Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jochen Zmeck is dead!

Two days ago Jochen Zmeck, one of the most influential German magician died. Born in 1929 in Berlin. His first magic show was when he was 14 years old. Then he became a teacher. After the second World War he became a chemistry teacher in Bernau a small town north east of Berlin.

My grandma was one of his pupils. She told me, that one of the ways to make sure everyone tried their best was to show a magic trick when the class did well. That's great motivation.

Soon thereafter he worked for the East German movie company DEFA as a consultant and as an actor playing a magician in children's TV specials.

His wife Helma became his stage assistant in 1962. Both of them traveled around the world making money with magic. In 1978 he published "Das Handbuch der Magie" (The Handbook of Magic) which would become the German Bible of magic.

Jochen Zmeck became an honorary member of the German magic circle and the magic circle of Israel. The magic circles of Moscow and of the Austrian Graz made him a member as well.

In 1997 a serious accident puts a sudden stop to his many activities as consultant, magic judge and author (of over 50 books). From that time on Jochen Zmeck led a pretty private life. And that's when I met him.

The town I was born in is Bernau. Jochen Zmeck lived in the next small village called R├╝dnitz. So naturally, having an interest in magic our paths crossed. Briefly. But it made me appreciate the vast knowledge that Jochen Zmeck possessed. And his ability to actually use that knowledge to create simple, direct magic effects.

If you are a German magician, it is virtually impossible to not encounter Jochen Zmeck in some form or another. And even though the kind of magic he represented is outdated it has and it will be a nice lead in to magic in general.

I will certainly miss him.


darkstar said...

Sorry for your loss Roland. Honestly I had never heard of him, but it's pretty obvious he was a very talented man.

I shall salute one in his honor tonight.

The Frodocat said...

I remember seeing several of his tricks performed on your card blog. I hope his book will be published in English one day so more people like myself will be exposed to his magic.

Benji's Blogbar said...

Well said! Thanks for honouring this man! It was indeed someone every German magician has heard of and he will be missed but remembered.

Andrew Musgrave said...


Sorry to hear this. I loved that you put his work up on your Daily Card Trick blog.

terran said...

I started studying German recently. Reading his book would be a good motivation for myself.

Is "Das Handbuch der Magie" widely avalaible?

Roland said...

yes it still is. Just 15 Euros