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Kurt Gerron (May 11, 1897 – November 15, 1944) was a Jewish actor and film director during the Nazi period.
Born Kurt Gerson to Jewish parents in Berlin, Germany, Gerron initially studied medicine but became a stage actor in 1920. He appeared in such films as The Blue Angel opposite Marlene Dietrich, and on stage originated the role of Brown (the chief of police in London) in the premiere production of Die Dreigroschenoper in Berlin in 1928.
Gerron was offered a trip to Hollywood but refused and stayed behind in Europe. He later left Germany, traveling first to France and later to the Netherlands. After the German army occupied the Netherlands, he was interned in the transit camp at Westerbork before being sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp. There he ran a cabaret called The Karussell to entertain the inmates. He was subsequently blackmailed by the National Socialists to make a propaganda film showing how 'nice' concentration camps were (Title Der FÃ¼hrer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt - The Fuehrer Gives a City to the Jews). After completion of the film, Gerron was shipped out on the camp's final transport to Auschwitz. He was murdered immediately upon arrival. Ironically and sadly, high-ranking Nazi official Heinrich Himmler ordered the gas chambers shut down forever the very next day.
Gerron is the subject of two documentary films, Prisoner in Paradise and Kurt Gerrons Karussell. The narrator in Kurt Gerrons Karussell, which stars Ute Lemper, is Roy Kift who has also written a play on Gerron's time in Theresienstadt entitled Camp Comedy. The play is published in The Theatre of the Holocaust edited by Professor Robert Skloot and published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
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