- Category : 1902-births
- Type : MS
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Tension 3
German songwriter and schlager writer, responsible for the lyrics to over a thousand popular hits he created from the time he wrote the music for the first German sound film until his retirement in the 1960s. Much of his output was in conjunction with the composer Michael Jary; their songs helped make the singer Zarah Leander popular.
Balz was arrested several times for homosexuality. In 1936 he spent several months in prison, and was released under an agreement that mandated that his name and photographs of him were no longer to appear in public. To maintain the appearance of propriety he entered a "lavender marriage" with a woman named Selma Pett. He was rearrested in 1941 by the Gestapo and was kept in the Gestapo headquarters in Prinz-Albrecht-Straße. He was released from imprisonment by the intervention of Jary, who persuaded officials that he could produce songs that would aid the war effort. Within a day of his release, they had written two of their greatest successes, "Davon geht die Welt nicht unter" and "Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh'n". His film songs for Leander, a star of UFA musicals which were later criticised as having helped public and armed forces morale during the war, became anthems for homosexuals imprisoned in concentration camps.
The fall of the Nazi regime did not spell an end to the persecution of Balz, as Paragraph 175, the law against homosexuality, continued in force. Thus his name is considerably less well-known than if he had been properly credited for his lyrics.
Balz's companion was painter and actor Jürgen Draeger, who was enjoined by a clause in Balz's will from talking about their relations for ten years following Balz's death. Bruno Balz died on 14 March 1988 in Bad Wiessee, aged 85. The Bruno Balz Theatre in Berlin is named for him.