Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg, Germany on February 10, 1898, and died in Berlin on August 14, 1956. He grew to maturity as a playwright in the frenetic years of the twenties and early thirties, with the plays MAN EQUALS MAN, THE THREEPENNY OPERA, MAHOGONNY, and THE MOTHER. He left Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933, eventually reaching the United States in 1941, where he remained until 1947. It was during this period of exile that the masterpieces LIFE OF GALILEO, MOTHER COURAGE, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE and PUNTILA were written. Shortly after his return to Europe in 1947 with his wife, Helene Weigel, he founded the Berliner Ensemble, becoming its executive director, and from then until his death Brecht was mainly occupied in producing and directing his own plays there.