Alexander Granach, who died while he was acting on Broadway in 1945, brilliantly relates the remarkable story of his unlikely path from a poverty-stricken, rough-and-tumble childhood to success on the German stage. This is the account of a daring, curiosity-filled, and perceptive Jewish child from poor towns in Galicia who was seized with a passion for the theater when he saw his first show at the age of 14. He overcame great odds to become a leading stage and film actor in Weimar Germany - and he had to have both legs broken to do it! Born in what is now southern Ukraine, Granach began working at the age of six in his father's bakery, where his heavy tasks left him visibly knock-kneed. With very little formal education but open for adventure and willing to work hard, Alexander ran away several times, the last time to Berlin, at the age of 16, where his talent and charm won him a place in Max Reinhardt's theater school. His career was abruptly interrupted by World War I and his time as a prisoner of war in Italy, but after a daring escape and the end of the war he resumed his rise to prominence in German artistic life. A natural storyteller, Granach's autobiography captures equally the charms, adventures, and trials of his shtetl days, the horrors of trench warfare, and the glamour and excitement of the German theater before Hitler came to power.
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Transaction Edition
IBear the Name of a Friendly Man
How I Came into This World on a Rainy Night
How I Was Exorcised of a Little Toohless Goblin
My Big Brothers, or One Is Missing
Two Families--Four Friendships
The First Victim
He Could Not Read the Bible, But Niether Had He Heard the Sermon of the Village Priest
We Go Out into the Wide World, but It Wears the Same Face
The Village Spits Us Out
The County Seat Horodenka--Fierce Competition
My Rabbi-Teacher, Schimshale from Milnitz, for Whom You Would Do Absolutely Anything
Perhaps My First Part
Moische, Does One Smash Windows?
Our Family Grows Smaller, Our Poverty Greater
My Brother Schmiel, with the Rich Imagination, Comes Home
Everyone Fights with the Weapons He Has
People and the Awakening of Love in Horodenka
Away from Home It Is Cold--but Instructive
It Is Good to Have a Big Brother When You Are Far from Home
A Dog, a Cart, and a Woman
First Steps in Berlin
There is Something in a Name
And the Crooked Shall be Straight
Alas for a Beautiful World!
Almost a Stranger in My Native Land
The Prospect for the Common Man
Let People See What People Are Like!
"We'll March Right into Sunny Italy!"
Roads Always Lead Somewhere
Life Comes to Meet You Halfway
A Promise That I Shall Always Keep
"Home, Home--There's Where a Welcome Waits You!"
A Man Is Not a Tree