Hans Thimig

Hans Emil Thimig, pseudonym: Hans Werner (23 July 1900 in Vienna – 17 February 1991, also in Vienna) was an Austrian actor, film director and stage director.


The youngest son of the Burgtheater actor Hugo Thimig, he performed without any training as a 16-year-old under the pseudomym "Hans Werner" at the Wiener Volkstheater. From 1918 to 1924 he was engaged – under his real name – at the Burgtheater, and then moved to the Theater in der Josefstadt, managed by his future brother-in-law Max Reinhardt. There, besides his father, his sister Helene Thimig and his brother Hermann Thimig also performed, so that the Viennese public used to call it the "Thimig-Theater". He soon began to direct as well, at first in the Theater in der Josefstadt, and later also in the film industry.

Hans Thimig remained loyal to the Theater in der Josefstadt until 1942. It was also thanks to him that the theatre survived the National Socialist period relatively "Nazi-free". Thimig saw to it that the director of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Heinz Hilpert, also took over the running of the Josefstadt Theatre (Reinhardt too had managed both theatres simultaneously). When Max Reinhardt died in American exile in 1943, Hilpert together with the Thimig brothers, despite the Nazi regime, organised a memorial event in the Theater in der Josefstadt.[1]

At the end of 1944 Thimig's superiors ordered him to shoot a politically tendentious film in Berlin. Karl Hartl, the director of production at Wien-Film, advised him however just to "clear off", which he did. He withdrew to the small town of Wildalpen, where the family owned a holiday home, while Hartl covered for him and reported him sick. After the war Thimig became mayor of Wildalpen for a short time, as he was the only man in the place without a National Socialist record.

From 1949 he performed again on stage in Vienna, alternating between the Burgtheater (of which he became an honorary member) the Theater an der Josefstadt and the Wiener Volkstheater. On top of that he continued to work as a film director and in 1959 took over from his sister Helene (who retired on grounds of age) the direction of the prestigious Vienna Max Reinhardt Seminar, as the School of Drama of the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst had been renamed after World War II, in honour of the great Austrian director.

Hans Thimig died in 1991 in Vienna, aged 90. He left his body to science, but a memorial stands in the Vienna Zentralfriedhof.

He was twice married. His daughter Henriette Thimig is also an actress.


Silent films:

Sound films:


  1. The Third Reich's Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels apparently referred to the theatre as "a concentration camp on holiday" (German: "Ein KZ auf Urlaub")


This article is translated from the equivalent on the German Wikipedia (retrieved 22 November 2007)
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