The film star of the Nazis and his love for a Jewish woman
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Hans Albers was one of the celebrated stars of Ufa. The Hamburger was considered a daredevil and a heartthrob. The focus of a documentary drama on NDR is now the love for the Jew Hansi Burg, which did not end with Burg’s flight from the Nazis.
June 29, 1960, Hamburg: Thousands of people have come to the Ohlsdorf cemetery to say goodbye to their idol, Hans Albers. “Hans is going on his last journey, and everyone has come,” says a woman’s voice from the off. “A rush as if a king had died. But he was. ”The voice belongs to Hansi Burg, his great love. A Jew whom he betrayed for his career under the National Socialists. Hans Albers was an addict and his own drug, she says. And she is also addicted, “addicted to him” – even if she had to pay a high price for it.
Who was this woman who loved the great Ufa star so much that she returned to him anyway after the end of the Second World War? The NDR docu-drama “Die Liebe des Hans Albers”, which will be broadcast on Wednesday at 9.45pm on Das Erste, wants to answer this question. The film tells, supplemented by original recordings and excerpts from Albers’ films, of the great love of two people who could not live without the other – even if they definitely suffered more from this love than he did.
In the spring of 1946, Hansi Burg (Picco von Groote) suddenly stands at the door of Hans Albers (Ken Duken) on Lake Starnberg. She lived in exile for eight years and is now a radio reporter for the British Army. First she throws out the woman who lives with him in the villa. Then she asks her lover uncomfortable questions: Why did you help so little? Why didn’t you save your Jewish friends? Why not my parents? “You were a star! You had completely different options, ”she accuses him.
In flashbacks, the haunting docudrama (director: Carsten Gutschmidt) tells the unprecedented career of “blond Hans”: Grew up as the son of a butcher in Hamburg-St. Georg, Albers wanted to go to the theater early on – but his parents were against it. He secretly took acting lessons and later moved to Berlin to seek his fortune. There he meets his childhood friend Hansi Burg again. The two are the perfect symbiosis: he is the actor with the “irresistible charm”, with a weakness for women, alcohol and gambling. She the disciplined one who managed him and skillfully selected his roles.
After his great theatrical success with Franz Molnar’s “Liliom” and more than 100 silent film roles, Albers played in the first German sound film “The Night Belongs to Us” in 1929 and shortly afterwards in “The Blue Angel” alongside Marlene Dietrich. This is followed by films such as “Bombs on Monte Carlo” (1931) and “FP1 does not answer” (1932) with the famous aviator song “Aviators, greet me the sun”.
When the National Socialists come to power, he uses sentences such as “I just don’t care about politics” and “The whole brown ghost could stay stolen from me”. In fact, Albers despised the Nazis and never appeared on the side of high-ranking Nazi functionaries – who saw in him the blond model Aryan. Nevertheless, he made one propaganda film after the other – and simply ignored the devastating consequences of the regime.
When the Nazis asked him to separate from his Jewish girlfriend, he officially separated from Hansi Burg, but continued to meet with her in secret. He later arranges a marriage with a Norwegian so that she can leave Germany. He never came up with the idea of coming along – he couldn’t give up fame for that. “I’m not a political person. I play heroes. But I am not. I want to please people, ”he states at the end.
The docu-drama runs on Wednesday, January 6th at 9.45 p.m. on ARD.