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What is Sütterlin Script
By Jonathan Bocek


As Eric Tobey mentioned in his Solbuch article, there were two different styles of German handwriting used during the WWII era.  One is a slightly different style of our own "Latinized" longhand, but the other is a rather bizarre saw tooth script known as "Sütterlin" or "Deutsche Schrift." 

In 1911, a German graphical designer & teacher, Ludwig Sütterlin (1865-1917) was commissioned by the Prussian ministry for culture, to develop a basic script to set a basis for school children to develop their own handwriting.  The result was a creation of wide curves & very sharp angles known as Sütterlin scriptSütterlin is a form of the earlier & yet very different chancery writing which was mainly used by government officials.

By 1915, Sütterlin was the standard script in all Prussian schools & by 1934, it was being taught in every German school.  Times began to change however in Germany.  With the turn of the century,  society was becoming more modernistic.  The result, Sütterlin was viewed as being antiquated & ugly.  Thus, the script's popularity declined.

*** The "long s" is for the center of a word.
 *** The round "ending s" is used at the end of the word.

In September of 1941, Hitler ordered Sütterlin script to no longer be taught in Volksschulen (elementary schools)The reason for this was simple; communication problems.  German officials realized that most of the occupied European countries under their control could not read or understand Sütterlin.

Even though Sütterlin was no longer being taught in schools after 1941, it continued to be used during WWII.  Older Generations that had already been taught the Sütterlin style knew no other way of writing.  Hence, sütterlin script can be found in soldbuchs, letters, etc... all throughout the war.

To find original Sütterlin examples & reading exercises:  Click Here
To purchase Sütterlin fonts for your PC:  Click Here

As living historians, it would be an added detail to have examples of this handwriting in one's kit.  The above links are helpful for those interested in integrating Sütterlin into their impressions.  The first is a link to a great web site that is dedicated to the script.  It has various reading exercises (with script translations) & basic grammar rules. as well as various original examples of the script which make it highly recommended to those actually wishing to learn this difficult, but historical style of handwriting.  The second link is for a company that sells computer fonts of Sütterlin.  Purchasing a font can be useful for those looking for an easier way to make up some Feldpost items or documents.

 

  


 
Sources:
Dörling, Peter Read Suetterlin / Read Blackletters. 12 July 2006
http://www.suetterlinschrift.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm
"Sütterlin" wikipedia.org 12 July 2006
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%BCtterlin
"On the History of Old German Script" waldenfont.com 12 July 2006
http://www.waldenfont.com/content.asp?contentpageID=8


   
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