Kalanag (Helmut Ewald Schreiber)
2 Photographs
In Collection

5.5” x 3.5” sepia photo of the magician who performed under the name Kalanag. On the reverse is period appropriate writing saying: “Schreiber Helmut alias Kala Nag” written in ink and almost calligraphic. I do not believe this would have been Kalang’s actual handwriting for several reasons so it was likely written by the recipient.

Printed on high quality matte paper, it’s a rather stunning photo, despite Herr Schreiber’s association with high-ranking members of the Nazi regime including Hitler.

Very Fine.
Product Details
Height x Width 5.5 x 3.5  inch
Personal Details
Read It No
Location Magic Library (Home)
Condition Very Fine
Owner Bryan-Keith Taylor
From: Magicpedia

Kalanag (Helmut Ewald Schreiber)

Helmut Ewald Schreiber
January 23, 1903 Fornsbach near Stuttgart, Germany

December 24, 1963 (age 60) Gaildorf, Württemberg, Germany

Kalanag (January 23, 1903 - December 24, 1963) was born Helmut Ewald Schreiber in Germany. He developed an illusion show picking the stage name from the East Indian word kala nag (from Kipling's Jungle Tales) meaning "black snake", thinking that outside of Germany people might find Schreiber hard to pronounce. During the war, Kalanag was closely associated with members of the Nazi party including Goebbels, Göring and Hitler.

He was president of the German Magic Circle leading up to World War II and began is career working in films.

His show was said to have elaborate sets, consisting of many costume changes and made use of confederates. He was noted for Levitation illusion.

The "Who's Who in Magic" page in the September 1931 of the Sphinx, he reports his birthday as January 23, 1893.

His performing troupe consisted of his wife, Gloria De Vos and 40 other persons. A portion of his mammoth production was on the Ed Sullivan Show.

He was editor of the German magic magazine, Die Magie.[1][2][3]

Der Magier Erzählt Sein Leben, (autobiography, "The magician tells his life"), published by Blüchert Verlag (1962).

From Wikipedia

Kalanag (Helmut Ewald Schreiber)

Kalanag, civil Helmut Ewald Schreiber, (* 23. January 1903 in Backnang ; [1] † 24. December 1963 in Gaildorf ) was a German film producer and Magicians in the German Empire and the early Federal Republic of Germany .

1 life
1.1 Early years
1.2 Time of National Socialism
1.3 end of the war
1.4 Economic miracle
1.5 world tours
1.6 Germany Television GmbH
2 The late years
3 fonts
4 literature
5 web links
6 individual proofs


Early Years
Already in his youth, the factory son devoted himself intensively to the art of magic and entered the Magic Circle of Germany at the age of 16 . He attended secondary school in Stuttgart and later studied at the University of Munich and at the Technical University of Munich .

During his studies of philosophy in Munich, he organized one of the first German wizarding congresses. At the same time he gained experience as an actor and dramaturge at the Münchner Kammerspiele . From 1925 he worked, ostensibly doctorate, in the film industry in Berlin. As a manager he was in 1926, among others, the silent movies chasing people (1926), The Man Without a Head (1927), One against all (1927), not to mention the duty (1927), circumstantial evidence (1928), The Winner (1928 ), Marriage in Need (1929), Maternal Love (1929),The Mistress and her servant (1929) and innocence (1929) involved.

In 1927 he became editor-in-chief of MAGIE magazine of the Magic Circle. He chose his stage name after the elephant Kala Nag ("Black Snake") from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book .

Time of National Socialism:

Due to his good contacts to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels he made his career at the Tobis Film Company . With the onset of the sound film era Schreiber rose to production manager , from 1930 to 1934 he was also active as a motorcycle racer. From autumn 1936 he worked as a production group leader, in 1939 he joined the administrative executive days of the film industry, in June 1942 he finally became production manager of the Bavaria and remained there until the end of the war. As author, cameraman, recording and production manager, Schreiber was responsible for a total of 150 films. Schreiber, who since 1933 [2] the NSDAPbelonged, prevented the dissolution of the magic circle, which however starting from June 1936 in the context of the so-called Gleichschaltung was forcibly affiliated to the Reich Chamber of Culture ( Reichstheaterkammer , section artistry). Schreiber got involved by the National Socialists as president of the Magic Circle (1936-1945), reduced the originally 1373 members to 400 and prevented the use of JewishCompositions as background music. Without belonging to the circle controlled by Schreiber, magicians in Germany were banned from performing, which inevitably affected Jewish magicians. In contrast, after the war, Jewish artists were related to Kalanag and pointed out that he still kept Jewish personnel in the service of Bavaria for a long time. In 1936 Schreiber was awarded the Hofzinser Ring , which he passed on to Ludwig Hanemann (artist name Punx ) in 1948. [3]

After the so-called Anschluss of Austria , Schreiber extended his influence to there. Schreiber became director of the Bavaria Film in Munich, conjured up public speeches by Hitler and in 1939 was a guest at the Berghof am Obersalzberg . Schreiber fostered friendship with Hitler's personal adjutant, SS Gruppenführer Julius Schaub , who sponsored magical events. For magicians, Uncommonly disliked the public education about fraudulent tricks of spiritualists and threatened traitors even openly with the Gestapo . This attitude may seem like friendship with SchreiberBerlin police chief and occultist Wolf-Heinrich Count von Helldorff are related, who had considered the tricky imposter Erik Jan Hanussen for a real magician . Schreiber propagated today's spell "Simsalabim" as his creation, which historians ascribe to the Danish-American magician Dante .

End of the war:

Towards the end of the war, Schreiber mediated between the Allies and wanted SS men , who offered free access to the legendary robbery gold , which is officially largely lost. Later, when the military police Schreiber wanted to arrest on the Bavaria site, this appeared in the presence of high American military who protected him. As president of the Magic Circle, he was deposed and received from the Allies professional ban . After a denazification process Schreiber fled to the British occupation zone to Hamburg, where he lived with a magic friend who was known as the "King of the black market" and was later convicted of smuggling diamonds with a Swiss magician.


Since Schreiber had a professional ban in his previous profession, he turned his hobby into a profession in 1947 - at a time when the postwar period was turning into a postwar boom or economic miracle . With the support of former Tobis people, he entertained British occupation soldiers with his Kalanag revue , consisting of elaborate illusions and lightly dressed showgirls.

The most famous numbers included, among others, the Magic Bar dating back to Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin and made famous by David Devant , where the whole idea of ​​a single pitcher was served on demand, as well as for special tricks the (saying) saying "And we'll do it all with water from India" poured a spurt of water out of a never-ending carafe on the stage. As the highlight of every performance, he left the brightly lit stage to an idea by Howard Thurstona car disappear. An important element of his shows was always his wife and partner Gloria de Vos (Anneliese Voss). As his assistant, with the degree of sex appeal and dancer allowed for the time , she gave each performance a special shine. Exoticism was provided by a cheetah appearing in a box .

Officially it was never known how Schreiber had financed the elaborate show in post-war Germany from scratch. Alone the costs for the disappearing car amounted to the then astronomical sum of 10.000, - DM. Magicians like Janos Bartl or Fredo Marvelli , whom Schreiber had badly played during the time of the national socialism, called in boy pamphlets for the boycott of his shows.

World Tours:

In the 1950s, Kalanag toured with his 50-member ensemble tours of Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Turkey and Switzerland. In the summer of 1960 he appeared in the Zwickau Groß-Variete Lindenhof . At that time, Kalanag was the only major illusionist in the world who still toured with such an elaborate show. The magic historian Richard Hatch points out that the traveled countries strikingly match the banknotes that had disappeared in 1945 with the Nazi gold. Supposedly, the CIAKalanag's activities have been observed throughout his life. Before and after Kalanag, no other German magician has ever taken the economic risk of such costly world tours. At the end of the 1950s interest in variety shows diminished, which also brought Schreiber into financial difficulties.

Germany television GmbH:

Schreiber became entertainment director in the commercial Free Television Society . The company served the construction of the Germany-Fernsehen GmbH planned by Adenauer , which should have offered a conservative alternative to the broadcasters of the ARD . However, the project failed due to the 1st Broadcasting Judgment of the Federal Constitutional Court .

The late years:

Although Kalanag had achieved a high profile and status, he could not build on his success with a slimmed-down version of his revue. In the mid-1950s, Schreiber moved from Hamburg to the Württemberg village of Fornsbach , where his cousin Margarete Sedlmayer owned land and ran a café . Here he built a bungalow with show stage ("Kalanag Studio"). On January 23, 1963, he celebrated his 60th birthday, but on Christmas Eve 1963 he probably died of heart failure in the Gaildorfer Hospital. According to his daughter Brigitte Löser, "he lived very unhealthily and was very overweight". [4]He left his fortune divorced Mrs. Gloria a fortune in the amount of 500.000 DM . This sought throughout his life a larger treasury from the Nazi gold , of which she also assumed that Schreiber hid tim somewhere.


Kalanag: Simsalabim whirls around the world. A magical book full of wonder, purrs and sensations. 1949th
Kalanag: A magician tells his life. 1,962th


Douglas Botting, Ian Sayer: Nazi Gold - The Story of the World's Greatest Robbery - and its Aftermath. London 1984, ISBN 0-586-05594-0 .
Werner Geissler-Werry: Kalanag (actually Helmut Schreiber). In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1977, ISBN 3-428-00192-3 , p. 44 f. ( Digitized ).
Richard Hatch: Kalanag and the Vanishing Banknotes. In: MAGIC. 1989, p. 48. (English)
Richard Hatch: The last word. In: magical world. 2003, p. 98.
Wittus Witt , Bernd Heller: My President. In a magical world. 2003, p. 98.
Kay Weniger : The big person lexicon of the film . The actors, directors, cinematographers, producers, composers, screenwriters, film architects, decorators, costume designers, cutters, sound engineers, make-up artists and special effects designers of the 20th century. Volume 7: R - T. Robert Ryan - Lily Tomlin. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-340-3 .
Rolf Aurich: Kalanag. The controlled illusions of Helmut Schreiber. Criminal publishing house, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-95732-152-7 .
Benoehr-Laqueur, Susanne: Kanalag: Unfathomable opportunist and anti-Semite?

Web links:

Kalanag in theInternet Movie Database(English)
German Theater ( Memento of 16 July 2006 in the Internet Archive )

Single references:

Bettina Albrod: The magician of the leader. In: World Online . November 15, 2008, accessed on November 13, 2017 .
According to Kay Weniger since 1939.
MAGIC / PUNX: Man from the cloud. In: The mirror . 6/1950, 9 February 1950.
Elisabeth Klaper: He fascinated an audience of millions. In: Commemorative 650 years Fornsbach - Special publication of the Murrhardter newspaper. July 3, 2014.

From IMDb

Kalanag (Helmut Ewald Schreiber)

Born January 23, 1903 in Stuttgart, Germany
Died December 24, 1963
Birth Name Helmut Schreiber
Mini Bio (1)
Helmut Ewald Schreiber was a German film producer during the late 1920s through the end of the Third Reich. By the end of the war he was production chief at Bavaria Film in Munich. After the war, he became world famous as a stage magician, performing under the name "Kalanag".
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Richard Hatch

Spouse (1)
Anneliese Voß (7 February 1942 - 1960) ( divorced)
Trivia (29)
When the interest at his shows waned at the end of the 50s he was no longer able to achieve the former success. Finally he gave up his show tours and settled down in Fornsbach where he founded the "Kalanag Studio".
His performing troupe consisted of his wife, Gloria De Vos and 40 to 50 other persons. A portion of his mammoth production was also on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Schreiber took advantage of the economic confusion following the cessation of WWII, to emerge within a few short years with one of the most lavish and indeed last touring illusion spectaculars of its kind.
Rumors flew that Kalanag had used political pressure to steal the illusion show from Alois Kassner, the "Thurston of Germany" who disappeared from magic for a number of years after WWII.
During the time hie worked for the film business he remained true to the magic. Among others he took over the editorship of the magazine "Magie" in 1927 and at that time he chose his pseudonym Kalanag.
Helmut Schreiber was fascinated by magic at a young age and after he finished his education at the University Munich and at the Institute of Technology in Munic he executed first congresses for magic.
The "Who's Who in Magic" page in the September 1931 of the Sphinx, he reports his birthday as January 23, 1893.
While on tour in America in 1956, Kalanag was plagued by the distribution of leaflets calling for a boycott of his show because of his alleged Nazi background. However, he also helped release magician Jac Olten from a German POW camp in 1940, giving him magic props and bookings as well as his freedom.
Because he was not able to earn his living as a magician he worked full-time for the film business first as a production manager and later as a producer. He was responsible as a producer in 1928 for the first time for the movie "Alraune" .
The Kalanag Magical Musical Revue carried the magician and his wife Gloria De Vos worldwide from the late 1940s until his death in 1963.
His show was said to have elaborate sets, consisting of many costume changes and made use of confederates. He was noted for Levitation illusion.
The film producer Helmut Schreiber was able to launch two successful careers. On the one hand he was a busy film producer and production manager till the end of the 30s, on the other hand he became a successful magician after World War II under the pseudonym Kalanag.
He developed an illusion show picking the stage name from the East Indian word kala nag (from Kipling's Jungle Tales) meaning "black snake", thinking that outside of Germany people might find Schreiber hard to pronounce.
His shows wowed a always growing audience and at the peak of his career he occupied about 50 persons for his shows. It followed tours through countries like Spain, Sweden and Great Britain and finally followed appearances outside Europe in South Africa, Brazil and the USA.
Thank to his good connections to the then rulers like Joseph Goebbels he not only became an important personality in the film business but also obtained the presidency of the magic circle which had a direct influence to the magicians who were allowed to perform in Germany.
During the war, Kalanag was closely associated with members of the Nazi party including Goebbels, Göring and Hitler.
After the war he was no longer allowed to work because of his connection to the NSDAP and he was longer able to work as an actor. Instead of that he saw the chance to earn his living as a magician. He soon launched successful stage shows decorated with erotic dancers.
Today there is much controversy among the German magic fraternity, some holding him in contempt for his coercive use of illusion in the services of political power, while others acclaim his talents as an opportunistic but skillful performer and grand master of illusion.
Hitler's "Minister of Magic" may not be remembered as well as many before him due to his dubious and what many may call a dastardly past.
Kalanag just before his death was invited onto the Ed Sullivan Show in the United States where he presented his now famous Chair Illusion. Possibly his last public performance that must have been a privilege for someone with such a controversial background and career.
As president of the Magischer Zirkel Von Deutchland he was also involved in the anti-Semitization campaign against the country's Jewish magicians.
He was noted for his sawing in half dressed as a surgeon, and used a beautiful black cheetah called Simbo that was a gift from the late Haillie Selassie of Ethiopia.
With his extensive background with film, as an executive of the Tobis Film Corporation he was appointed by the Reichminister Goring himself as chief of the large Bavarian Film Corporation that was responsible for over 150 movies that included propaganda films.
After his death in 1963 aged 60, his wife tried unsuccessfully to sell the whole show and even offered it to Siegfried and Roy who declined the offer.
While Kalanag found favour with the David Risley Gallery Kalanag Nazi hierarchy, another Austrian Jewish magician Erik Jan Hanussen (1888-1933) lost favour. Hanussen was a hypnotist, occultist, psychic clairvoyant and obvious charlatan who Hitler retained as his confidant and personal forecaster. For a few years he maintained this liaison with Hitler to whom he taught the Fuhrer much of his ability to speak confidently and rousingly to influence the German populous. After a strange fire that Hanussen had predicted he was found murdered under strange circumstances. Herein lays another weird and fascinating story of its own. Hitler relied on Hanussen for his occult interpretation of future events and often relied on his forecasts when making major decisions. However as his last predictions came to fruition failed he was eliminated.
He performed for the Fuhrer at his Berghof Retreat and mingled freely among the Nazi elite. While performing for Hitler at his Berghof retreat, Kalanag unobtrusively managed to up load 150 Deutschmarks into his pocket that greatly surprised the Fuhrer.
In 2008 an exhibition was arranged in England by Johnathan Allen that brought out more about the personality of the illusionist through a selection of his many photographs, rather than concentrating on his talent as a stage performer.
By this time much of his clandestine past had been disclosed and most magicians chose not to be associated with the Kalanag name.
Kalanag presented a very authentic stage version of the famed 'Indian Rope Trick'. A coil of rope was shown, Kalanag played an Eastern flute and the rope mysteriously rose up off the floor high above the stage. A small boy then climbed the rope only to vanish with the boy's body parts dropping to the floor as the rope fell. The boy appeared once again from a basket on stage none the worse for his ordeal.