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Else Ury

Else Ury, 1938
© Ernest Klaus Heymann

As the author of the well-known "Nesthäkchen" series (1913-1925), Else Ury (1877-1943), the Berlin-born author of books for youths, still enjoys great popularity. Ury identified with the German middleclass and was at home in the Jewish tradition. Her recognition was systematically surpressed after the Nazi rise to power. Else Ury died in Auschwitz.

The multimedia "Nesthäkchen" story allows insight into the checkered biography of the author and her popular works. An unreserved connection to Germany was inherent in Ury's life. Her literary success began in 1905/06. The first volume of her "Nesthäkchen" series was published shortly before the outbreak of World War I, making her one of the best-known authors of children's and young people's books in the Weimar Republic.

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Epilogue from: "Nesthäkchen und ihre Küken," 1922 (Speaker: Megan Gay)


"Nesthäkchen and the World War" was published in 1916. This volume was discarded from the series when it was republished in 1950.
© Jewish Museum Berlin

Exclusion and deprivation of rights through the Nazis brought tragedy to her life story. In 1933, she published the book "Jugend voraus!" in which she welcomed the new government. Not long after that, she had first-hand experience with anti-Semitic politics: Else Ury was expelled from the Reich Literature Chamber on 6 March 1935. Following the Decree on the Use of Jewish Assets, issued on 3 December 1938, she lost access to the assets she had acquired. She was deported at the age of 65 to the Auschwitz extermination camp in 1943.

The "Nesthäkchen" story does not end with Ury's death, but with the continued popularity of her works in the present. Family photos, excerpts from Ury's letters and works, documents, and clips of the ZDF filming of "Nesthäkchen" and original recordings from the beginning of the war in 1914 paint a detailed portrait of the author.


Cover of "Nesthäkchen and Her Dolls" from the 1960s

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