Else Ury

Else Ury ( 1 of November of 1877 , Berlin (Germany) , 13 of January of 1943 , extermination camp of Auschwitz (Poland) ). She was a German writer of children’s literature, especially popular in her native country for the series of stories titled Nesthäkchen , starring her main character, the girl Annemarie Braun .


Else Ury was born into a wealthy family, daughter of the Berlin tobacco manufacturer Emil Ury and his wife Franziskar. He had two older brothers and one younger sister. She was educated in the cultured and liberal environment of the Guillermo period (reign of Guillermo II) . 1 In spite of the Jewish roots of his family, most of the Christian traditions (such as the Christmas holidays) were also accommodated in their customs, which they naturally assumed. They could be defined as German patriots of Jewish origin perfectly assimilated and bourgeois extraction. 2 3

Country house of Else Ury in Karpacz (Poland)

His higher education was very limited by the customs of the time, 4 centered on subjects such as housework, languages ​​(English and French), music, drawing, and etiquette.

From 1905 onwards she published the fairy tale, which was her first successful work, her writing career became an extraordinary one until 1925, when she completed the ten stories of the Nesthäkchen series, which made her a rich author ( Acquired a holiday home in Karpacz -Krummhübel in German-) and famous. At that time, millions of their admirers bought their books and followed their newspaper articles in the press and on the radio. With more than thirty-nine books published, Else Ury was one of the most productive and successful writers of her time. The combination of an educated mind, humor and compassionate femininity, made her books big hits. Neither the First World War nor the Great Depression of 1929 affected the great diffusion of his works in Germany. During the Weimar Republic Else Ury had attained celebrity status. 5

However, shortly thereafter, access to power by the Nazi party truncated Ury’s career and life. Due to her Jewish origin, she was banned from publishing during the Holocaust , stripped of her possessions, deported to Auschwitz and gassed the day she arrived there. 6 Almost no one knew at the time that the Germans had murdered one of their most popular writers.

Outstanding literary work

Illustration of Richard Gutschmidt from “Lilli Liliput” (1930)
  • In 1905 her first story was published , a fairy tale entitled Was das Sonntagskind erlauscht , which sold 55,000 copies until 1927. 7 This collection of thirty-eight moral tales promotes pedagogical ideals such as loyalty, honesty and fidelity.
  • In 1908 appeared its following book, titled Goldblondchen , that was worth an honoris causa mention to him by the influential Jugendschriftenwarte. It was continued with five other stories based on this account.
  • Between 1918 and 1925 the series Nesthäkchen was finally published .The series includes the following stories:
    • 1913/18 Nesthäkchen und ihre Puppen (Nesthäkchen and his wrists)
    • 1915-1918 Nesthäkchens erstes Schuljahr (First School Year of Nesthäkchen)
    • 1915-1921 Nesthäkchen im Kinderheim (Nesthäkchen in the sanatorium of the Children)
    • 1917-1921 Nesthäkchen und der Weltkrieg (Nesthäkchen and World War) 8
    • 1919 Nesthäkchens Backfischzeit
    • 1921 Nesthäkchen fliegt Nido aus dem
    • 1923 Nesthäkchen und ihre Küken
    • 1924 Nesthäkchens Jüngste
    • 1924 Nesthäkchen und ihre Enkel
    • 1925 Nesthäkchen Im Weissen Haar
Nesthäkchen and the World War
Else Ury describes in Nesthäkchen and the World War the experiences of Annemarie Braun, who is eleven years old when the story begins and thirteen years later. His father serves as doctor of the German army in France. His mother is in England with his relatives, from where he can not return to Germany due to the outbreak of war. Annemarie and her two older brothers, Hans and Klaus, are taken care of by a grandmother. Much of Ury’s narratives are Annemarie’s experiences with a new classmate, Vera, who does not speak German at the beginning of the story, and is excluded from Annemarie’s circle of friends as a foreigner and presumed spy. The resolution of this painful aggression leads to a climax that has captivated readers since the publication of the book. On the other hand, the ominous war that develops as the backdrop of the story provides “Nesthäkchen and the World War” intensity and depth. The book is a timeless commentary on the brutal nature of war. However, after 1945, the story “Nesthäkchen and the World War” was removed from the Nesthäkachen series, because it was on the Allies’ censorship list (Ury, like most German Jews, was fiercely patriotic, and his Descriptions of events around World War I were classified as glorification of war). From 1945 the series Nesthäkchen happened to have only 9 volumes (the fourth volume was included at the end of the third in summary form). Steven Lehrer translated “Nesthäkchen and the World War” into English in 2006 9 and “Nesthäkchen in the Children’s Sanatorium” in 2014. 10
  • Ury also wrote other books and stories, especially for girls and adolescent girls. In Germany Ury’s books are still being edited today.


After World War II , Ury’s books re-issued as if nothing had happened. The Nesthäkchen series, published by Hoch Verlag, reappeared in 1952. The first volume is titled “Nesthäkchen and his Dolls”.

The collection was reissued with a single significant alteration: the fourth volume, “Nesthäkchen and World War” (referring to World War I), was not reprinted. A short final chapter in the third volume summarizes the events of the fourth volume to provide continuity to the series. The remaining nine volumes have been reprinted several times, with a total circulation of more than seven million copies.

When the ZDF , the German public service broadcasting, filmed the start of the series as a Christmas show in 1983, “Nesthäkchen” had become an immortal figure in German children’s literature. In 2005, ZDF programs were released on DVD. 5 Curiously, the German public did not know the fate of the famous author. This changed in 1993, when Marianne Brentzel (there is an article in German by Marianne Brentzel ) published the biography of Ury with the shocking title of “Nesthäkchen arrives at the concentration camp”.


Monuments in Berlin and Karpacz (the location of your holiday home, currently belongs to Poland) show reminders of Else Ury. Your holiday home is adorned with the label “Dom Nesthäkchen” (the House of Nesthäkchen). After the war her last residence in Berlin before she was deported to Auschwitz was demolished. A monument has been erected in front of this place (Berlin-Moabit, Solingerstraße 10), which reminds passers-by to Else Ury and his fellow victims of the Holocaust.

In Charlottenburg, where he lived most of his life, there is an arch with his name. A cenotaph in Weissensee, the Jewish Cemetery of Berlin (Jüdischer Friedhof Weißensee), also commemorates it. eleven


  1. Back to top↑ Zur bildungsbürgerlichen Biographie und jüdischen Identität siehe Martina Lüke “Else Ury – A Representative of the German-Jewish Bürgertum”
  2. Back to top↑ Marianne Brentzel: Mir kann doch nichts geschehen .
  3. Back to top↑ Marianne Brentzel: Nesthäkchen kommt ins KZ .
  4. Back to top↑ Volker Ulrich: Die nervöse Großmacht 1871-1918 .
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b Sarah Maria Brech. Als Deutsche “Nesthäkchens” Mutter ermordeten. Die Zeit 13Jan 2013
  6. Back to top^ Lehrer, Steven (2000). Wannsee house and the Holocaust . McFarland & Company . P. 104. ISBN  978-0-7864-0792-7 .
  7. Back to top↑ Marianne Brentzel: Nesthäkchen kommt ins KZ .
  8. Back to top↑ «Nesthäkchen and the World War» . Stevenlehrer.com . Retrieved on February 10, 2012 .
  9. Back to top↑ Nesthäkchen and the World War on Google Books . Books.google.com . Retrieved on February 10, 2012 .
  10. Back to top↑ Nesthäkchen in the Children’s Sanitorium on Google Books
  11. Back to top↑ «Else Ury exhibit, Wannsee House (in German)» . Ghwk.de . Retrieved on February 10, 2012 .