His acting career ended abruptly in 1940 when the Nazi regime disapproved of him for declining to take the lead in the antisemitic propaganda movie Jud Süß. German Actor Schoenhals
Moritz James Karl Albrecht Schoenhals was the child of an English mother and German general upper physician Gustav Schoenhals (1855–1930). He was raised in Freiburg/Breisgau before attending medical school in Berlin. Then, during World War I, he served as a volunteer army doctor for the field artillery regiment to Metz on the western front. He had previously worked as a doctor for a Berlin charity. He sustained a severe arm injury in the war’s final year, and he was forced out of service in 1918. While getting better, he completed his doctoral thesis and enlisted in the Army School Döberitz’s volunteer corps. German Actor Schoenhals
Schoenhals had initially intended to practice as a surgeon, but his arm injury prevented him from doing so. Instead, he studied acting in Freiburg under Eduard von Winterstein. He performed in Iphigenie auf Tauris by Goethe at the City Theater Freiburg (Stadttheater Freiburg) in 1920, where he got his first stage job. He performed in Baden-Baden, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Halberstadt, Freiburg (1921–1924), and at the Hamburger Kammerspiele (1928–1934), where he was a member of the ensemble. In 1930, he wed the actress Anneliese Born, and in 1933, their son Kai was born. German Actor Schoenhals
When Schoenhals worked in Hamburg in 1934, a casting director from the UFA came across him and chose him to serve as a double in Arthur Robison’s romantic comedy Prince Woronzeff. Afterward, Schoenhals enjoyed a successful film career as a leading man in German romantic comedies during the 1930s and 1940s. He was skilled at portraying aristocrats, senior officers, and prominent professionals like surgeons and concert violinists. His considerable charm and elegant appearance were well known. Schoenhals did, however, demonstrate the ability to play the villain, as he did in the Willi Forst crime movie Mazurka, beneath the ostensibly impeccable veneer of his charismatic charm. He plays a rapist in this movie who is shot by his victim, Pola Negri, many years later. In the love story Intermezzo, Schoenhals plays a mysterious player who takes advantage of an opera diva’s predicament and forces her to buy the rights to her own voice. He seduced a married woman in Veit Harlan’s adaptation of Die Kreutzersonate by Tolstoy. He played many trustworthy and honorable roles in other movies, such as Roman eins Arztes, in which he plays a man who is sentenced to prison in place of his wife after she is found guilty of murder. German Actor Schoenhals
His acting career ended abruptly in 1940 when the Nazi regime disapproved of him for declining to take the lead in the antisemitic propaganda movie Jud Süß.
He was only ever cast in a handful of movies after that, and in 1941, he was made to appear in the Nazi propaganda piece Kopf hoch, Johannes! (Cheer Up, Johannes! ), which was intended for young viewers. In this movie, the mother of a teenage boy spoils him beyond belief while his father is away. In Schoenhals’ role as a landowner troubled by the boy, a sense of camaraderie is instilled in him. After the movie, Schoenhals left the theater and went to his Baden-Baden estate, “Annenhof.” German Actor Schoenhals
He performed medical work at the Baden-Baden city hospital following the end of World War II. He went back to the theater with his wife in the late 1940s. He continued to play powerful men and appear in films with notable actresses. As his role as a supporting actor increased, he eventually lost prominence. Schoenhals worked on numerous television productions from 1956 to 1968. He also started devoting more time to his personal pursuits in the early 1960s, such as translating and editing French literature, which was one of his many areas of interest.
He specialized in the German translation of original French plays and served on occasion as a stage director. The German Film Award was given to Schoenhals in 1965 for his “long-standing and outstanding achievements in German film.” He was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 1967. He made a comeback to the movie industry in 1969 to play a supporting role in The Damned by Luchino Visconti. He passed away at age 90 and was buried in a Baden-Baden cemetery. German Actor Schoenhals
A very interesting passport of one of the few NS actors resisting the regime.