German Actor Schoenhals Who Faced The Nazis

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

Passport Actor German SchoenhalsMoritz 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

German Actor Dr. 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

Passport Actor German Schoenhals

Albrecht Schoenhals appeared alongside the “Darlings” of the Nazi leadership, Lil Dagover, Olga Chekhova, Lida Baarová, and the Divas of UFA, Pola Negri, Camilla Horn, and Sybille Schmitz.

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.


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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?

The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...

2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?

Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...

3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?

"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...

4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?

Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...

5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?

Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.

6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?

A passport tells the story of its bearer and these stories can be everything - surprising, sad, vivid. Isabella Bird and her travels (1831-1904) or Mary Kingsley, a fearless Lady explorer.

7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?

During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...

8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?

Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.

9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?

Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.

10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?

A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉

Other great sources are: Scottish Passports, The Nansen passport, The secret lives of diplomatic couriers

11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?

First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...

Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.

Question? Contact me...