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The Artur Brauner Collection at Our Library

Black-and-white photograph: Artur Brauner stands among other mourners, holding his left hand to his chin and angling his right arm

Artur Brauner at Heinz Galinski’s funeral
Jewish Museum Berlin, Photo: Michael Kerstgens

The Media Library in our Reading Room presents a selection of the work of one of the most successful film producers in German post-war history. Artur Brauner was born in Łódź in 1918 as Abraham Brauner. He fled the Soviet Union in 1940. After the war, along with hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews, he traveled to the Western occupation zone of Germany. In 1946, in the ruins of post-war Berlin, he founded the Central Cinema Company (CCC) with his brother-in-law Joseph Einstein.

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green

Where

W. M. Blumenthal Academy, Library
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin Postal address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

Although he initially had no license to produce films, Brauner nonetheless began to do so the same year. After his comedy Herzkönig (King of Hearts), Soviet Military Administration supported him in making the artistically ambitious film Morituri in 1947, which addresses Nazi eliminationist antisemitism. Audiences spurned the film, sometimes even protested, and visitor numbers fell far short of expectations.

Despite this financial fiasco, Brauner's rise to the ranks of West Germany's leading filmmakers began at that time. In the following years, he produced nearly 250 feature-length films, many of them in his own film studio, which he established in 1950 in a former chemical weapons laboratory in the Haselhorst district of Berlin. A steady flow film and television productions by both CCC and outside companies were filmed there until the 1970s.

Brauner's film oeuvre reflects the spectrum of West German film in the post-war decades. It was dominated by light entertainment and rarely addressed serious issues. The CCC produced Heimatfilme (outdoorsy "homeland" films) and comedies as well as thrillers, erotic films, historical dramas, and adventure films. Time and again, Brauner, Fritz Lang, and Robert Siodmak hired directors who had emigrated after 1933.

Since beginning work in Berlin, Brauner appeared in public as a confident Jew and showed his support of the State of Israel in many ways. In the spirit of Morituri, Brauner's cinematic exploration since the 1980s addressed the persecution and murder of European Jewry in collaborations with notable directors such as Andrzej Wajda, István Szabó, and Agnieszka Holland.

Brauner died on 7 July 2019 in Berlin.

References

  • Brauner, Artur. Mich gibt's nur einmal. Rückblende eines Lebens (There's Just One Me: Flashback on a Life). Munich: Herbig, 1976
  • Dillmann-Kühn, Claudia. Artur Brauner und die CCC. Filmgeschäft, Produktionsalltag, Studiogeschichte (Artur Brauner and the CCC: The Film Business, Everyday Life in Production, Studio History, 1946–1990). Frankfurt am Main: German Film Museum, 1990.
  • Brauner, Alice, ed. CCC Filme in aller Welt (CCC Films Throughout the World). Berlin: CCC Film, 2013.
Artur Brauner

Artur Brauner is a German film producer and entrepreneur of Polish origin.

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Central Cinema Company (CCC)

CCC is a film production company founded in 1946 by Artur Brauner, its headquarters are in Berlin.

CCC Website

Fritz Lang

The Austrian-German filmmaker and screenwriter was born in 1890 Vienna and died in 1976 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Robert Siodmak

The German film director, was born in Dresden in 1900 and died in Locarno, Switzerland in 1973

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Andrzej Wajda

The Polish film and theatre director was born in 1926 in Suwałki, Poland.

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István Szabó

The Hungarian film director, screenwriter, and opera director was born in 1938 in Budapest to a Jewish family.

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Agnieszka Holland

The Polish film and television director and screenwriter was born in 1948 in Warsaw.

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Film Collection: Artur Brauner Collection (21)