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29 2 The Son In Walter and Adele Harlan’s Savignyplatz apartment, Veit Harlan was born on September 22, 1899, at 9:15 p.m. Like all of his siblings, he was baptized as a Protestant. A third son, Fritz Moritz, was born on January 26, 1901. He became an opera singer, beginning his career in 1926 in operettas at the Grosses Schauspielhaus Berlin. His actress daughter, Christiane Susanne, was to play the only female role in the film Paths of Glory (1957) and marry its director, Stanley Kubrick. Her brother, Jan, also became an important Kubrick associate, working as production manager or producer on all of his films from A Clockwork Orange (1971) to Eyes Wide Shut (1999).1 WhenA Clockwork Orange wasdubbedintoGerman,VeitHarlan’s daughter Maria spoke the part of the psychiatrist, and the dubbing director was Wolfgang Staudte, who had played a small part in Jud Süss. Walter and Adele Harlan then had a daughter, Berta Elise, who was born on July 16, 1906. Called “Lise,” she studied dance under Mary Wigman, whose unique style was conserved for eternity by such pupils as La Jana and Leni Riefenstahl. Lise was engaged to a man of Jewish faith, but then she married a Gentile and had eight children by him. Another daughter, Nele, was born on December 26, 1908. She took on the name “Jakob” by marriage and became a photographer. In the 1930s, she was registered with the Fotografisches Atelier für Bildnis und Werbung on Deidesheimer Strasse in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Veit Harlan did not take his sisters’ professions seriously. With casual, unintentional cruelty, he wrote in his memoirs: “I don’t have to introduce my three sisters. They will hardly make claims for that. Their lives were passed in bourgeois Gleichklang [accordance or consonance].”2 He himself had to fight for attention, being of smaller size than his brothers. He astonished and shocked his family with daredevil stunts, such as walking upstairs on his hands. On one such occasion, he suffered a severe head injury and indeed would have head- veit harlan 30 aches for the rest of his life. Like so many children, he also did some shoplifting , and when he was caught, his punishment was unusual. Instead of getting some slaps in the face, he was forced by his father to walk down the sidewalk carrying a sign around his neck that said “I am a thief.” Another incident was so dramatic that both father and son would turn it into works of fiction. Because of Adele Harlan’s vulnerable state of mind, her husband had given little Veit into the care of a maid whose name was Maria Klimek. She came from a small village, and when she visited her family, she was allowed to take Veit with her. In the village, other boys talked him into joining them to hunt for crawfish in a mountain torrent, naturally without informing the adults about their adventure. It began to rain heavily. Maria desperately searched for the boy but could not find him because he and the other boys had taken refuge under a bridge. The wild water caused such a noise that communication was impossible. The incident had a happy outcome, nobody got hurt, but Maria’s hysteria left a deep impression on Walter and Veit, respectively. Walter wrote the novella Die Kindsmagd (The maid, date unknown) on which Veit’s first melodrama Maria, die Magd would be based. A family’s desperate search for a lost child or woman would become a recurrent motif in his oeuvre, providing highlights for Jugend, Die Reise nach Tilsit, Jud Süss, Die goldene Stadt, and Es war die erste Liebe. A second childhood experience that influenced Harlan’s films was the contrast between two different worlds or two different temperaments. Harlan’s parents were opposite but equal. As a director, Harlan treated both the familiar and the alien characters with equal attention. As an actor, he portrayed five Jews, one black African, and one Japanese. The first women he fell in love with were a French teacher and two Jewish actresses. His mother, who had completely spoiled him, did not like any of his girlfriends or wives. The Harlans had moved from the noisy Savignyplatz to the more offcenter Kunz-Buntschuh-Strasse 10 in the Halensee district when film pioneer Max Mack asked to use their garden for a shooting. His cameraman had fallen ill, though, so fourteen-year-old Veit was allowed to turn...


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