Hans Albers

Hans Philipp August Albers (22 September 1891 – 24 July 1960) was a German actor and singer. He was the biggest male movie star in Germany between 1930 and 1945 and one of the most popular German actors of the twentieth century.[1]

Hans Albers
Hans Albers
Hans Philipp August Albers

(1891-09-22)22 September 1891
Died24 July 1960(1960-07-24) (aged 68)
OccupationActor, singer
Years active1918–1960

Early life

Hans Albers was born in Hamburg, the son of a butcher, and grew up in the district of St. Georg. He was seriously interested in acting by his late teens and took acting classes without the knowledge of his parents. In 1915 Albers was drafted to serve in the German Army in World War I, but was wounded early on. After his release from the Hospital in Wiesbaden where he had been treated, he performed in the local Residenztheater in comedies, antics and operettas.[2] After the war Albers moved to Berlin, where he found work as a comedic actor in various Weimar-Era Berlin theatres. His breakthrough performance was that of a waiter in the play Verbrecher (Criminals). It was also in Berlin that Albers began a long-term relationship with Jewish actress Hansi Burg (1898–1975). The relationship ended only when he died in 1960.[2]

After roles in over one hundred silent films, Albers starred in the first German talkie Die Nacht gehört uns (The Night Belongs to Us) in 1929. Soon thereafter, Albers played big-mouthed strong man Mazeppa alongside Marlene Dietrich in her star-making classic Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel). Albers himself shot to fame in 1930 with the movie The Copper and constantly enhanced his star status with similar daredevil roles in the 1930s. He was probably at his best when teamed-up with fellow German movie legend Heinz Rühmann, as in Bombs on Monte Carlo (1931) and Der Mann, der Sherlock Holmes war (1937). Many of Albers' songs from his movies became huge hits and some even remain popular to this day.[2]

The 1930s and the Second World War

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Albers and his Jewish girlfriend Hansi Burg moved to Starnberger See in Bavaria. While Albers himself never showed public support for the Nazi regime, he became the most popular actor under Nazi rule. The actor nevertheless, avoided an overly close association in public. As the ultimate sign of his popularity, the Nazis even silently accepted his relationship with Hansi Burg for a long time. But Albers finally gave in to the pressure. Hansi Burg went to Switzerland and then to Great Britain in 1939, but they secretly remained a couple with him even managing to send her financial support. They were reunited after the war, when she returned to Germany in a British uniform.[2]

In 1943, Albers was paid a huge sum of money to star in UFA's big-budgeted anniversary picture Münchhausen but was careful not to give the impression that he was endorsing the National Socialist regime, which was indeed, never asked of him. Also in 1943, Albers starred in another classic German film Große Freiheit Nr. 7 with actress Ilse Werner. Some of the scenes are said to have been shot in Prague because of bomb damage to Hamburg. The sailing ship Padua for the outdoor scenes of the film has survived under Soviet and Russian flag until this day as Kruzenshtern.

After the Second World War

After World War II, well-funded Albers avoided the financial plight and professional banning many actors faced on account of his association with Hansi Burg. Nevertheless, German "heroes" were considered undesirable by the occupation government that wanted to promote their own. This accounted for a major break in his career and made him hard to cast. Eventually he found an opening with respectful wisdom-with-age type character parts with some public acclaim, but with these never again enjoyed the huge stardom of the 1930s and early 1940s. By the early 1950s, his age finally showed and his powerful presence and freshness was almost gone. This was promoted by his increasing alcoholism during the 1950s. Yet he remained active in movies until the very end.[2]


Hans Albers collapsed during a theater performance with massive internal bleeding[3] and died three months later on 24 July 1960 at a sanatorium in Kempfenhausen near Lake Starnberg at the age of 68. He was cremated and subsequently buried at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg, the city of his birth.[4][2]


Albers' name will forever be closely associated with his hometown of Hamburg, in particular the district of St. Pauli where there is a square named Hans-Albers-Platz in his honour. Today he is probably better known for his music than his films; many of his songs remain familiar to young German people even today.

Outside of Northern Europe, Albers remains virtually unknown; however the image of an older man in a seaman's cap and raincoat playing accordion and singing remains familiar internationally. As a case in point, McDonald's used such an image in an American television ad campaign in 1986. Albers actually had no significant experience on the water, this being restricted to a one-day trip to Heligoland.

Many of Albers' songs were humorous tales of drunken, womanizing sailors on shore-leave, with double entendres such as "It hurts the first time, but with time, you get used to it" in reference to a girl falling in love for the first time. Albers' songs were often peppered with expressions in Low German, which is spoken in Northern Germany. One of his signature songs is Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins, ("On the Reeperbahn at Half Past Midnight") which has become one of the best-known songs about Hamburg and also an unofficial anthem of the St. Pauli district where the Reeperbahn itself is located. Hans-Albers-Platz, one block south of the Reeperbahn, features a statue of Albers, created by the German artist Jörg Immendorff.


Silent films

Title Year Director Co-stars
Jahreszeiten des Lebens 1915 Franz Hofer Frida Richard
Die Tochter der Gräfin Stachowska 1917 Otto Rippert Hella Moja, Werner Krauss
Der Mut zur Sünde 1918 Heinrich Bolten-Baeckers and Robert Leffler Olga Desmond, Guido Schützendorf
Halkas Gelöbnis 1918 Alfred Halm Lya Mara
Das Spitzentuch der Fürstin Wolkowska 1918 Robert Reinert Maria Carmi
Am Scheidewege 1918 Alfred Halm Mady Christians
Liebe und Leben 1918 Walter Schmidthässler Käthe Haack
Die Dreizehn 1918 Alfred Halm Mady Christians
Irrwege der Liebe 1918 Josef Stein Margarete Kupfer, Victor Janson
Der Fluch des Nuri 1918 Carl Boese Hella Thornegg
Das Lied der Colombine 1918 Emil Justitz Olga Engl
Sadja 1918 Adolf Gärtner, Erik Lund Eva May
A Man's Girlhood 1919 Karl Grune Lotte Stein, Olga Engl
Die Tochter des Bajazzo 1919 Arthur Ullmann Emil Rameau
Das Tor der Freiheit 1919 Walter Schmidthässler Margarete Schön
Madeleine 1919 Siegfried Philippi Ria Jende, Olga Engl
The Princess of Urbino 1919 Paul Legband Ria Jende
Lola Montez 1919 Rudolf Walther-Fein Maria Zelenka
The Grand Babylon Hotel 1920 E.A. Dupont Max Landa
Die Schlange mit dem Mädchenkopf 1920 Rudolf Walther-Fein Ria Jende
Die 999. Nacht 1920 Fred Sauer Erna Morena, Bernhard Goetzke
Berlin W. 1920 Manfred Noa Tzwetta Tzatschewa, Meinhart Maur
Die Kronjuwelen des Herzogs von Rocheste 1920 Paul Legband Johannes Riemann, Ria Jende
The Hustler 1920 Emil Justitz Anita Berber
The Marquise of O 1920 Paul Legband Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur
Schieber 1921 Manfred Noa Tzwetta Tzatschewa, Hermann Picha
Taschendiebe 1921 Emil Justitz Erna Morena, Maria Zelenka
Sons of the Night 1921 Manfred Noa Ludwig Rex, Tzwetta Tzatschewa
Die große und die kleine Welt 1921 Max Mack Alfred Abel, Charlotte Ander
Menschenopfer 1922 Carl Wilhelm Alfred Abel,
The Mistress of the King 1922 Frederic Zelnik Erich Kaiser-Titz, Lya Mara
The Testament of Joe Sivers 1922 Conrad Wiene Karl Falkenberg
Lumpaci the Vagabond 1922 Carl Wilhelm Wilhelm Diegelmann, Josefine Dora
Sunken Worlds 1922 Siegfried Philippi Victor Varconi, Ria Jende
The False Dimitri 1922 Hans Steinhoff Alfred Abel, Agnes Straub
Irene of Gold 1923 Frederic Zelnik Olga Engl, Margarete Schlegel
Lyda Ssanin 1923 Frederic Zelnik Carl Auen, Lya Mara
Fräulein Raffke 1923 Richard Eichberg Werner Krauss, Lee Parry
The Tiger of Circus Farini 1923 Uwe Jens Krafft Helena Makowska, Hermann Picha
Inge Larsen 1923 Hans Steinhoff Henny Porten, Paul Otto
By Order of Pompadour 1924 Frederic Zelnik Lya Mara, Frida Richard
Hunted Men 1924 Johannes Riemann Lucy Doraine, Johannes Riemann
Guillotine 1924 Guido Parish Willy Fritsch, Marcella Albani
The Wonderful Adventure 1924 Manfred Noa Vilma Bánky, Georg Alexander
The Venus of Montmartre 1925 Frederic Zelnik Lya Mara, Jack Trevor
The Girl with a Patron 1925 Max Mack Ossi Oswalda and Willy Fritsch
Wood Love 1925 Hans Neumann Werner Krauss, Valeska Gert
Women of Luxury 1925 Erich Schönfelder Lee Parry, Olaf Fjord
The King and the Girl 1925 Nunzio Malasomma Luciano Albertini, Evi Eva
Athletes 1925 Frederic Zelnik Asta Nielsen, Gregori Chmara
Semi-Silk 1925 Richard Oswald Valeska Stock, Mary Kid
Upstairs and Downstairs 1925 Richard Oswald, Carl Wilhelm Sig Arno, Mary Kid
German Hearts on the German Rhine 1926 Fred Sauer Gyula Szőreghy, Grete Reinwald
Malice 1926 Manfred Noa Paul Wegener, Olga Tschechowa
The Blue Danube 1926 Frederic Zelnik Harry Liedtke, Lya Mara
The Prince and the Dancer 1926 Richard Eichberg Willy Fritsch, Lucy Doraine
Hunted People 1926 Nunzio Malasomma Carlo Aldini, Maly Delschaft
The Bank Crash of Unter den Linden 1926 Paul Merzbach Alfred Abel, Margarete Schlegel
My Friend the Chauffeur 1926 Erich Waschneck Ferdinand von Alten, Livio Pavanelli
Kissing Is No Sin 1926 Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky Xenia Desni, Ellen Plessow
Only a Dancing Girl 1926 Olof Molander Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen
Nixchen 1926 Kurt Blachy Xenia Desni, Harry Liedtke
Wrath of the Seas 1926 Manfred Noa Agnes Esterhazy, Nils Asther
The Trumpets are Blowing 1926 Carl Boese Anita Dorris, Fritz Spira
Department Store Princess 1926 Heinz Paul Hella Moja, Paul Graetz
The Laughing Husband 1926 Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky Livio Pavanelli, Elisabeth Pinajeff
Darling, Count the Cash 1926 Felix Basch Sig Arno, Ossi Oswalda
The Three Mannequins 1926 Jaap Speyer Anton Pointner, Lydia Potechina
The Fallen 1926 Rudolf Walther-Fein, Rudolf Dworsky Asta Nielsen, William Dieterle, Olga Chekhova
We Belong to the Imperial-Royal Infantry Regiment 1926 Richard Oswald Mary Kid, Colette Brettel
I Once Had a Comrade 1926 Conrad Wiene Olaf Fjord, Grete Reinwald
Rinaldo Rinaldini 1927 Max Obal, Rudolf Dworsky Luciano Albertini, Olga Engl
Die glühende Gasse 1927 Paul Sugar Helga Thomas, Angelo Ferrari
Eine kleine Freundin braucht jeder Mann 1927 Paul Heidemann Julius Falkenstein, Vera Schmiterlöw
The Dollar Princess and her Six Admirers 1927 Felix Basch Liane Haid, Georg Alexander
The Woman Who Couldn't Say No 1927 Fred Sauer Lee Parry, Gustav Fröhlich
A Perfect Gentleman 1927 Vilhelm Bryde, Gösta Ekman La Jana, Karin Swanström
The Villa in Tiergarten Park 1927 Franz Osten Joe Stöckel, Aud Egede-Nissen
The Golden Abyss 1927 Mario Bonnard Liane Haid, André Roanne
Always Be True and Faithful 1927 Reinhold Schünzel Rosa Valetti, Sig Arno
Students' Love 1927 Robert Land Fritz Kortner, Agnes Straub
Marie's Soldier 1927 Erich Schönfelder Xenia Desni, Harry Liedtke
A Modern Dubarry 1927 Alexander Korda María Corda, Alfred Abel
Princess Olala 1928 Robert Land Walter Rilla, Marlene Dietrich
The Criminal of the Century 1928 Max Obal Luciano Albertini, Gritta Ley
Master and Mistress 1928 Arthur Burger Maly Delschaft
Who Invented Divorce? 1928 Wolfgang Neff Alfred Abel, Charlotte Ander
Doctor Schäfer 1928 Jacob Fleck, Luise Fleck Evelyn Holt, Iván Petrovich
The Lady from Argentina 1928 Siegfried Philippi Gritta Ley, Leopold von Ledebur
Suzy Saxophone 1928 Carl Lamac Anny Ondra, Grit Haid
Today I Was With Frieda 1928 Siegfried Philippi Margarete Kupfer, Evi Eva
It Attracted Three Fellows 1928 Carl Wilhelm Ossi Oswalda, Fritz Kampers
Woman in Flames 1928 Max Reichmann Olga Tschechowa, Ferdinand von Alten
Rasputin 1928 Martin Berger Gregori Chmara, Diana Karenne
Asphalt 1929 Joe May Albert Steinrück, Gustav Fröhlich, Betty Amann
Furnished Room 1929 Fred Sauer Margot Landa, Fritz Schulz
Mascots 1929 Felix Basch Käthe von Nagy, Jeanne Helbling
Yes, Yes, Women Are My Weakness 1929 Edmund Heuberger Georgia Lind, Eugen Burg
Inherited Passions 1929 Gustav Ucicky Walter Rilla, Fritz Alberti
Heilige oder Dirne 1929 Martin Berger María Corda, Vladimir Gajdarov
The Veil Dancer 1929 Charles Burguet René Navarre, Hertha von Walther
The Crimson Circle 1929 Frederic Zelnik Lya Mara, Fred Louis Lerch, Stewart Rome
Dear Homeland 1929 Carl Wilhelm Renate Müller, Jakob Tiedtke

Sound films

Title Year Director Co-stars
The Night Belongs to Us 1929 Carl Froelich Charlotte Ander, Otto Wallburg
The Blue Angel 1930 Josef von Sternberg Marlene Dietrich, Emil Jannings, Kurt Gerron
The Copper 1930 Richard Eichberg Charlotte Susa, Eugen Burg
Hans in Every Street 1930 Carl Froelich Camilla Horn, Gustav Diessl
Three Days of Love 1931 Heinz Hilpert Käthe Dorsch, Trude Berliner
Bombs on Monte Carlo 1931 Hanns Schwarz Heinz Rühmann, Anna Sten, Peter Lorre
The Daredevil 1931 Richard Eichberg Martha Eggerth, Leonard Steckel
The White Demon 1932 Kurt Gerron Gerda Maurus, Peter Lorre
Monte Carlo Madness 1932 Hanns Schwarz Sari Maritza, Heinz Rühmann
The Victor 1932 Hans Hinrich, Paul Martin Käthe von Nagy, Julius Falkenstein
Quick 1932 Robert Siodmak Lilian Harvey, Paul Hörbiger
F.P.1 Doesn't Respond 1932 Karl Hartl Sybille Schmitz, Paul Hartmann, Peter Lorre
Heut kommt's drauf an 1933 Kurt Gerron Luise Rainer, Oscar Karlweis
Ein gewisser Herr Gran 1933 Gerhard Lamprecht Albert Bassermann, Walter Rilla, Olga Tschechowa
Refugees 1933 Gustav Ucicky Käthe von Nagy, Eugen Klöpfer, Veit Harlan
Gold 1934 Karl Hartl Brigitte Helm, Friedrich Kayßler, Lien Deyers
Peer Gynt 1934 Fritz Wendhausen Lucie Höflich, Marieluise Claudius, Olga Tschechowa
Hangmen, Women and Soldiers 1935 Johannes Meyer Charlotte Susa, Aribert Wäscher
Varieté 1935 Nicolas Farkas Annabella, Attila Hörbiger
Savoy Hotel 217 1936 Gustav Ucicky Brigitte Horney, Rene Deltgen, Käthe Dorsch
Under Blazing Heavens 1936 Gustav Ucicky René Deltgen, Lotte Lang
Die gelbe Flagge 1937 Gerhard Lamprecht Olga Tschechowa, Dorothea Wieck, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
The Man Who Was Sherlock Holmes 1937 Karl Hartl Heinz Rühmann, Marieluise Claudius, Paul Bildt
Sergeant Berry 1938 Herbert Selpin Alexander Golling, Herbert Hübner
Travelling People 1938 Jacques Feyder Francoise Rosay, Camilla Horn
Water for Canitoga 1939 Herbert Selpin Charlotte Susa, Hilde Sessak
Ein Mann auf Abwegen 1939 Herbert Selpin Charlotte Thiele, Hilde Weissner
Trenck, der Pandur 1940 Herbert Selpin Käthe Dorsch, Sybille Schmitz, Hilde Weissner
Carl Peters 1941 Herbert Selpin Herbert Hübner, Fritz Odemar
Münchhausen 1943 Josef von Baky Brigitte Horney, Ilse Werner, Ferdinand Marian
Port of Freedom 1944 Helmut Käutner Ilse Werner, Hans Söhnker
Shiva und die Galgenblume 1945 Hans Steinhoff O.W. Fischer, Elisabeth Flickenschildt
And the Heavens Above Us 1947 Josef von Baky Paul Edwin Roth, Lotte Koch
The White Hell of Pitz Palu 1950 Rolf Hansen Liselotte Pulver, Adrian Hoven
Chased by the Devil 1950 Viktor Tourjansky Willy Birgel, Lil Dagover, Heidemarie Hatheyer
Bluebeard 1951 Christian-Jaque Cecile Aubry, Fritz Kortner
Nights on the Road 1952 Rudolf Jugert Hildegard Knef, Marius Goring
Jonny Saves Nebrador 1953 Rudolf Jugert Margot Hielscher, Peter Pasetti
Captain Bay-Bay 1953 Helmut Käutner Bum Krüger, Lotte Koch
On the Reeperbahn at Half Past Midnight 1954 Wolfgang Liebeneiner Heinz Rühmann, Gustav Knuth
An jedem Finger zehn 1954 Erik Ode Germaine Damar, Loni Heuser
The Last Man 1955 Harald Braun Romy Schneider, Rudolf Forster, Joachim Fuchsberger
Before Sundown 1956 Gottfried Reinhardt Annemarie Düringer, Martin Held
Engaged to Death 1957 Romolo Marcellini Sylva Koscina, Rik Battaglia
The Mad Bomberg 1957 Rolf Thiele Marion Michael, Gert Fröbe, Harald Juhnke
The Heart of St. Pauli 1957 Eugen York Hansjörg Felmy, Gert Fröbe
The Copper 1958 Eugen York Hansjörg Felmy, Werner Peters, Horst Frank
It Happened Only Once 1958 Géza von Bolváry Emmy Burg, Stanislav Ledinek
Man in the River 1958 Eugen York Gina Albert, Hans Nielsen
Thirteen Old Donkeys 1958 Hans Deppe Marianne Hoppe, Karin Dor, Werner Peters
Kein Engel ist so rein 1960 Wolfgang Becker Sabine Sinjen, Peter Kraus, Horst Frank

Songs (selection)


  • Das ist die Liebe der Matrosen (from picture Bomben auf Monte Carlo)
  • Kind, du brauchst nicht weinen (from picture Der Draufgänger)


  • Flieger, grüß' mit mir die Sonne (from picture F. P. 1 antwortet nicht)
  • Hoppla, jetzt komm' ich (from picture Der Sieger)
  • Komm' auf die Schaukel, Luise (from stage play Liliom)
  • Komm und spiel mit mir (from picture Quick)


  • "Mein Gorilla hat 'ne Villa im Zoo" (from picture Heut kommt's drauf an)


  • "In meinem Herzen Schatz, da ist für viele Platz" (from picture Savoy-Hotel 217)





  • "Kleine weiße Möwe" (from picture Käpt'n Bay-Bay)
  • "Nimm mich mit, Kapitän, auf die Reise" (from picture Käpt'n Bay-Bay)


  • "Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins" (from picture Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins)
  • "Komm auf die Schaukel, Luise" (from picture Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins)


  • "Das Herz von St. Pauli" (from picture Das Herz von St. Pauli)


  • "Mein Junge, halt die Füße still" (from picture Dreizehn alte Esel)


  • Joachim Cadenbach: Hans Albers. Berlin: Universitas-Verlag, 1975, ISBN 3-8004-0818-X
  • Eberhard Spieß: Hans Albers. Eine Filmographie. Herausgegeben von Hilmar Hoffmann und Walter Schobert in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Deutschen Institut für Filmkunde, Wiesbaden. Verlag: Frankfurt am Main: Kommunales Kino, 1977
  • Uwe-Jens Schumann: Hans Albers – seine Filme, sein Leben. (= Heyne-Filmbibliothek, Band 18) München: Heyne, 1980, ISBN 3-453-86018-7
  • Hans-Christoph Blumenberg: In meinem Herzen, Schatz … Die Lebensreise des Schauspielers und Sängers Hans Albers . Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1981, ISBN 3-596-10662-1
  • Michaela Krützen: Hans Albers: Eine deutsche Karriere. Berlin; Weinheim: Beltz Quadriga 1995
  • Michaela Krützen: „Gruppe 1: Positiv“ Carl Zuckmayers Beurteilungen über Hans Albers und Heinz Rühmann. In: Carl Zuckmayer Jahrbuch/ hg. von Günther Nickel. Göttingen 2002, S. 179-227
  • Matthias Wegner: Hans Albers. Ellert & Richter, Hamburg 2005 (Hamburger Köpfe) ISBN 3-8319-0224-0


  1. Hans Albers (1891–1960), retrieved 10 March 2016.
  2. Wegener, Matthias (1 September 2005). Die Hans Albers Biographie (Vol. 1 ed.). Ellert & Richter. ISBN 3831902240.
  3. "Historisches Kalenderblatt". Deutschlandfunk. 24 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  4. knerger.de: Das Grab von Hans Albers
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