Veit Harlan, the son of a novelist, was born in Berlin, on 22nd September, 1899. He became an actor and began appearing on the stage at the age of sixteen.
After working for the Berlin State Theatre for eleven years Harlan became a film actor. A supporter of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), Harlan directed his first film, Krach im Hinterhaus, in 1934. This highly successful film was followed by Kater Lampe (1935) and Die Kreutzersonate (1937).
Harlan's support for the Nazi Party was illustrated in his films, Jugend (1938), Verwehte Spuren (1938), Das Unsterbliche Herz (1939), Jud Süss (1940), an anti-semitic film which was shown in occupied countries to whip up hostility towards locals Jews. Other films made by Harlan included Der Grosse Konig (1941) and Kolberg (1944).
After the Second World War Harlan was arrested and imprisoned by the Allies. However, in April, 1949, he was found not guilty of "crimes against humanity". Veit Harlan died in 1963.