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Actor Walter Sittler: Erich Kästner is frighteningly current

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Actor Walter Sittler: Erich Kästner is frighteningly current

For the 125th birthday of the writer Erich Kästner, the Stuttgart actor Walter Sittler is on tour in Germany with his daughter, the singer Lea-Marie Sittler. He has expanded his stage program “Cheers, Uncle Erich” to include newly composed songs with texts from Kästner’s poems.

Kästner as a critic of capitalism

According to Walter Sittler, the political satirist Kästner is less well-known than the children’s book author Kästner. His clear stance against dictatorships and capitalism is also hardly known. But “if you read Emil and the Detectives, there is a strong criticism of capitalism in it. You’re surprised no one sees it.”

Maybe it’s because Kästner stayed in Germany during the Third Reich, Sittler suspects. He was later resented for that. And even if Kästnerer wrote the script for the “Münchausen” film for Goebbels: “Kästner never did anything that would have supported the Nazis.”

Kästner is more relevant than ever

Kästner is frighteningly relevant again today, says Sittler. From his texts you can see “that he is one of those who can describe very precisely what they see, what happens in dictatorships,” says Sittler.

Biographer Sven Hanuschek about Erich Kästner – Much more than a children’s book author

Sittler says his stage evening with texts by Erich Kästner took place in the 1920s: “He was famous then, and then there was a strong break with the Third Reich.” For some, this time was a “feel-good time,” but then as now, the following applies: “You have to constantly make sure that democracy remains. You should never feel safe. There are too many people who want a strong man at the top who tells you what to do and you don’t have to think for yourself. Because then it becomes dangerous.”

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Walter and Lea-Marie Sittler | January 18, 2024 Lea-Marie and Walter Sittler: “Cheers, Uncle Erich” on Erich Kästner’s 125th birthday

Lea-Marie and Walter Sittler are on stage together for the first time: in the play “Cheers, Uncle Erich” for Erich Kästner’s 125th birthday.

Thu.18.1.2024 10:00 a.m. People SWR1 Baden-Württemberg

Walter Sittler reads and plays Erich Kästner – dates 2024

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