Willy Haas

Willy Haas (6 July 1891 4 September 1973) was a German editor, film critic, and screenwriter. He wrote for 19 films between 1922 and 1933. He was a member of the jury at the 8th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

Willy Haas
Born(1891-07-06)6 July 1891
Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic)
Died4 September 1973(1973-09-04) (aged 82)
Hamburg, Germany
Years active1922–1933


Willy Haas was the son of a Jewish lawyer. He studied law himself, and at a young age joined a literary circle with his friends Franz Werfel, Paul Kornfeld and Johannes Urzidil. He had personal contacts with Franz Kafka and Max Brod. This circle, which met in Prague at the Café Arco, also included Ernst Polak, the husband of Milena Jesenská.

From 1911 to 1912 in Prague, the press of the Johann Gottfried Herder Association published the Herder-Blätter (Literary Journal of the Herder Association), whose editors were Willy Haas and Norbert Eisler. The journal published several essays by Haas. For the last two issues (# 4 and # 5), Otto Pick was involved.[2] The Herder-Blätter published the work of many literary authors for the first time.

After World War I Haas went to Berlin, where he did editorial work and also worked as a screenwriter and film critic. Together with Ernst Rowohlt, he founded the weekly Die literarische Welt in 1925.

When his apartment in Berlin was repeatedly searched in 1933, he emigrated to Prague, where he worked as a newspaper editor. The literary magazine Welt im Wort (World in the Word), founded by Haas in Prague, soon ceased publication for financial reasons. After the German occupation of Prague in 1939, he went first to Italy and from there to India, where he worked as a screenwriter for at least two Indian films by Mohan Bhavnani.[3][4] He also earned a salary as a censor for the British army in India. In 1948 he returned to Germany and lived in Hamburg. There he wrote for Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag, as well as for other magazines and newspapers.[5]

Haas was married three times: from 1919-1921 with the translator Jarmila Ambrozova, from 1924 to 1936 with Hanna Waldeck (who gave birth to their son in 1925), and from 1947 with Herta Doctor. Willy Haas and his wife Herta were buried in Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg.

Selected filmography


  1. "8th Berlin International Film Festival: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  2. Rudolf M. Wlaschek: Juden in Böhmen. Beiträge zur Geschichte des europäischen Judentums im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. (= Veröffentlichungen des Collegium Carolinum. Bd. 66). 2., vollständig überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Oldenbourg, München 1997, ISBN 3-486-56283-5, S. 41.
  3. Chandrima S. Bhattacharya: Hitler hand in advance of Hindi cinema. In: The Telegraph, 16 January 2006.
  4. Prem Nagar – Drehbuch: Willy Haas.
  5. Haas, Willy. In: Kirsten Hiensohn (ed.): Das jüdische Hamburg. 2006, p. 102.
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