Text for the Press
A Homage on the occasion of Hildegard Knef’s 80 Birthday (28.12.1925 – 1.2.2002)
Hilde Knef ‘’Halt mich fest“(’’Hold me tight’’), Memories – Perceptions – Impulses
An exhibition by Dieter Bornemann about an extraordinary artist and fascinating lady.
At the Schwules Museum in Berlin from 7 December 2005 until 27 February 2006.
Hildegard Knef, an ambitious artist with the courage to take risks, with the courage to be made a fool
of. Her life and her career were always extreme, never constant. Successes and failures, admiration
and disdain as well as praise and criticism alternated in almost endless sequence.
Again and again she showed her strong will to live, whether it was in bomb-shattered Berlin, during
serious illnesses or during a marriage crisis. She touched a lot of people with her openness and
honesty and gave them strength.
On 28 December 2005 Hildegard Knef would have celebrated her 80 birthday. But the courageous
and versatile personality died of pneumonia on 1 February 2002 in Berlin.
From the baptismal cup to the funeral oration
The museum visitor goes on a walk through a many-facetted life and is drawn into the spell of the
unique charisma of the artist. Texts and quotations from Hildegard Knef receive new meaning from the
perspective of the present.
Tribute is paid to the famous actress, singer of chansons, authoress and painter with presentations on
related themes and very individual productions. Collages, an original painting and a special stage
design set additional features.
Which impulses came from this extraordinary lady? Friends, fans and other artists will be given their
forum in this exhibition.
Dieter Bornemann (50), Swiss journalist and bank clerk already tackled the life of Hildegard Knef when
he was a young man. Over many years the loyal admirer has been able to acquire a large collection
and had the opportunity to have personal meetings with her again and again. A deep bond was
created through the profound and trustful conversations.
Knef managed to be remembered also after her death with her varied entire works. Completely true to
the motto of her chanson title ‘’Halt mich fest“ (‘’Hold me tight’’).
Short biography Hildegard Knef
Born on 28 December 1925 in Ulm, died 1 February 2002 in Berlin.
Hildegard Knef lives through the war years in Berlin and studies to be a cartoonist at the UFA.
In »Die Mörder sind unter uns« (‘’The murderers are among us’’) she draws attention to
herself as an actress for the first time and later on provokes as the first nude actress in the
film »Die Sünderin« (‘’The Sinner’’).
As »Ninotschka« she becomes a musical star and and revels in success at Broadway in »Silk
With her own texts such as »Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen« (‘’Red roses should rain
down on me’’) she goes on chanson tours in the 60’s. In 1970 the bestseller »Der geschenkte
Gaul« (‘’The Gift Horse’’) is published – and she starts to paint again.
Hildegard Knef’s third husband was Paul von Schell. Her daughter, Christina, was born in
1968 during her marriage to David Cameron. Today she lives in the USA.
Bundesfilmpreis (National film prize) (1959)
Goldene Schallplatte (Golden record) (1968)
Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) (1975)
Goldene Kamera (Golden Camera) (2000)
Short biography of Dieter Bornemann
Born on 28 May 1955 in Zurich, journalist, bank clerk.
Dieter Bornemann lives in Männedorf along the Lake of Zurich (Switzerland) and in Berlin.
At the age of 12 his attention was drawn to Hildegard Knef. His enthusiasm and fascination for
this brilliant lady determine his way of life. Berlin becomes his second home and journalism
his profession. He publishes interviews with many famous artists and works for the press and
for the radio.
As» a loyal companion in one’s life«, as he was named by Knef, he had long and profound
conversations with her time and again. Numerous newspaper articles, photos, records, books
and videos are added to his collection.
Today Dieter Bornemann is a receptionist at a private bank in Zurich.
Dieter Bornemann, Dorfgasse 45, CH-8708 Männedorf
+41 (0)44 929 00 44 (home)
+41 (0)78 790 50 90 (mobile)
((for the exhibition))
Hilde Knef "Halt mich fest" (‘’Hold me tight’’), Memories – Perceptions – Impulses
An homage by Dieter Bornemann on the occasion of Hildegard Knef’s 80 birthday
Exhibition from 7 December 2005 until 27 February 2006
Guided tours: Sundays at 4 pm
Schwules Museum Berlin, Mehringdamm 61, 10961 Berlin
Weekdays except Tuesdays from 2 pm until 6 pm, Saturdays until 7 pm.
Illustrations at www.schwulesmuseum.de/presse/hildegard_knef