Is Bertolt Brecht Living or Dead?

Has German poet, playwright, theatre director Bertolt Brecht died? Or is he still alive?

Living or Dead? Celebrities, films, tv shows, birthdays, deaths ... your one-stop shop to satisfy your morbid curiosity.

German poet, playwright, theatre director

Bertolt Brecht is ...

Born 10 Feb 1898 in Augsburg
Died 14 Aug 1956 in Brecht House
Age58 years, 6 months
Causemyocardial infarction
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
For documentary purposes the German Federal Archive often retained the original image captions, which may be erroneous, biased, obsolete or politically extreme. Bertolt Brecht ADN-ZB/Kolbe 9.4.1980 [Datum Archiveingang] Bertolt Brecht geb. 10.2.1898 Augsburg gest. 14.8.1956 Berlin, Dichter, Theatertheoretiker und Regisseur. [Porträt Bertolt Brecht] Abgebildete Personen: Brecht, Bertolt: Schriftsteller, Regisseur, DDR (GND 118514768)

About Bertolt Brecht

Eugen Berthold Friedrich "Bertolt" Brecht (; German: [bʀɛçt]; 10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956) was a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet. Living in Munich during the Weimar Republic, he had his first successes with theatre plays, whose themes were often influenced by his Marxist thought. He was the main proponent of the genre named epic theatre (which he preferred to call "dialectical theatre"). During the Nazi period and World War II he lived in exile, first in Scandinavia and then in the United States. Returning to East Berlin after the war, he established the theatre company Berliner Ensemble with his wife, long-time collaborator and actress Helene Weigel.


Brecht died on 14 August 1956 of a heart attack at the age of 58. He is buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer cemetery on Chausseestraße in the Mitte neighbourhood of Berlin, overlooked by the residence he shared with Helene Weigel.

According to Stephen Parker, who reviewed Brecht's writings and unpublished medical records, Brecht contracted rheumatic fever as a child, which led to an enlarged heart, followed by lifelong chronic heart failure and Sydenham's chorea. A report of a radiograph taken of Brecht in 1951 describes a badly diseased heart, enlarged to the left with a protruding aortic knob and with seriously impaired pumping. Brecht's colleagues described him as being very nervous, and sometimes shaking his head or moving his hands erratically. This can be reasonably attributed to Sydenham's chorea, which is also associated with emotional lability, personality changes, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and hyperactivity, which matched Brecht's behavior. "What is remarkable," wrote Parker, "is his capacity to turn abject physical weakness into peerless artistic strength, arrhythmia into the rhythms of poetry, chorea into the choreography of drama."


Bertolt Brecht has written: