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Robert Koch: The Battle Against Death (1939)

Robert Koch, der Bekämpfer des Todes (original title)
The young country doctor Dr. Robert Koch is desperate seeking a cure for a tuberculosis epidemic costing many children in his district life.


Hans Steinhoff


Hellmuth Unger (novel), Lotte Neumann (screenplay) (as C.H. Diller) | 3 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Emil Jannings ... Dr. Robert Koch
Werner Krauss ... Geheimrat Rudolf Virchow
Viktoria von Ballasko ... Schwester Else
Raimund Schelcher Raimund Schelcher ... Kochs Assistent Dr. Fritz von Hartwig
Hilde Körber ... Frau Göhrke
Theodor Loos ... Kochs Assistent Dr. Georg Gaffky
Otto Graf Otto Graf ... Kochs Assistent Dr. Friedrich Löffler
Hildegard Grethe Hildegard Grethe ... Emmy Koch
Josef Sieber Josef Sieber ... Waldhüter Göhrke
Peter Elsholtz ... Virchows Sekretär Dr. Karl Wetzel
Elisabeth Flickenschildt ... Baronin von Kossin
Bernhard Minetti Bernhard Minetti ... Sprecher der Gesundbeter
Paul Bildt Paul Bildt ... Reichstagsabgeordneter Baron von Kossin
Paul Dahlke ... Lehrer
Rolf Prasch Rolf Prasch ... Kaiser Wilhelm I.


The young country doctor Dr. Robert Koch is desperate seeking a cure for a tuberculosis epidemic costing many children in his district life.

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Did You Know?


Unlike portrayed in the movie Rudolf Virchow honored Robert Koch's work and didn't hate it. He was critical towards him especially regarding the tuberculosis bacillus and the anthrax pathogen but he wasn't an antagonist as in the movie. The rumor that Virchow was against Koch was created through this movie. This was made because of Virchow's research and dissertation that explains that Germany doesn't have any "pure race" but are all mixed. This analysis was made by Virchow in 1857 and again in 186 which showed different hair-, skin- and eye colors in about 7 million kids, including Jewish kids too. This was against the ideology of the National socialists, which is why he was defamed by the Nazis. See more »


The movie portrays Robert Koch as a lonely fighter for the progress of medicine. However in real life he had support by the bacteriologist Ferdinand Cohn from the Univeristy Breslau and his student and later pathologist Julius Cohnheim. Ferdinand Cohn gave him possibilities to produce experiments in their laboratories in Breslau in 1876. However Cohn was Jewish which is why he wasn't included as a character in this movie, made in Nazi Germany. See more »


Dr. Robert Koch: Göhrte! What are you doing?
Sprecher der Gesundbeter: We have come to excorsice the devil.
Dr. Robert Koch: The only devil that needs to be excorsiced is your brainburned stupidity.
Sprecher der Gesundbeter: You are sinning with the chosen one of the Lord.
Dr. Robert Koch: The chosen one of the Lord? You are a cancer damage. That should be burned.
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Referenced in World on Fire: Episode #1.2 (2019) See more »

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Release Date:

24 November 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Robert Koch: The Battle Against Death See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tobis Filmkunst See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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