GIEHSE, THERESE (1898–1975), German actress. Giehse was born as Therese Gift to the textile merchant Salomon Gift and his wife, Gertrude, in Munich. Between 1918 and 1920 she took acting lessons and made her debut at the Buehnenverein in Munich (1920). She adopted the name Giehse, and after engagements at various provincial theaters worked under Paul Barnay (1884–1960) in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland). Otto Falckenberg (1873–1947), then director of the Muenchner Kammerspiele, invited her to join his ensemble in 1925 where she stayed until 1933 and also got to know the *Mann family. Giehse, Erika Mann, and Klaus Mann founded the Literarische Cabaret – "Die Pfeffermuehle" in 1933 in response to the Nazi rise to power. She immigrated via Austria to Switzerland in March 1933 because of the increasing political pressure and refounded Die Pfeffermuehle. During her exile in Zurich (1933–37) she also toured in various European and American cities and through her marriage to British actor John Hampson-Simpson became a British citizen (1936). From 1937 on she worked at the Zuericher Schauspielhaus and starred in the world premieres of Bertold Brecht's plays Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (1941), Der gute Mann von Sezuan (1943), and Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti (1948). She performed at various theaters in Munich, Berlin, and Zurich from 1949 to 1952 and had successes with major roles in plays by Friedrich Duerrenmatt like Der Besuch der alten Dame (1956) and Die Physiker (1962). In 1954 she returned to Munich and had various roles in film, radio, and theater productions. She was awarded the Bundesfilmpreis/Filmband in Silber (1955).
W. Drews, Die Schauspielerin Therese Giehse (1965); M. Sperr, Therese Giehse– "Ich hab nichts zum Sagen" (1973); M. Piekenbrock, Therese Giehse 1898–1998 (Deutsches Theatermuseum Muenchen, 2000); I. Hildebrandt, "Pfeffer ueber Zuerich – Therese Giehse, Erika Mann und die Pfeffermuehle," in: I. Hildebrandt (ed.), Frauen die Geschichte schreiben (2002), 235–62; M. Karl, "Therese Giehse – Die Mutter Courage," in: M. Karl (ed.), Bayerische Amazonen (2004), 151–67.
[Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]