Alexander Granach

Alexander Granach (April 18, 1890 March 14, 1945) was a popular German actor in the 1920s and 1930s who immigrated to the United States in 1938.[2]

Alexander Granach
Alexander Granach, ca. 1920
Jessaja Gronach

(1890-04-18)April 18, 1890
DiedMarch 14, 1945(1945-03-14) (aged 54)
Resting placeMontefiore Cemetery
Other namesJessaja Granach
Years active1920–1944
Spouse(s)Martha Guttmann (m. 1914–1921) (div. one son)
Partner(s)Lotte Lieven (1933–1945) his death[1]

Life and career

Granach was born Jessaja Gronach in Werbowitz (Wierzbowce/Werbiwci) (Horodenka district, Austrian Galicia then, now Verbivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine), to Jewish parents and rose to theatrical prominence at the Volksbühne in Berlin. Granach entered films in 1922; among the most widely exhibited of his silent efforts was Nosferatu (1922), F.W. Murnau’s loose adaptation of Dracula, in which the actor was cast as Knock, the film’s counterpart to Renfield. He co-starred in such major early German talkies as Kameradschaft (1931).

The Jewish Granach fled to the Soviet Union when Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. When the Soviet Union also proved inhospitable, he settled in Hollywood, where he made his first American film appearance as Kopalski in Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939) for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Granach proved indispensable to film makers during the war years, effectively portraying both dedicated Nazis (he was Julius Streicher in The Hitler Gang, 1944) and loyal anti-fascists. He portrayed Gestapo Inspector Alois Gruber in Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Also Die! (1943). His last film appearance was in MGM's The Seventh Cross (1944), in which almost the entire supporting cast was prominent European refugees.

Granach died on March 14, 1945, in New York from a pulmonary embolism following an appendectomy. He was buried in Montefiore Cemetery in Springfield Gardens, Queens.[3] Granach's autobiography, There Goes an Actor (1945) was republished in 2010 under the new title, From the Shtetl to the Stage: The Odyssey of a Wandering Actor (Transaction Publishers). His son, Gad Granach, lived in Jerusalem and wrote his own memoirs with many references to his father.

Partial filmography


  • Alexander Granach: There Goes an Actor, Doubleday, Dorian and Co, Inc., Garden City 1945, ASIN B0007DSBEM
  • Alexander Granach: Da geht ein Mensch, Ölbaum-Verlag, Augsburg 2003, (Neuauflage) ISBN 3-927217-38-7
  • Alexander Granach: From the Shtetl to the Stage: The Odyssey of a Wandering Actor. Transaction Publishers, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4128-1347-1
  • Albert Klein and Raya Kruk: Alexander Granach: fast verwehte Spuren, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-108-X
  • Alexander Granach: Mémoires d'un gardien de bordel, Anatolia, Paris 2009, ISBN 978-2-35406-040-4
  • Gad Granach: Heimat los!, Ölbaum-Verlag, Augsburg 1997, ISBN 3-927217-31-X
  • Gad Granach: Where Is Home? Stories from the Life of a German-Jewish Émigré, Atara Press, Los Angeles 2009, ISBN 978-0-9822251-1-0


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