Hans Kaniuk

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Hans Kaniuk (b. Berlin, 07/01/1909 – d. Johannesburg, 17/03/1991) was an actor, stage technician and film producer. Also credited as Hans Kann.


Before Hans Kaniuk came to South Africa in 1934, he had been involved in the theatre in both Germany and Switzerland, though the most easily accessible records seem to indicate that this was primarily as a technician. In fact, unable to make a living as an actor, he had become an electrical engineer. Nevertheless, in 1936 the Rand Daily Mail reported that he was a new recruit to the amateur theatrical ranks, appearing in the Johannesburg High School Old Girls’ production of Kissing Time, a musical comedy with music by Ivan Caryll and book and lyrics by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse. In 1955 he was also in the cast of Ruth Oppenheim’s production of John Van Druten’s I Am a Camera, a play set in Berlin during the time of the Weimar Republic, a setting with which Kaniuk would have been familiar. At the time he was credited as Hans Kann.

In the meantime he pursued his electrical engineering business in End Street until, in 1958, he teamed up with cameraman Judex C. Viljoen to launch Johannesburg Film Productions. Their first film was a now forgotten short called South African Miscellany. This was followed by the feature Satanskoraal, a co-production with Jamie Uys, on which he acted as executive producer. Directed by Elmo de Witt, one of the leading roles was taken by Tessa Laubscher, with whom Kaniuk had acted in the stage version of I Am a Camera. There were to be no other productions, though the company provided technical services for Die Reën Kom Weer (Pierre D. Botha/1963) and The Foster Gang (Percival Rubens/1964). For Botha he also played a small role in Die Bubbles Schroeder Storie (1964).

His first wife was Rose Charlotte (Lotte) Bach (born Lewinsohn), whom he may have married in Berlin, but the couple were divorced in 1961. The following year he married Rita Kupisiewicz (born Bass), in Johannesburg. (FO)


Rand Daily Mail, 3 October 1936

Rand Daily Mail, 15 February 1958


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