Werner Hecht was born in Leipzig in 1926, where he studied theater and literature with the internationally-recognized literary scholar Hans Mayer, among others. He joined the Berliner Ensemble as a dramaturg in 1959 and became Helene Weigel’s close collaborator. Hecht was the director of the East German Brecht Center until 1990. In this position, he was responsible for the international organization and coordination of research on Brecht’s work.
As both an editor and author, Hecht has been responsible for the publication of many works by and about Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel. He was one of four editors on the East/West German team that put together the extraordinary 30-volume edition, Bertolt Brecht: Werke. Große kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe (Transl. Bertolt Brecht: Works. The Extensive Annotated Berlin and Frankfurt Edition). This project was based at the University of Karlsruhe and published by Suhrkamp and Aufbau Verlag, formerly an East German press. In 2000, the Bertolt Brecht Research Institute at the University of Karlsruhe acquired Hecht’s extensive collection of source material.
In 2011, Werner Hecht in collaboration with director Manfred Karge, premiered at the Berliner Ensemble a collage based on original documents about Brecht’s Lukullus opera scandal in 1951.
Bibliography & More:
Hecht, Werner. Brechts Leben in schwierigen Zeiten. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2007.
Hecht, Werner. Helene Weigel. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2000.
Hecht, Werner. Brecht-Chronik 1898-1956. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1997.
Bertolt Brecht: Werke. Große kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe. Berlin: Suhrkamp & Aufbau Verlag, 1988-2000. (Co-editor)
Hecht, Werner and Wolfgang Gersch. Kuhle Wampe: Protokoll des Films und Materialien. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1969.