the enigma of klaus kinski


an end clip with kinski playing werner herzog’s aguirre wrath of god. this can be seen as an addendum to dd’s post!!

klaus kinski, the epic actor, who played in herzog’s aguirre wrath of god (one of our favorite films of all time – a must see) was a german national of polish decent and born to a struggling family in germany. his father was a failed opera singer, and his mother a nurse. his true name was klaus günter karl nakszynski, which he later changes to klaus kinsky. he was conscripted at age 17 into the german wehrmacht some time in 1943, serving in the army. he saw no action until the winter of 1944, when his unit was transferred to the netherlands. he was wounded and captured by the british army on his second day of combat and was eventually transferred to england as  prisoner of war. of course in true kinsky fashion, he recalled the events differently. kinsky claimed that he defected from the german wehrmacht and was court marshaled and sentenced to death. he explained that he theh managed to escaped, and turned himself-in to the british army, but as his recollections on the set of fitzcarraldo he is likely painting a finer picture than what was reality. at the end of the war the german POW’s were anxious to return home. kinski had heard that sick prisoners were to be returned first, and being the nut case that he is, he tried to qualify by standing outside naked at night, drinking urine and eating cigarettes. he remained healthy but finally was returned to germany in 1946, after spending a year and four months in captivity. upon arrival he discovered that his father had died and his mother had perished in the allied bombing. alone, he pursued what he had first experienced under allied imprisonment, acting… and the rest is history. the enigma of klaus kinski still remains. by uh