Hans Steinhoff

Hans Steinhoff (10 March 1882, Marienberg 20 April 1945) was a German film director, best known for the propaganda films he made in the Nazi era.

Hans Steinhoff
Born(1882-03-10)10 March 1882
Died20 April 1945(1945-04-20) (aged 63)
Glienig, Brandenburg (plane shot down)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1900s-1945

Life and career

Steinhoff started his career as a stage actor in the 1900s and later worked as a stage director. He directed his first silent film Clothes Make the Man, the adaption of a novel by Gottfried Keller, in 1921.

Steinhoff was a convinced Nazi and directed many propaganda films, he sometimes even wore his Nazi party membership button on the film set. His most notable films were perhaps Hitlerjunge Quex (1933), an influential propaganda film for the Hitler Youth, and Ohm Krüger (1940), for which he won the Mussolini Cup at the 1941 Venice Film Festival. On April 20, 1945, during the last war days, Steinhoff tried to escape from Berlin on the last flight to Madrid. The plane was shot down by the Soviet Red Army and all passengers died.


Billy Wilder, who wrote some screenplays for Steinhoff during the early 1930s, said about him: "A man without any talent. He was a Nazi, even a Hundred-percent-one. But there were also many Nazis who had talent. I would never say that Leni Riefenstahl didn't have talent ... But I say about Steinhoff, that he was an idiot, not because he was a Nazi, but also a bad director."[1] Steinhoff was also very unpopular with many of his actors, Hans Albers called him "the greatest asshole of the century", while O. W. Fischer referred to him as "browner than Joseph Goebbels and blacker than Heinrich Himmler.[2]

Selected filmography


  1. Vgl. Joe Hembus, Christa Bandmann: Klassiker des deutschen Tonfilms, 1930–1960. Goldmann, München 1980, page 86
  2. Géza von Cziffra: „Kauf dir einen bunten Luftballon.“ Erinnerungen an Götter und Halbgötter. Herbig, München und Berlin 1975, ISBN 3-7766-0708-4, S. 304–305.

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