Ernst Busch (actor)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Busch[1][2] (22 January 1900 – 8 June 1980) was a German singer and actor.

Ernst Busch
Ernst Busch, 1946
Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Busch

(1900-01-22)22 January 1900
Died8 June 1980(1980-06-08) (aged 80)
Occupationsinger, actor
Spouse(s)Eva Zimmermann
AwardsLenin Peace Prize


Busch originated from a Kiel worker family. He started in life as a shipyard worker before he decided to make use of his acting and singing talent.[3][4]

Busch first rose to prominence as an interpreter of political songs, particularly those of Kurt Tucholsky, in the Berlin Kabarett scene of the 1920s. He starred in the original 1928 production of Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera, as well as the subsequent 1931 film by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. He also appeared in the movie Kuhle Wampe.

A lifelong communist, Busch fled Nazi Germany in 1933, accompanied by his wife, Eva Busch, and with the Gestapo on his heels, initially settling in the Netherlands. By 1938 they had divorced, without acrimony, as their lives diverged.[5] Eva settled in Paris while Ernst initially made his home in the Soviet Union where he worked with Gustav von Wangenheim on the 1935 film "Kämpfer" ("Fighters"). In 1937 he joined the International Brigades to fight against the Nationalists in Spain. His wartime songs were then recorded and broadcast by Radio Barcelona and Radio Madrid. After the Spanish Republic fell to General Franco, Busch migrated to Belgium where he was interned during the German occupation and later imprisoned in Camp Gurs, France and Berlin. Freed by the Red Army in 1945, he settled in East Berlin, where he acted in the first play to be produced in the American-occupied zone, Robert Ardrey's Thunder Rock.[6][7] He would go on to start his own record label and work with Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator at the "Berliner Ensemble". A beloved figure in the German Democratic Republic, he is best remembered for his performance in the title role of Brecht's Life of Galileo and his recordings of workers songs, including many written by Hanns Eisler. He also made a memorable recording of "Peat Bog Soldiers".

Recordings of Spanish Civil War songs (incomplete list)

From "Canciones de las Brigadas Internacionales" and "Solidarität"

  • Adelante Campesinos
  • Am Rio Jarama – "On the Jarama Front"
  • Ballade der XI Brigade on YouTube / Lied von der XI Brigade – "Song of the XIth Brigade"
  • Los Campesinos – "The Peasants"
  • Las Compañías de Acero
  • Los Cuatro Generales
  • Himno de Riego / Riego Hymne – "Colonel Riego's Hymn"
  • Hans Beimler
  • Des Lied von der Einheitsfront' / Einheitsfrontlied
  • Lied der Internationalen Brigaden' / Lied Der Interbrigaden – "Song of the International Brigades"
  • Mamita Mia
  • Die Moorsoldaten – "Peat Bog Soldiers"
  • Nuestra Bandera – "Our Flag"
  • Peter, Mein Kamerad – "Peter, My Comrade"
  • "Spaniens Himmel" or "Die Thälmann-Kolonne" – "Spain's Heaven" or "The Thälmann Battalion"[8] (Page 30f)

Recordings of Second World War and other songs (incomplete list)

  • Ach Ihr Wege
  • Aufbaulied
  • Die Armeen Europas
  • Ballade von den Säckeschmeißern
  • Der Barrikaden
  • Dank Euch Ihr Sowjetsoldaten
  • "Das Lied vom SA-Mann"
  • Diplomaten
  • Der Graben
  • Der heimliche Aufmarsch
  • Es Kommt der Tag
  • Frieden der Welt
  • Kämpfen wie Lenin
  • Kampflied gegen den Faschismus
  • Korea
  • Lenin
  • Lied der Bergarbeiter
  • Lied der Interbrigaden
  • Lied der Partei
  • Lied des Werktätigen
  • Lied vom Adler Stalin
  • Lied vom Vaterland
  • Linker Marsch
  • Links Rechts
  • Lob des Kommunismus
  • Marsch der Antifaschisten
  • Der Marsch Ins Dritte Reich
  • Matrosen von Kronstadt
  • Der rote Wedding
  • Sehnsucht nach der Heimat
  • Solidaritätslied
  • Stalin Freund Genosse
  • Trotz alledem
  • Vorwärts Bolschewik

Awards, medals, and recognition

Germany's most prestigious school for stage acting and directing is named after the actor, the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hochschule für Schauspielkunst "Ernst Busch", HFS) in Berlin. Ernst Busch was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize for 1970–71.

Selected filmography

See also


  1. Ernst Busch – ein Jahrhundertleben.
  2. Karl Siebig. "Ich geh' mit dem Jahrhundert mit" : Ernst Busch – eine Dokumentation. Rowohlt (1980). ISBN 9783499251498. p. 13.
  3. Michel Stermann " Dienstag geh ich ins Theater " – Ernst Busch – Von der Werft zur Bühne 1917–1920, TwentySix, 2017,ISBN 9783740726683, p. 7.
  4. Michel Stermann: My Maman Grete – An educator from Germany for orphans of Holocaust victims in France and other family portraits. Twentysix Publishing, Norderstedt 2018, ISBN 978-3-74074-400-7, p. 141.
  5. Eike Stedefeldt (18 September 1996). "Ich habe zu viele Leben gelebt Zwischen Berlin, Paris und Ravensbrück". "Die Scheidung war kein Mangel an Liebe, sondern unsere Ehe war einfach unmöglich." – Eva Busch. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  6. Aldgate, Anthony et. al. Britain Can Take It: The British Cinema in the Second World War 2nd ed. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007. pp. 178. Print.
  7. Ernst Busch – ein Jahrhundertleben.
  8. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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