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Busch was born as a son of Mason Friedrich Busch and his wife Emma. He followed from 1915 to 1920 an apprenticeship as a mechanic and then worked at a shipyard. In 1917 he became a member of the Sozialistische Arbeiterjugend and in november 1918 he participated in the sailor rebellion in Kiel. In 1919 he became a member of the KPD.
In 1920 took Busch stage and singing lessons and he worked at various companies. In 1927 he established himself in the Berlin art colony and from 1928 he played in Berlinat the Volksbühne, the Theater der Arbeiter and the Piscator-Bühne in pieces of Friedrich Wolf, Ernst Tollerand Bertolt Brecht . In the first production of the Threepenny opera, he had a role as a police officer and in the film adaptation of 1931 he sang the famous Moritat von Mackie Messersoon. In Slátan Dudows film Kuhle Wampe , he plays a leading role and he sings the "solidarity song" from Brecht and Eisler. 
After the seizure of power by the Nazis tried to arrest the SA Busch. However, his assailants found him not at home and to leave a hurried to Germany warned Busch. He fled with his wife, the singer Eva Busch, to Netherlands, where he performed for the VARA. He then stayed in Belgium, Zurich, Paris, Vienna and finally the Soviet Union, where also other residents of the Art Colony had sought refuge.
In 1937, Busch, as thousands of kindred spirits, to Spain, where he joined the International Brigades. He performed in Spain for the volunteers of the International Brigades and worked for Radio Madrid. With songs like the Thälmann-Kolonne, No pasaran Bandiera rossa and he turned against fascism. After Franco 's victory, Busch back to Belgium, where he made recordings for Radio in 1938 gave concerts and took up Brussels, gramophone records.
In 1940 he was arrested and deported to France in Antwerp , where he was interned until 1943 before it managed to get to him to flee Switzerland. However, he was again arrested and handed over to the Gestapo. The indictment was preparation of high treason. Intercession of the well-known actor Gustaf – he ontliep the death penalty and was sentenced to four years prison. In an allied air raid in 1943, he was seriously injured in Berlin's Moabit prison.Commemorative plaque for Ernst Busch to the House the Bonner Straße 11 in the Art Colony Berlin
At the end of the Second World War by the Red Army , he was freed from the prison of Brandenburg. In May 1945 he moved into renewed its dwelling in the Art Colony, where he remained until 1946. When he moved to Pankow (in the Soviet sector). He was again included in the KPD and was following the merger of SPD and KPD member of theSocialist Unity Party.
As an actor, he performed at the Berliner Ensemble, the Deutsches Theater and the Volksbühne. He played a lot in pieces of Brecht, but also in other roles he contributed to the development of the scene.
- 1946 as Satin in Maxim Gorky's Night asylum
- 1947 as Galileo Galilei in Leben des Galilei Brechts
- 1949 as a cook in Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder
- 1953 as Iago in William Shakespeare's Othello
Busch was also known for his performance of songs of Hanns Eisler and of international workers songs. In 1956, 1966 and 1979, he was awarded the national prize of the GDR. Between 1963 and 1975 he took at the Aurora record label of the Deutsche Akademie der Künste about 200 of his songs on. He was a member of the Academy.
In 1961 he withdrew, officially out of health considerations, back from the scene. The real reason was supposedly his repeated criticism of the SED.
Ernst Busch died on June 8, 1980 in Bernburg, 80 years old.
- Chronik in Liedern, Kantaten und Balladen
- Streit und Kampf
- Roter October
- That goldenen Zwanziger
- Echo von links
- Hoppla, wir leben
- Es brennt
- Spanien 1936-1939
- An die Nachgeborenen
- Ist das von gestern
- Zu guter Letzt
- Lied der Zeit-Originalaufnahmen 1946-1953
- Könnten wir vergessen who you
- Fort mit den Trümmern
- Fragen eines Arbeiters lesenden
- Du mußt that Führung übernehmen
- Eure Träume gehen durch mein Song
- Originalaufnahmen aus den Jahren dreißiger
- Der rote Orpheus
- Der Barrikaden-Tauber
- Ernst Busch singt und spricht
- Brecht: Songs, Lieder, Gedichte
- Tucholsky/Eisler: Notes ihr nischt!
- Eines alten Seebären Schwanensang Seemannslieder:
- Texts of Villon, Lenz and Goethe verehrt und angespien Ernst Busch- :-Busch
- Lieder des spanischen Bürgerkriegs Lieder der Arbeiterklasse &
- Tucholsky, Eisler, Wedekind
- Ernst Busch singt und spricht Erich Kästner
- Ernst Busch: 's Solidaritat . Das Solidaritätslied (Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler) von gesungenen und in den gedruckten FassungenErnst Busch. Albis International Bibliophilenverlag, Dresden 2000, ISBN 80-86067-37-8.
- Ben Lai, Bernd Meyer-Rähnitz (Hrsg.): Der Phonographische Ernst Busch. Eine Sprach-und seiner GesangsaufnahmenDiscographie. Albis International Bibliophilenverlag, Dresden 2005, ISBN 80-86067-39-4.
- Carola Schramm, Jürgen Elsner (Hrsg.): Dichtung und Wahrheit . That Legendenbildung um Ernst Busch. Trafo Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89626-640-3.