Katrin Hennig and Harry Hindemith in the TV film "Ninotschka sucht den Frühling" (1973); Photo: U. Fleischer
Katrin Hennig and Harry Hindemith in the TV film "Ninotschka sucht den Frühling" (1973); Photo: U. Fleischer

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Harry Hindemith


Harry Hindemith (1948); Foto: E. Kilian

16 June 1906

Born in Brussels

Hindemith studies at music colleges in Mannheim and Karlsruhe. He works as a bank messenger and takes acting lessons at Hans Finohr in Würzburg.


He becomes a member of the communist youth association KJVD. Three years later, he joins the German communist party KPD.


Stage debut at Stadttheater Würzburg. He also plays in Allenstein and Wuppertal.


Hindemith is arrested by the Nazis. Due to his KPD membership, acting restrictions are imposed on him.


He becomes a member of the NSDAP.


Film debut in Junge Adler (DIR: Alfred Weidenmann). Here, Hindemith has a short appearance.


After the end of the war, he plays at the theatre in Rostock. Gustav von Wangenheim gets him to Berlin where he, together with Paul Wegener, plays in the opening staging of Lessing's "Nathan der Weise" at the Deutsches Theater.

He becomes a member of the KPD and later of the SED.


Hindemith plays his first main role as homecoming soldier Iller in the DEFA film Irgendwo in Berlin (DIR: Gerhard Lamprecht).


He plays the role of Ernst Weber, a simple working man who self-confidently opposes to his bourgeois father and his intellectual brother, in Unser täglich Brot (DIR: Slatan Dudow),.


Theatre engagements at the Volksbühne and the Maxim-Gorki-Theater in Berlin.


Hindemith works for GDR television for the first time and plays a role in the five-part film Gewissen in Aufruhr (DIR: Hans-Joachim Kasprzik). During the following years, he predominantly works for television and acts in several multipart productions (e.g., Krupp und Krause (DIR: Horst E. Brandt, Heinz Thiel) and Der Sonne Glut (DIR: Christian Steinke, Roland Oehme)) that become relevant to cultural politics.

1960s / 1970s

Hindemith's television work constantly increases. His cliché role - the upright working man whose class-conscious behaviour was supposed to be exemplary for the socialist GDR citizen - dominates most of his work. As exceptions, he plays an idiosyncratic patriarch of a fishery brigade in Hochzeit in Länneken 1964 (DIR: Heiner Carow), a bourgeois master in Die besten Jahre 1965 (DIR: Günther Rücker) and an anti-working-class, raving old-school teacher of the 1930s in Kuttel 1961 (DIR: Siegfried Menzel).

He becomes chairman of the Film Personnel Club and chairman of the Art Union in Berlin.


Hindemith has his last appearance in the TV film Ninotschka sucht den Frühling (DIR: Ursula Schmenger).

21 January 1973

He dies in East Berlin

Collection of biographical data: P. Warnecke