Focusing on difficult roles written for older women, Therese Giehse earned a reputation as a talented actress who helped bring Bertolt Brecht’s works to life. Giehse participated in the “Stage Society for primitive and expressionist art: Acting” and spent five years performing in local theaters throughout Germany. In 1925 she joined the acclaimed Munich Spielhaus, where she focused on roles in experimental and political plays. In 1933 she co-founded an anti-Nazi literary cabaret called The Peppermill, and after fleeing to Zurich later that year, Giehse toured Europe with The Peppermill performing wildly successful political plays. In 1941 she performed the title role in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, beginning a long and fruitful collaboration with the playwright. Brecht was not the only writer to create roles with her in mind: Friedrich Dürenmatt wrote the part of Dr. Mathilde von Zahnd in his 1962 play The Physicians for Giehse, which won her much acclaim. She returned to the Munich stage in 1949 and made the city her home again in 1954, but she remained politically active, participating in disarmament protests during the Vietnam War. She continued acting in films and plays until 1974, the year before her death.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Therese Giehse." (Viewed on February 18, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/giehse-therese>.