Conrad Veidt(Hans Walter Konrad Veidt)

Autograph card: Conrad Veidt
Autograph card by Conrad Veidt with a personal dedication for someone involved in the film production, 1929
Deutsche Kinemathek

Conrad Veidt(Hans Walter Konrad Veidt)

 […] dieses Sich-Treu-Bleiben war es, das ihn dann wahrscheinlich zu dem schwersten Schritt seines Lebens veranlaßte: sich für immer von dem Land seiner Geburt loszusagen, ein Schritt, der durch keinerlei äußeren Zwang, sondern einzig und allein aus innerer Überzeugung diktiert war […].

[…] it was this remaining-true-to-oneself that probably led him to take the hardest step of his life: to renounce forever the land of his birth, a step that was in no way forced upon him by someone else but came solely from inner conviction […]. (ed. trans.)

Erich Pommer, Obituary for Conrad Veidt, Aufbau, 9 April 1943

Bornon 22 January 1893 in Berlin, Germany
Diedon 3 April 1943 in Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)
ExileGreat Britain (United Kingdom), United States of America

Conrad Veidt was on stage for the first time at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in 1913. He starred in numerous productions by Max Reinhardt over the following years. In 1916 his silent film career took off and reached its first climax with the role of Cesare in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). In the following years Veidt embodied mainly exotic and demonic figures and became a star of Weimar cinema. Between 1926 and 1929 he lived and worked in Hollywood, returning to Germany when talking films began to appear. In 1932 Veidt was hired for a British production for the first time. In the year that Hitler came to power, he played Gessler in the remake of Wilhem Tell by Heinz Paul, a German-Swiss co-production. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels was determined to keep the film star in Germany but Veidt – who was married to a Jew – decided to go into exile in London, where he showed unmistakably what he thought of the anti-Semitic German government in his roles in The Wandering Jew (1933, German title Ashaver, der ewige Jude) and Jew Süss (1934, German title Jud Süß). He lived and worked in the UK until 1940 and then, owing to the fact his latest film The Thief of Bagdad (1940) was to be completed in Hollywood as a result of the war, moved to the USA for a second time. There he played, as many other emigrant German actors, primarily Nazi roles. He shone once again in the role of the bad guy as Major Strasser in Casablanca, his penultimate film.

Selected works:
Different from  the Others, 1919
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920
The Man who Laughs, 1928
Jew Süss, 1934
The Thief of Bagdad, 1940
Casablanca, 1942