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Mara Heinze-Hoferichter (1887 - 1958

June 21, 2011

Tags: order, Auschwitz, children’s book, Deutsche Schiller Stiftung, family, Friedel Starmatz, Germany, Heinze-Hoferichter - Mara (1887 - 1958), Holocaust, Jew, “Nesthäckchen” series, Thirties, Twenties, violin, Ury - Else (1877-1943), war, World War I, writing

When I was a child, the most important book I ever read was “Friedel Starmatz”, by Mara Heinze-Hoferichter. Mine was a used book - because my mother didn't have the money to buy me a book a day. That was the rate at which I was reading.

The story was about a little boy who is separated from his family during World War I. In the woods, he finds anther family, with whom he grows up. He learns to play the violin, and at a concert, many years later – but I won’t give the end away.

This is not a modern book, and I doubt that children nowadays would want to read it. We still have wars, and horrible things still happen to children (and grown-ups). I tried translating the book, but its sensibilities seem outdated. Perhaps I will put it on the Internet one day, so that it will be available to English-speaking children.

I tried to find out about the author, Mara Heinze-Hoferichter. It seems she was born in Eastern Germany. She wrote books for children in the Twenties and Thirties. And then her tracks fizzle out. 1938 to 1941 she seemed to have gotten a stipend from the Deutsche Schiller Stiftung. But there is no notice about her death. How did she die?

Perhaps she was just old and passed away. Or she shared the same fate a Else Ury (1877-1943), the most successful German children’s books author in the Twenties. As a Jew, she perished in Auschwitz. She wrote the most German of German girls’ books – the “Nesthäckchen” series – but in the end, she was not "German" enough and was killed in the Holocaust.
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