Nesthaekchen – Once Popular Children’s Books


Nesthaekchen is a German term for the baby of the family. Else Ury (1877 – 1943) wrote close to forty books for children of all ages, including her immensely popular 10-volume Nesthaekchen series. The series was published between 1918 and 1925 during the days of the Weimar Republic (between the end of the German Empire in 1918 and the beginning of Nazi Germany in 1933.

In her Nesthaekchen series, Else Ury describes the adventures of Annemarie Braun – the baby of the Braun family – from childhood to old age. Ms. Ury was not only one of the most productive female German writers of her time, she was also one of the most successful. Millions bought her books, heard them read on the radio, attended her receptions and read her newspaper columns. As a child, I received one Nesthaekchen volume for Christmas and another for my birthday until I owned them all. In other words, it took me years before I had read the entire series. Still, I have the fondest memories of reading those books, curled up on the couch and deeply engrossed in Annemarie Braun’s life.

Volume 5 of the Nesthaekchen series by Else Ury - Nesthaekchen's Backfischzeit (Nesthaekchen's Teen Years) - Photo J. Elke Ertle, 2017,

Volume 5 of the Nesthaekchen series by Else Ury – Nesthaekchen’s Backfischzeit (Nesthaekchen’s Teen Years) – Photo J. Elke Ertle, 2017,

The Nesthaekchen series continues to be re-published. Since 1945, with every new release, the stories were modernized so that today’s editions contain only 70 to 80% of Else Ury’s original text. During her lifetime, more than one million Nesthaekchen books were printed, and over seven million have been printed to date.

Synopsis of the Nesthaekchen Series

The Nesthaekchen series follows Annemarie Braun, the youngest of three children in the family, from age of 6 to grandmotherhood. Her father is a physician. Her mother is a homemaker. The family, which includes Annemarie’s parents, her two older brothers, a cook, a maid, a nanny, the family dog and a canary, lives in an upper-class neighborhood of Berlin. During WWI, Dr. Braun is dispatched to France as a medical officer while her mother is trapped in England, having missed the last departure for Germany. In 1923, Annemarie marries a young doctor, Rudolf Hartenstein, and raises a family of her own. Her youngest daughter, Ursel, marries the son of a coffee plantation owner, moves to Brazil and makes Nesthaekchen a grandmother with all its joys and hardships.


To read about Else Ury’s life and untimely death, click a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of Walled-In is my story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply