Angelica Domröse

Portrait: Angelica Domröse
Angelica Domröse, still photograph from the film Die zweite Haut, 1982

Angelica Domröse

Berlin theatre actress and DEFA film star

Ich konnte dieses Land nicht mehr ertragen, nicht seinen geistigen Kartoffelsuppengeruch, nicht seine kleinbürgerliche Selbstgerechtigkeit. Ich wollte raus. Bis jetzt hatten wir mit diesem Gedanken gespielt, wenn wir meinten, es nicht mehr aushalten zu können. Denn allein der Gedanke an diese Möglichkeit ließ freier atmen. Nun war es ernst, und wir erschraken selber, als wir es zum ersten Mal bemerkten.

[I could no longer stand the country, not its spiritual smell of potato soup, nor its petit bourgeois self-righteousness. I wanted to get out. So far we had only played with this idea, whenever we thought we were unable to endure it any longer. Because just the thought of that possibility was to breathe more freely. Now things were serious, and when we noticed this for the first time we were terrified. (ed. trans.)]

Angelica Domröse, Ich fang mich selbst ein, 2003

Born in Berlin, Germany
ExileFederal Republic of Germany

Together with her second husband Hilmar Thate, the actress Angelica Domröse joined the circle of those artists who left East Germany in protest against the 1976 deportation of Wolf Biermann. Finding her work increasingly hindered, she emigrated permanently to the Federal Republic in 1980. Considered one of the most famous actresses of the GDR, she could look back on a remarkable career in East German theatre and especially in DEFA film productions. After playing the lead role in Heiner Carow's Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula, 1973), she was considered amongst the GDR's most famous actresses. Under Carow's directorship she later played in Bis daß der Tod euch scheidet (Till death do us part, 1978) and Verfehlung (Misconduct, 1991), material which dealt with problematic relationships in socialist Germany.

In the Federal Republic, Angelica Domröse devoted herself to extensive theatre roles. Her first West German TV roles were often made in collaboration with other film artists who had emigrated from East Germany such as Egon Günther and Frank Beyer. In 2003 Domröse published her autobiography, Ich fang mich selbst ein (Catching up with Myself), in which she recapitulates her life and her two careers in East and West Germany. On the subject of her emigration, she mused in an interview in 2002: "I was always afraid they would take away my passport. I was always afraid they would change their mind and we wouldn’t be allowed to move. It was harassment, but how you fight back against harassment? It really got to us for a long time." (ed. trans.)

Selected works:
Verwirrung der Liebe (GDR 1959, director: Slátan Dudow)
Papas neue Freundin (GDR 1960, director: Georg Leopold)
Die Legende von Paul und Paula (GDR 1973, director: Heiner Carow)
Fraulein – Ein deutsches Melodram (FRD 1986, director: Michael Haneke)
Bis zum Horizont, dann links! (FRD 2012, director: Bernd Böhlich)

Further reading:
Blum, Frank: Angelica mit C. Die Schauspielerin Angelica Domröse. Frankfurt am Main / Bern / New York 1992
Domröse, Angelica: Ich fang mich selbst ein. Mein Leben. Bergisch Gladbach 2003
Funke, Christoph / Kranz, Dieter: Angelica Domröse. Berlin 1976