Germain Muller (July 11, 1923 - October 10, 1994) was a French actor, Singer-Songwriter, humorist, playwright, poet, politician and cabaret owner.
Born in Strasbourg, Alsace, a few years after the area became French again following World War I (it had been German since France lost the Franco-Prussian War), he was a prominent figure (and defender/promoter) of Alsace's particular culture.
Drawing inspiration from Swiss and German popular theatre (the satirical kind especially), he founded a Dinner Theatre in Strasbourg, De Barabli, which performed plays, musical numbers and stand-up comedy entirely in Alsatian, the variant of Alemannisch spoken as dialect in the area for centuries, which has had a rough time with both World Wars and francisation. The cabaret operated from 1946 to 1992.
A former disciple of Muller, Roger Siffer, created the cabaret La Choucrouterie in Strasbourg in 1984, which still operates and serves as the Spiritual Successor to the Barabli.
Tropes in his body of work include:
- Author Tract: He openly defended the Alsatian dialect against the francisation that had been going on since the end of World War I and resumed after World War II, as well as the rewriting of local history for French nationalist purposes. Said francisation resulted in the dialect being less and less taught to the local children and thus less and less spoken. He most often expressed it through satire in the cabaret spectacles and songs he wrote, making fun of a form of French Cultural Posturing that considers Alsatian as a "language for the poor, backwards and peasants" and "too German" (since Germans were the bitter enemies of the French for three wars in 75 years, from 1870 to 1945 — Alsace had the misfortune of being disputed by both countries in that timespan).
- During the War: His best known play, Enfin...Redde m'r nimm devon (At last... let's not talk about it anymore), takes place during the de facto annexation of Alsace by Nazi Germany during World War II, which saw a brutal germanization and the conscription of many young men (including Germain himself) in the German armies. The play deals with the difficult war experience of the local people at the time (the bombings, the Eastern Front and life under Nazi rule) and the major misunderstandings that happened after the region became French again.
- Last of His Kind: His most famous song, "D'Letschte" ("The Last Ones" in Alsatian), is a kind of lament asking if he and other people of his generation will end up being the last speakers of the dialect, due to pervasive francisation.
- Satire: He introduced satire as a staple of Alsatian theatre, making fun of the French Cultural Posturing concerning the perception of the area and its dialect as "too German" (a perception that the two World Wars reinforced) and "backwards".