Old German Handwriting – Transcription and Translation

 We now offer more information on our service for English speaking customers on our German Handwriting information page.

In 1941 the German government dictated a change in the handwriting taught to schoolchildren. This led to the situation, that many younger Germans cannot read  old handwritten materials. The old German handwriting, also known as old German script, is not legible to people outside Germany or to young people.

Yet people in and outside of Germany do find they need to be able to understand old letters and other documents written in old German script. Indeed, even today, many old people in Germany today rarely know how to write using Sütterlin.

We provide a reliable service for people seeking to understand anything written in old German script. We can transcribe any document written in old German handwriting into the contemporary letter system. Contact us with a sample of the document and we will promptly provide an estimate for transcribing your documents.

The official name for the old German handwriting is Sütterlin script but it is also known as The German Handwriting. The handwriting that had been used by government officials prior to Sütterlin script was in a style called Fraktur. Fraktur used letters that contain many angles, rather than smooth curves. It was this style that was adapted to become Sütterlin script. Sütterlin was then taught in German schools from 1915 to 1941. Sütterlin was adapted according to designs made by the Berlin graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin (born 1865 – died 1917).

The Nazi regime forbade the teaching of the Sütterlin script in schools in 1941, proclaiming that the style was Judenlettern, or Jewish. Some historians speculate that the regime may have been concerned that the script would not be legible to everyone within the territories that the Nazis hoped to conquer and that they sought to find a more uniform script that would be easily understood by more people.

Whatever the motivation for the change in handwriting that was imposed, it was not universally accepted. Many people continued to use the old German script for personal papers.  You may wish to be able to read for yourself what an older German relative writes by hand today. Or, you may have a treasure trove of history waiting among the old letters and personal papers left by German grandparents. Especially for doing ancestry research the transcription of these documents can become very helpful. Why not have these documents transcribed? Unlock the mystery by using our transcription service.

Old documents should be either scanned and emailed or alternatively sent photocopied via traditional mail. We will contact you soon after with an estimate of the cost and time required to transcribe the documents into contemporary German or the translation into English.

Please send your requests (ideally including a sample page of the document) to anfrage@metascriptum.de