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Famous People from Germany
(1861-02-25 - 1925-03-30 )
, Address in Berlin: Bernadottestr 90/92, Zehlendorf
An Austrian philosopher, educator, literary scholar, architect and playwright, Steiner is referred to as the founder of Anthroposophy, which he himself described as a "spiritual science" that guides "the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe." He is also known to many teachers as the man who developed Waldorf School movement – arguably the world's most extensive independent schooling system. Steiner's books bear titles like 'Investigations in Occultism' , 'How to Know Higher Worlds' and 'Ahrimanic Deception'. He generated an organic style of architecture for some seventeen buildings; the most representative of these are the two Goetheanums in Domach, Switzerland, designated as cultural centres. It was also in Domach where Steiner passed away in 1925.
(1863-12-12 - 1944-01-23 )
Berlin will not be a city of artists for long in any case.
This Norwegian painter and printmaker is considered to be his country's most gifted artist. The painter's profound treatment of emotional themes significantly influenced development of German Expressionism in the early 20th Century. Munch's obsession with humanity’s' dark side, which is reflected in his artwork, has its roots in his traumatic childhood experiences (the death of his mother and sister). His painting 'The Cry or The Scream' (1893) is often described as an image of existential torment and one of the world's greatest works of art. Other classic paintings by Munch include 'The Sick Child' (1886), 'Death in the Sickroom' (1893), 'Vampire' (1893-94), 'Ashes' (1894), 'The Kiss' (1895), 'Frieze of Life' (1897) and 'The Dance of Life' (1899-1900).
(1858-03-01 - 1918-09-28 )
, Address in Berlin: A house in the corner of Leipzigerstrasse and Friedrichstrasse
I love Germany, and therefore want it to live – to hell with all 'objective' justification of this will in terms of culture, ethics, history, or God knows what else.
Simmel was a representative of the first generation of German sociologists. Even today he remains famous as the author of 'The Philosophy of Money', 'The Metropolis and Mental Life' and 'The Stranger'. Although born in Berlin to a large Jewish family, he was raised,a Catholic. He studied philosophy and history at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he received a title and the position of 'privatdozent in 1885'. His lectures on philosophy, ethics, psychology and sociology attracted Berlin's intellectual elite. In 1903, along with Max Weber, Ferdinand Tönnies and Rudolf Goldscheid, he founded the German Society for Sociology. His works served as the core of the future theory of symbolic interactionism, in that he claimed that a society is a web of multiple human relations between individuals who are in constant interaction with each other. In 1890, Simmel married Gertud Kinel, who, writing under the pseudonym of Marie-Luise Enckendorf, was a philosopher herself, and the couple had a son. It wasn't until 1914 that he received a full professorship from the University of Strasbourg. Simmel was the author of hundreds of articles and about twenty books.He died from cancer in September of 1918, shortly before the end of World War I.
(1785-01-04 - 1863-09-20 )
Jacob Ludwig Carl was the elder of the famous Brothers Grimm. He was born at Hanau, Hesse-Kassel. In 1802, he enrolled at the University of Marburg to study law. In 1808, he had the honour of becoming a librarian in the service of Jerome Bonaparte, the king of Westphalia, and in 1813, he was appointed secretary to the Elector of the Kingdom of Hesse, which gave him an opportunity to attend the Congress of Vienna 1814–1815. In 1829, Jacob and his brother Wilhelm moved to Göttingen, where Jacob became a librarian and professor at the local university. However, when in 1837, he signed the protest against the King of Hanover's abolition of the state's constitution, he was banished from the kingdom, and returned to Kassel. In 1840, the brothers moved to Berlin, and both became professors and members of the Academy of Sciences. Jacob seldom lectured, concentrating more on writing the German Dictionary and other scholarly works concerning the history and grammar of the German language. Above all, he is remembered for collecting and publishing fairy tales and folk stories, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow-White and Rumpelstiltskin. He and Wilhelm began work on this project in 1812, and continued to publish new volumes throughout their lives. Jacob Grimm died in Berlin at the age of 88.
(1786-02-24 - 1863-09-20 )
Wilhelm Carl Grimm was born in Hanau in 1786, and followed his brother's Jacob's steps to the University of Marburg, where, from 1803, he studied law. In 1825 he married Henriette Dorothea Wild. After moving to the town of Göttingen in 1929, he became a junior librarian, and in 1837, he joined Wilhelm and five other university professors, known altogether as The Göttingen Seven, in the protest against the King of Hanover. Banned from the kingdom, the brothers eventually settled in Berlin. Wilhelm was an active lecturer as a professor. The Brothers Grimm started gathering German folk tales as early as 1803, and their first collection of 86, known as 'Children's and Household Tales', was published in 1812. Wilhelm died in Berlin and he is buried with his brother at the St. Matthäus Kirchhof Cemetery in Schöneberg. Before the Euro was introduced, the Grimms were depicted on the 1,000 Deutsche Mark banknote.
(1900-03-02 - 1950-04-03 )
, Address in Berlin: a pension on the Winetfeldplatz (West-Berlin)
Weill was an early 20th Century composer whose music is still often performed in classical, jazz and popular contexts. Born in Dessau to a Jewish family as the third of four children, he took music lessons from the age of 9, and his first surviving compositions were penned in 1913. Between 1915 and 1917, he studied piano and music theory under Albert Bing, and afterwards he enrolled in the Berlin Hochschule fuer Musik. The musician himself regarded 'Orphans Lieder' (1916) as a starting point in his composing career. In 1919, he won the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy scholarship for composition. In 1924, Wiell married Lotte Lenya, the actress and also the founder of the Kurt Weill Foundation, after her husband's death. In 1927, he began artistic cooperation with Bertolt Brecht, and a year later he composed music to 'The Threepenny Opera', from which the famous piece “Mack the Knife” comes. On March 4, 1933 'Der Silbersee' was Weill's last worked performed in Germany before World War II. He soon fled to Paris and later to London, where production of his operetta 'A Kingdom for a Cow' began, and in 1935 he and his wife arrived at New York harbour. He also travelled to Hollywood to work for film and theatre. Among his numerous compositions and songs, especially popular are 'Alabama Song' (from 'Mahagonny'), 'Surabaya Johnny' ('Happy End'), 'September Song' ('Knickerbocker Holiday') and 'My Ship' (from 'Lady in the Dark'). Weill died in New York at the age of 50.
(1898-02-10 - 1956-08-14 )
, Address in Berlin: Chausseestrasse 125, Mitte
Perhaps the most influential dramatist of the 20th Century, Bertolt Eugen Friedrich Brecht is frequently associated with The Threepenny Opera, for which music was written by the composer Kurt Weill. Born in Augsburg, Bavaria, he initially studied medicine in Munich, where, during World War I, he worked in a hospital as an orderly. At the age of 20, Brecht wrote Baal, his first full-length play. As the war ended, he went to study in Berlin, where he was influenced by a theatre critic, Herbert Ihering. At this time his first son, Frank, was born to Paula Banholzer, the artist's first love. In spite of this, Brecht married Marianne Zoff in 1922, and later Helene Weigel, with whom, in 1949, he established The Berliner Ensemble, a European theatre company. He believed in the educational role of theatre, and avoided realism in his plays such as Mother Courage and her Children or The Seven Deadly Sins. As Brecht was a Socialist throughout his life, he had to leave Germany in 1933. He lived in Denmark, and later in the USA, until his return in 1949. Among his other plays one should list The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Schweik in the Second World War and especially The Resistable Rise of Arturo Uli, the play in which he portrayed Hitler. Brecht also wrote poems and criticism. He died of a heart attack in Berlin, and is buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof on Chausseestrasse.
(1965-12-03 - )
When I am home in Berlin, I train four hours a day.
Born in Staaken (former East Germany, today a part of Berlin), she is a two-time Olympic Gold Medallist in figure skating and the champion of many European and world competitions. She attended a special sports school for talented children. From 1970 she trained under Jutta Müller. Witt's first victory came during the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, when, after strong competition with Rosalynn Sumners, she won the gold, becoming the pride of East Germany, and “GDR female athlete of the year.” She defended her Olympic title in 1988 in Calgary, where it turned out that she and her greatest rival, Debbie Thomas (US), both picked Bizet's 'Carmen' for their long programmes. After that victory, Kati, as she used to be called by fans and the media, could call herself a professional ice-skater, which was an unusual thing in GDR. She went on a 3-year tour throughout the United Stares, with the show 'Witt and Boitano Skating'. Later, she was also a star of the musical 'Holiday on Ice', and 1989 she starred in the film 'Carmen on Ice', which earned her an Emmy Award. She also took part in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, where she was 7th. Now Katarina Witt lives in Berlin. She is frequently as seen as a special guest for the première shows of 'Holiday on Ice'. She's also devoted to her charity foundation.