Monday, 29 November 2010

Hansel and Gretel from Berlin around 1939

I warn readers in advance, this post does not have a 100% nice happy ending.  I found these two dolls in a charity shop.  When I first saw them I thought - goodness these are strange old dolls (look like pre WW2).  Their hair is painted, Gretel has yellow hair and Hansel has a red/brown colour and their faces are actually very pretty.  They wind up, but when you do that they don't walk, they shake as though they are having a seizure - yep very strange.  I know they are old and in their day would have been regarded as really pretty, but me finding them in this charity shop they made me think about their past and then to thinking about my own Mother who was a WW2 war orphan and this led to this post which is a made up story using the Hansel and Gretel fairytale as a faint base line......   

Hansel and Gretel hope to get on a boat to America where fairytales had happy endings

This is their story....

Hansel and Gretel lived in a wood which they often played in

They had lived in the city in a beautiful apartment, but had moved to this small house with their Stepmother and Father who used to be a Doctor but now was told by the authorities that he could no longer practice his profession.  Their father knew that the Germany they had loved was changing and he wanted to make a good life for his family.

Their Stepmother was not a nice person, she had liked living in the nice apartment and didn't like living a simple quiet existence.  She didn't want to move either and she was not the person their Father thought he had met when their real mother had died.

Hansel and Gretel had big and innocent hearts, and often wondered why their Father worried so much.  They were happy just being with him, he was lovely - why would want to hurt him, them, or anyone else?

Having moved to their new house, they often played in the forest, but Hansel was always more sturdy than Gretel, who used to complain about being tired

One day whilst in the back yard with their father, they heard some men approaching wearing uniforms.  Their father looked worried and told Hansel and Gretel to go and play in the woods and not to return until much later as he didn't want them to see these men who he said were bad.  Hansel and Gretel listened to their father and played hide and seek in the forest.

When they returned, their house was empty, nobody was home.  Both their beloved Father and their step-mother were gone.

They were now on their own

So they chopped some wood and made a roaring fire

ate the fruit and berries they found in woods and hid from everyone

and waited for their father and step mother to return

but they never did.

Hansel died whilst cutting wood in the forest and Gretel was then forced to seek help from others.  Luckily she was taken in by some people who were organising safe passage for themselves and other orphans to places they would be able to live their lives normally and without harm.  Gretel was very lucky indeed and grew up to have a family of her own who loved her very much and are so thankful she survived.



  1. I think you should start a new career - children's author! How creative!

  2. Jamie, you always bring a smile to my face.

  3. I love everything about this post. Some of these photos are my new favorites of yours. You should put it into book form!

    I love this!!

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    Anika, you do give me such a feel good factor - thank you.