logos.jpg“History is not about the facts. It is about the context and who is telling the story.” —Prof. Milton Fine. 

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."   –– George Orwell in his novel "1984." 

"Whoever doubts the exclusive guilt of Germany for the Second World War destroys the foundation of post–war politics." ––  Prof. Theodor Eschenberg, Rector, the University of Tübingen.

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over 500 German film

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1927–1954  from

Germany and from

many Axis and Neutral countries

across Europe!  


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acquisitions which are NOT FOR SALE!!   ONLY the

posters listed in our POSTER STORE are for sale. 

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Ritter, Hannes Stelzer and a Hero’s Death








Ritter, Hannes Stelzer and a Hero’s Death

by William Gillespie

This 28-page booklet provides the most information available on the matinee idol, film star, and Luftwaffe pilot HANNES STELZER (1910–1944) who died a hero’s death in December 1944 in Eastern Europe.  Stelzer was one of a handful of young film stars who fought for Hitler and died prior to war’s end.

Stelzer was born in 1910 in Austria and commenced his career in earnest in 1928 with an engagement at the Neuen Theater in Frankfurt am Main. After three years as a contracted artist, he was called to the Landestheater in Darmstadt, and in 1935 he was considered for the role of the young Friedrich in Steinhoff’s biopic Der junge und alte König with Emil Jannings as his father. After first committing to the role, he eventually declined it in order to take up another stage engagement, but Jannings remembered him and in 1936 Stelzer made his film debut in Traumulus with Jannings in the title role. Between then and 1943  Stelzer made a total of 18 feature films, including five with Karl Ritter.

Stelzer was a handsome rising film star whose skills could allow him considerable success in comedies, in costume dramas, and sophisticated contemporary films. In some of his most famous film roles, he played the son of a great industrialist (again Jannings) in Veit Harlan's Der Herrscher (1937), an accomplished acrobat variety artist in Truxa (1937), jilted lover in the screwball comedy Ein hoffnungsloser Fall (1939), Ilse Werner's beau in Bal Paré (1940),  and a young Nazi visual artist in the anti–modern art propaganda film, Hans Zerlett's Venus vor Gericht (1941).

Hannes Stelzer was an active pilot in Germany's Luftwaffe and between film roles he took on combat missions in WWII.  His first film with the director (and Luftwaffe Major) Karl Ritter was the WWI epic Unternehmen Michael (1937), and three years later, he appeared in Ritter's Bal Paré. In 1941 Stelzer starred in Stukas, and in the same year in Ritter's Über alles in der Welt.  His final film role was in Ritter's Besatzung Dora, which finished filming in January 1943. In March of that year the film was banned from being released because scenes shot on the Leningrad front,  in western France and in the Cinecitta film studios in Rome as a last-minute substitute for Tobruk could not be used, as German defeats and setbacks on these war fronts made the film untenable.

This booklet is an expanded version of  the twelve page long Chapter 6 of our Karl Ritter biography, and includes Stelzer’s military records in the Luftwaffe as well as his Reich Film Chamber personnel files. This information has not been published before and is available here in English translation. The booklet represents the most-available information on Hannes Stelzer ever published anywhere.

28 pages, with 11 rare private family photos, behind-the-scenes film photos, and the last photo taken of him a few months before his death posing in his real Luftwaffe uniform in late 1944. Two love letters he wrote from the front in October and December 1944 —the second letter only two weeks before his death — are translated from the German originals kindly provided by his then-girlfriend’s still-living daughter.