Since 1951 the Eastern German state decorated outstanding film people with the Heinrich-Greif-Preis medal, like e.g. Ulrich Plenzdorf.
1935-37 announcer of the German-language programmes of Radio Moscow.
Greif carried on with actress Lotte Loebinger while she was still married to German politician Herbert Wehner (then Communist, famous post-war Social Democrat). When she confused the envelopes for two letters to her husband and her lover, Wehner found out about their relationship and immediately fainted.
In 1934-1935 he played theater in Zurich, and went then to Moscow, where he worked until 1945 as chief editor of the German edition of Radio Moscow and acted in films.
Since 1926, he studied in the studio at the theater Volksbühne under the direction of Erwin Piscator.
In 1933 he joined the Communist Party of Germany. After the Nazis rise to power led to party and trade union work being made illegal he published a theater magazine Rampa. Soon, he emigrated to Switzerland.
He died 16 July 1946 in Berlin during an inguinal hernia operation at the clinic Charité. The operation was carried out personally by the head of surgical department of 71-year-old Ferdinand Sauerbruch. By this time Sauerbruch already showed symptoms of cerebral sclerosis, mistakes were made during the routine operation that caused the death of the actor.
In 1945 he returned to Germany. Played in Deutsches Theater, and also worked in the administration of culture in Dresden.