Old German Scripts

Gothic cursive script (Kurrentschrift)

Kurrent represents an old form of the German language handwriting based on late medieval cursive writing. It is also widely known as Kurrentschrift or Alte Deutsche Schrift (“Old German script”). One can easily find dedications written using various forms of Kurrent script on the reverses of portraits from the pre-war and WW1 era as well as whole letters executed in this elegant form of handwriting.

Kurrentschrift was later replaced by Sütterlinschrift that was developed in 1911 and taught in German schools as primary script until 1941.

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Sütterlin script (Sütterlinschrift)

Sütterlin script, undoubtedly well-known for every collector of the Third Reich-era photos is the last widely used modernized form of the old German blackletter handwriting – Kurrentschrift.

This script was created in 1911 by a graphic artist from Berlin Ludwig Sütterlin (23.07.1865-20.11.1917) while working for the Prussian ministry for culture.

The Sütterlin script was introduced in Prussian schools in 1915 and was instituted as an official script by educational bodies of other German states and later by the government of the Weimar Republic (1924).

Due to some objective reasons in mid-30s related to the rising popularity of typewriters the script’s popularity started to decline. An official end to Sütterlin usage followed in 1941 when NSDAP banned it together with other blackletter typefaces erroneously claiming them to be Jewish.

Nevertheless many Germans brought up with this writing system continued to use it well into the post-WW2 period. Sütterlin script was even taught in some Eastern German schools until the 1970s but no longer as the primary script.

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