enczsksiplhudeitsvhrespt
/ enMain menu 
Navigation:  Theatre Database
EN | CS

German House

Felix Neumann

alias Deutsche Haus (1895–1945)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)90. 's 19. century | construction

An association Deutsches Haus was established at the beginning of June of 1892 for the purpose of construction of  the German House.  The representatives of the association selected the design by architect Felix  Neumann from Moravská Ostrava for implementation. He applied forms of North Neo-Renaissance. His model was the House of the German Booksellers in Leipzig from 1886–1888 by Henrich Kayser and Karl von Grossheim.


(detail)2.10.1895 | opening

The German House was ceremonially opened in June of 1895 to public. The first theatre performance here was Wohltäter der Menschheit  by Anton  Freytag on 2nd October of 1895. Theatre performances, concerts and further cultural and political actions took place mainly in the ceremonial hall in the first floor of the building. It was not an area primarily dedicated to theatre.


(detail)1919 | reconstruction

Not  before  the German House became a seat of German theatre, operated by the association Deutsches Theaters. The German theatre had to cope with shortcomings of the historicising multi-purpose hall, therefore immediately in 1919, it was converted for theatre use according to the design by the building firm Hans Ulrich and Alois Schön from Moravská Ostrava.


(detail)1945 | demolition

After the occupation of the Czechoslovakia by the Nazi Germany, the German House served to representation of the Nazi movement. The subsequent war events determined the end of the German theatre in Moravská Ostrava and the end of the German House as well. The damaged building was torn down after the war as a symbol of German nation.


People

Felix Neumann |main architect

History

There appeared some proposals concerning  establishment of a  community house with a concert hall and rooms for various associations already in the 1880s. At the beginning of the 1890s, cultural and political circles in Moravská Ostrava considered construction of a culture centre or concert hall that would serve to the increasing needs of art and naturally to the representation of the city as well. The ethnic situation in the city, governed by German political parties, became acute in the very same period of time. The Czech representatives demanded completion of the Czech education system, hitherto considerably insufficient. One of the reasons for the fact that an integrated municipal centre for both the ethnicities did not come into existence was the negative attitude of the German municipal representation to establishment of Czech schools. Thus mutual negotiations led to no result.  

The Czech Civic Debate Club, founded in 1862, decided in November 1891 that it would construct a community house with an appropriate hall and other rooms. A cooperative called National House came into existence and purchased a required plot in the middle of December of 1891 from builder František  Jurečka and commenced construction of the National House in 1892 according to the design by Josef Srb. The German side and its associations reacted to this by endeavouring to construct the German House. An association Deutsches Haus was established at the beginning of June of 1892 for such purpose.

The plot by the Nádražní Avenue in the location, where Zámecká Street run into it, was selected as a construction site. In its vicinity, there was an important traffic junction (a local railway station) and at the same time connection towards west – Říšská Street. The representatives of the association selected the design by architect Felix  Neumann (1860–1942) from Moravská Ostrava for implementation. He applied forms of the North Neo-Renaissance as he encountered  them during his studies. His model was the House of the German Booksellers in Leipzig from 1886–1888 by Henrich Kayser and Karl von Grossheim.

The House of the German Booksellers considerably influenced the form of the competition design for the German House in Brno by German architects Hermann  Ende  and Wilhelm Böckmann  from 1887. The final appearance of the German House in Brno united the exterior in  the Northern  Renaissance style with the interior of this representative building being designed in an eclectic fusion of Neo-Renaissance with Neo-Baroque by Germano Wanderley, another participant of the mentioned competition in Brno. An apparent reference to builders’ ideas of Greater German Empire were rendered by transparently moulded volumes with dominants in a shape of distinct bays, topped by Dutch gables, and a stress on historical means of expression in a couple of plain brickwork – walls,  and a historicising, embossed stucco apparatus of architectural elements. The same forms were used by  F. Neumann for the first time in the design and by construction of the Hotel Gambrinus with a beer hall at the present Masaryk’s Square in 1891–1893. This plain brick house was topped by a Dutch gable being a reference to the mentioned examples of the German architecture, one located in German Leipzig and the other in Moravian Brno. For his victorious design of the German House, Neumann applied the proved range of forms that had positive feedback in the German area in Moravia. The construction was carried out by builder Josef Zuber. The German House was ceremonially opened in June of 1895 for public.

The first theatre performance here was Wohltäter der Menschheit  by Anton  Freytag on 2nd October of 1895. Theatre performances, concerts and further cultural and political actions took place mainly in the ceremonial hall in the first floor of the building. It was not an area primarily dedicated to theatre. It was without a floor gradient and it lacked an adequately sized stage with a fly loft, because the stage was located in the south section of the building, which did not allow its spatial expansion. Furthermore, the hall was oriented towards Nádražní Avenue by its west, longer side. This side was broken by five windows, from which three were located in the central bay of the building. A balcony above the main entrance could be accessed through these large French windows with barrel vaults. The hall of 24 m in length, 16,5 m width and 11,5 m height had a capacity of  600 seats. There were openings above entrances on the north side later modified to boxes, and a balcony against the stage above the entrance to the dining room. The stage was 11 deep, 15 or 16.5 m wide and almost 14 m high. The hall was accessed from the ground floor by main three-flight and two two-flight staircases. The main and north side staircases probably were used by staff and connected   rooms in the basement with the backstage.

Because the hall was not exclusively equipped as a theatre hall, the city representatives pursued construction of a detached theatre building. That came into existence according to the design by Viennese architect Alexander Graf in 1905–1907 at the nearby Antonínovo Square of that time. Not  before 1919 after a forced takeover of the municipal theatre by the Czech association National Theatre of Moravia and Silesia, the German House became a seat of German theatre, operated by the association Deutsches Theaters. The German theatre had to cope with shortcomings of the historicising multi-purpose hall of the German House. The hall did not have neither appropriate acoustic nor correct visibility, stage equipment and backstage for the theatrical company. Therefore immediately in 1919, the ceremonial hall was converted for theatre use according to the design by the building firm Hans Ulrich and Alois Schön from Moravská Ostrava. A cash desk was added in 1923 and a drop and curtain were being adjusted a year later. The German venue in Ostrava achieved remarkable success despite the complicated conditions especially between 1929–1938. The association Deutsches Theaters used the theatre until March of 1939.

After the occupation of the Czechoslovakia by the Nazi Germany, the German theatre moved into the municipal theatre again (the Antonín Dvořák Theatre in the present days), meanwhile the Czech National Theatre of Moravia and Silesia had to move into the Czech National House, which hall had to be converted for theatre use in 1939–1940. The German theatre operated in the old and new conditions until the first half of 1944. The German House served to representation of the Nazi movement. The subsequent war events determined the end of the German theatre in Moravská Ostrava and the end of the German House as well. The damaged building was torn down after the war as a symbol of German nation.

 

Sources and literature:

–  Archiv města Ostravy, Sbírka stavebních spisů, Ostrava – katastrální území Moravská Ostrava, inv. č. 654, č. kartonu 131 – čp. 951, Nádražní 2 / Zámecká 25

–  Alois Schwarz, Das Deutsche Haus in Mährisch-Ostrau. Gedenkblätter zur Feier der Eröffnung am 2. und 3. Juni 1895, den Mitgliedern und Förderern des Vereins Deutsches Haus gewidmet von…, Mährisch-Ostrau 1895

–  Wiener Bauindustrie Zeitung 12, 1895, s. 662 a 680

–  Německé divadlo, in: Moravská Ostrava: Národohospodářská propagace Československa, řada A, svazek XV., Moravská Ostrava 1937, s. 73–74

–  Jindřich Vybíral, Zrození velkoměsta. Architektura v obraze Moravské Ostravy 18901938, Ostrava 1997, s. 7

–  Pavel Zatloukal, O Moravské Ostravě jako „rezervaci“ architektury pozdní secese a art déco, in: Ostrava. Příspěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska 18, Ostrava 1997, s. 164

–  Pavel Zatloukal, Příběhy z dlouhého století: Architektura let 17501918 na Moravě a ve Slezsku, Olomouc 2002, s. 389

–  Josef Šerka, Německý dům v Moravské Ostravě 1895-1945, in: Ostrava: Příspěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska 21, Ostrava 2003, s. 399–421

–  Jindřich Vybíral, Zrození velkoměsta: Architektura v obraze Moravské Ostravy 18901938, Brno-Ostrava 2003, s. 15–17

–  JŠt [Jiří Štefanides], Divadelní budovy a sály, in: Kulturněhistorická encyklopedie Slezska a severovýchodní Moravy I. (A–M), Ostrava 2005, s. 191

–  Hana Šústková, Německé divadelnictví v Moravské Ostravě do roku 1918, in: Ostrava. Příspěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska 23, Ostrava 2007, s. 296–325

–  Šárka Glombíčková – Hana Šústková, Ostravská divadla aneb umění Thalie v černém městě, Ostrava 2009

 

Tags: Austria-Hungary, Belle Époque, extinct theatre, Fin de siècle, Neo-Baroque, Neo-Renaissance

 

Author: Strakoš Martin

Translator: Jan Purkert

Additional information

No information has yet been entered

Add information

Name: The name will be published

Email: The email will not be published

Information: Please enter information about this theatre, at least 10 characters

nineplusthree=