Reichel, Käthe


Theater legend Käthe Reichel is known worldwide as an outstanding performer of the works of Bertolt Brecht. Reichel was born in 1926 in Berlin, where she grew up and still lives.


A self-taught actress, she acted in various provincial theaters before becoming part of the Berliner Ensemble in 1950. There Brecht considered her his most talented actor and gave her leading roles. Her interpretation of Shen Te / Schui Ta in Brecht’s Der gute Mensch von Sezuan (The Good Person of Szechuan, 1957, dir. Benno Besson) brought her international acclaim.


In 1961, Reichel joined the Deutsches Theater ensemble, where she acted in important roles in the plays of Hebbel, Kleist, Sartre, and Handke. Her film debut was in Artur Pohl’s Corinna Schmidt, followed by important supporting roles in Levins Mühle, Die Legende von Paul und Paula, and Die Verlobte.


Käthe Reichel is also known for her political engagement. She was one of the co-organizers of the November 4, 1989 demonstration for freedom and democracy in Berlin. She has supported many international projects as a peace activist, and was awarded the Civil Rights Award in 2000 by the German Society for Civil and Human Rights.


Reichel’s closeness to Brecht is reflected in two volumes she wrote—Verehrter Brecht (2004) and Windbriefe an den Herrn b.b. (2006)—which address the meaning of life in conversation with the deceased artist.



Festivals & Awards:

2000 Civil Rights Award, German Society for Civil and Human Rights
Best Actress in a Supporting Role, GDR National Feature Film Festival, Karl-Marx-Stadt, for Die Verlobte

Bibliography & More:

Reichel, Käthe. Verehrter Brecht [trans. Honored Brecht]. Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt. 2004.

Reichel, Käthe. Windbriefe an den Herrn b.b [trans. Wind Letters to Mr. b. b.]London: Faber & Faber. 2006.




1997 Der Laden (transl. The Store, TV)

Farßmann oder zu Fuß in die Sackgasse

(Farssmann, or On Foot Down a Dead End)

1991 Die Spur des Bernsteinzimmers (The Mystery of the Amber Room)
1991 Miraculi
1983 Ärztinnen (Women Doctors)
1981/88 Jadup und Boel (Jadup and Boel)
1980 Die Verlobte (The Fiancée)
1980 Levins Mühle (Levin’s Mill)
1980 Pugowitza (Pugovitsa)
1979 Glück im Hinterhaus (Rear House Bliss)
1978 Die fliegende Windmühle (The Flying Windmill, voice actor)
1976 Das Licht auf dem Galgen (The Light on the Gallows)
1976 Daniel Druskat (TV series)
1972 Leichensache Zernik (Murder Case Zernik)
1972 Die Legende von Paul und Paula (The Legend of Paul and Paula)
1970 Mein lieber Robinson (My Dear Robinson)
1969 Nebelnacht (The Foggy Night)
1968 Wie heiratet man einen König (How to Marry a King)
1958 Der kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasian Chalk Circle, TV)
1951 Corinna Schmidt 


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