History of Europe

Gladly outrageous:mother of the nation Inge Meysel

She appreciated her irreverence, the audience loved her as a resolute woman:actress Inge Meysel slipped into many roles for decades.

From the salon lady to the cleaning lady to the sneaky murderer, she has played everything - and received a lot of prizes for it:nine Ottos, five Bambis, the Golden Camera and the German Television Prize. In the course of her more than 70-year career, awards were nothing unusual for the actress Inge Meysel. She only rejected the Federal Cross of Merit, with the words:"A medal for having lived your life decently?"

Inge Meysel - loose mouth and a lot of humor

What Inge Meysel valued most about herself was her disrespect. For her it was clear, "before someone is rude to me, I will be rude to him". And preferably in front of an audience.

Her appearances on talk shows are also legendary. Johannes B. Kerner, for example, had to capitulate to her when she was a guest on his show on the occasion of her 90th birthday. After the first question, Inge Meysel complained that the way he conducted the conversation was strange. Thomas Gottschalk also trusted in 2001 in "Wetten, dass...?" ears and eyes:Inge Meysel touched her breasts and said, "My breasts are real, just as God created them" - a small jab at the ladies Ariane Sommer and Nadja Abd El Farrag, who were also invited.

Meysel is suing "Stern" with Alice Schwarzer

Together with Alice Schwarzer at the "Sexism Trial" in 1978 against the magazine "Stern".

Throughout her life, Inge Meysel has not avoided any discussion or controversy. She spoke her mind - in court if she had to. "Fighting keeps you young" was her motto. In 1978, along with Alice Schwarzer and eight other women, she was one of the plaintiffs in the so-called sexism trial before the Hamburg district court.

They had filed a lawsuit against "Stern" and wanted to ensure that Hamburger Illustrierte was prohibited "from insulting the plaintiffs by depicting women as mere sexual objects on the cover of "Stern" and thereby giving the male viewer the impression that the man can dispose of the woman at will or dominate her". The plaintiffs lost the case.

Compulsory break under the NS regime

Inge Meysel learned early on how to get her way. The daughter of a Danish woman and a German Jew was born on May 30, 1910 in Berlin. The parents actually wanted a boy, but Inge came instead. Her father gave her a somewhat "male" upbringing. When she left school at 17 to become an actress, her parents couldn't stop her. In 1930 she made her debut at the theater in Zwickau.

Things went well, both professionally and privately:she met her first great love, Helmut Rudolf. When the National Socialists came to power, Meysel was invited to an interview with the director of the Leipzig theater. "A few months later, Otto Werther told me that three colleagues, a dramaturge, two actors and a colleague had refused to play with me because I was half Jewish," she recalled. As a "half-breed" she was banned from performing in 1933. They also banned other theaters.

Inge Meysel became pregnant in the middle of the war. When she was bombed, she went into labor three months early. The child was born alive but died shortly thereafter.

New start after World War II

After the end of the Second World War, she was itching to make up for lost acting time - initially at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Nobody should ever again be able to control their lives. But at 35 Meysel was now too old for young roles.

She therefore played the clever housewife more and more frequently. After a few tabloid plays, she expanded her spectrum and took on character roles. In the 1960s she discovered the young medium of television. After that, she slipped into more than 100 television roles.

Actress Inge Meysel - the "mother of the nation"?

For many, Inge Meysel was the "mother of the nation". Nobody knows exactly where this title came from. Some believe this reputation came from her role as the doorman in "The Window to the Hall," where she was very caring for her children.

Her role as Käthe Scholz in the TV series "The Incorrigibles" from 1965 to 1971 shaped Meysel's image as a resolute mother.

Others claim it comes from her role as mother hen Käthe Scholz in "The Incorrigibles". From 1965 to 1971, television aired one episode each Mother's Day. She saw herself differently, did not see herself as motherly at all. Inge Meysel was married twice, first to the Hamburg actor Helmut Rudolph, second to the director John Olden. Both marriages remained childless.

In 2001 she played in the TV film "Die Liebenden vom Alexanderplatz". She took on her last role in 2004 in the police call 110 in "My last will".

In her final years, Inge Meysel lived a secluded life in her house in Bullenhausen in the Seevetal municipality in Lower Saxony. She died there on July 10, 2004 at the age of 94.