Max Jaap was born in Berlin on July 26, 1902 and later studied at the College of Applied Arts there.
Under the Nazis, Jaap was classified as “half-Jewish” and forced to work for IG Farben as of 1937. In 1942, however, he was able to join Terra Film, where he worked as a costume designer, a production and unit manager (Quax in Africa, 1947; The Angel with the Harp, 1944, dir. Heinz Rühmann), and an assistant director. After WWII, Jaap became the head of the Office for Theater and Film in the Berlin borough of Pankow. He became part of the film production team at the newly founded Augenzeuge Studio in 1946, where he served as an editor and director for the weekly newsreel program. As of the late 1940s, he began directing documentaries.
Ludwig van Beethoven—one of DEFA’s first full-length documentaries—brought Jaap international acclaim. This and the portrait of Friedrich Schiller, which he directed next, are important cultural documents of the East German music and theater scene in the 1950s. In addition to working on many short documentaries, in the 1960s Jaap co-directed Bertolt Brecht’s play Katzgraben (with Manfred Wekwerth) and worked on two feature films for television: Mord an Rathenau (1961) and Der tanzende Stein (1964).
Max Jaap died in Berlin on October 11, 1978.
|1964||Der tanzende Stein (The Dancing Stone, TV)|
|1963||Drei Briefe (Three Letters, doc.)|
|1961||Mord an Rathenau (The Murder of Rathenau, TV)|
|1957||Die Welt horcht auf (The World Listens Up, doc.)|
|1956||Friedrich Schiller (doc.)|
|1954||Ludwig van Beethoven (doc.)|
|1954||Eine Modeplauderei (Talking about Fashion, doc.)|
|1951||Unsere jungen Künstler (Our Young Artists, doc.)|
|1949||Mahnmal (Memorial, doc)|
|1948||Botschafter des Friedens (Ambassadors of Peace, doc.)|
|1946||Augenzeugen (Eyewitness newsreels, doc.)|
|1946||Berlin im Aufbau (Rebuilding Berlin, doc., asst. director)|