Wallstein Verlag

Beate Meyer

Fritz Benscher

A Holocaust survivor as a radio and television star in the Federal Republic of Germany

272 pages, 12,5 x 21,0
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3001-6 (2017)


German Version

Beate Meyer tells the story of Fritz Benscher’s life, painting a picture of the young Federal Republic, which had more facets than that of the sober Adenauer state.

»Unfortunately, the ›Führer‹ was not particularly fond of me.« These were the words used by Fritz Benscher (1904–1970) to describe the years following 1933 and his imprisonment in ­Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and Dachau. During the Weimar ­Republic, Benscher had gained his first experience of theatre and broadcasting. After the liberation he became the senior director of Radio Munich, which later became Bayerischer Rundfunk. With biting humour, he provided information on the crimes of the Nazi regime, devoting himself to the re-education of his compatriots. Later he was committed to the fight against rearmament, regardless of a speaking ban and other sanctions that were imposed upon him. Whilst conservative politicians, ecclesial dignitaries and anti-Semites took offence at his contributions, most of his listeners loved him. In the 1960s he continued his career as a successful moderator, quizmaster and actor on the television.

Beate Meyer, born in 1952, is a research assistant at the Institute for the History of the German Jews in Hamburg. Publications include: Bedrohung, Hoffnung, Skepsis. Vier Tagebücher des Jahres 1933 (Danger, Hope, Scepticism. Four Journals from the Year 1933, in cooperation with Frank Bajohr and Joachim Szodrzysnki, 2013); Tödliche Gratwanderung. Die Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland zwischen Hoffnung, Zwang, Selbstbehauptung und Verstrickung (1939–1945) (Deadly Balancing Act. The Reich Association of Jews in Germany between Hope, Compulsion, Self-Assertion and Entanglement, 2011); awarded the Joseph Carlebach Prize 2012/13.
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