial of Mary Dugan) – with Anaid Iplicjian
- 1961: Die Marquise von Arcis (TV film, based on a play by Carl Sternheim) – with Alexander Kerst, Hilde Krahl, Brigitte Mira, Uta Sax
- 1962: Jeder stirbt für sich allein (TV film, based on Every Man Dies Alone) – with Edith Schultze-Westrum, Alfred Schieske, Anneli Granget, Hartmut Reck
- 1963: Die Wölfe (TV film, based on a play by Romain Rolland) – with Thomas Holtzmann, Martin Hirthe, Kurt Pieritz
- 1964: Manchmal spielt der Himmel mit (TV film) – with Wolf Ackva, Isolde Bräuner, Sascha Hehn
- 1964: Pamela (TV film, based on Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded) – with Veronika Bayer, Christoph Bantzer
- 1964: Ein Frauenarzt klagt an – Angeklagt: Dr. Thomas – with Dieter Borsche, Anita Höfer, Dietmar Schönherr, Hans Nielsen, Inge Meysel
- 1964: Und nicht mehr Jessica (TV film, based on Point of No Return) – with Horst Naumann, Margot Trooger, Wolf Ackva, Wolfgang Büttner, Marthe Keller
- 1965: Der Gärtner von Toulouse (TV film, based on a play by Georg Kaiser)
- 1966: Weiß gibt auf (TV film, based on a play by Frederic Raphael) – with Rudolf Platte, Siegfried Lowitz, Friedrich Schoenfelder, Doris Kirchner
- 1966: Die Ersten und die Letzten (TV film, based on The First and the Last) – with Arno Assmann
- 1966: Wer rettet unseren Ackerknecht (TV film, based on Who'll Save the Plowboy? by Frank D. Gilroy) – with Friedrich G. Beckhaus, Eva Pflug, Michael Degen
- 1967: Ein Schlaf Gefangener (TV film, based on A Sleep of Prisoners) – with Walter Buschhoff, Fritz Wepper, Paul Dahlke, Hellmut Lange
- 1967: Kampf um Kautschuk (TV film) – with Klausjürgen Wussow
- 1968: Die schwarze Sonne (TV film, based on Verlöschende Feuer by Horst Lange) – with Christine Ostermayer, Friedhelm Ptok, Wolfgang Völz, Maria Sebaldt
- 1968: Unwiederbringlich (TV film, based on Irretrievable by Theodor Fontane) – with Lothar Blumhagen, Solveig Thomas, Lil Dagover, Karin Hübner
- 1970: Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin – Stunde der Entscheidung (TV film) – with Wolfgang Büttner, Gerd Baltus, Gisela Holzinger, Lis Verhoeven, Wolfgang Völz
- 1970: Peenemünde (two-part docudrama, TV) – with Dieter Kirchlechner, Wolfgang Preiss, Karl John, Heinz Engelmann
- 1971: Das Ding an sich und wie man es dreht (TV film) – with Friedrich G. Beckhaus, Friedrich W. Bauschulte, Horst Bollmann, Volkert Kraeft
- 1971: Ein Fall für Herrn Schmidt (TV film, based on a story by Wolfdietrich Schnurre) – with Klaus Schwarzkopf, Gaby Dohm, Heinz Meier, Käthe Braun
- 1973: Der Astronaut (TV film)
- 1973: Der Tote vom Pont Neuf (TV film)
- 1974: Der Verfolger (TV film, based on a novel by Günther Weisenborn) – with Gerd Böckmann, Kornelia Boje,
- 1974: Silverson (TV film) – with Herbert Bötticher, Gracia-Maria Kaus, Ernst Schröder, Isabell Stumpf
- 1975: Hier ruht George Dillon (TV film, based on Epitaph for George Dillon)
- 1976: Erika (TV film, based on a play by Ursula Krechel) – with Silvia Reize, Eva-Maria Bauer, Eva Brumby, Irmgard Riessen, Kyra Mladeck
- 1946: Bolwieser
- 1972: Androklus und der Löwe (adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion)
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falk Harnack.