Here you can learn Suetterlin / German hand

Here you can learn Suetterlin - the "German handwriting"


Professional help you will find at:
Ann C. Sherwin, German Translation Service, 1918 Medfield Road, Raleigh, NC 27607-4732
Tel (919) 851-9281, Fax (919) 233-4810, E-mail ,

Professional help you will find at : Offer: transcription of old german handwriting (Suetterlin) , scanning of photographs, drawings etc., computer printout, binding.

Suetterlin script: a script, created by the Berlin graphic artist L. Sütterlin (1865-1917), which was taught from 1915 to 1941 in German schools. It is also called the "the German handwriting". The writing is a standard form of the earlier and very different chancery writing which was mainly used by government officials.
See the page "Development of Latin Writing".

People of an older generation often cannot write any other way and yet both the postman and the grandchildren have trouble reading their envelopes and letters written in this script. When old family documents are taken out or church books are to be read, the knowledge of this writing is absolutely necessary.

During the reading lessons we begin with the last level of the "Suetterlin script", which is also known as "the German handwriting" - and then turn to the old chancery-writings, in older German called "Cantzeley Schrifft".

Sütterlin Alphabet
please click for full-size image

Suetterlin writing is rarely written precisely since it occurs almost only in handwriting. Even an experienced reader must first get used to the specific handwriting, until the text becomes understandable.

Today in Germany some remnants of this writing are still in use:
for example, "ß" which represents a combination of s and z, additionally often the "r" and the "z".

Special German characters: ä, ö, ü have two dots above. In the Middle Ages it was a tiny "e" above, this is similar to two tiny strokes (compare the Sütterlin "e") . Nowadays there are two dots.
You are writing correctly if you write ae, oe, ue instead of ä, ö, ü.   , e.g. Doerling is same as Dörling.
The "ß" that looks like "B" means "sz" and can understandably be written as "sz".

You can get this character set from the URL:

Here are the lowercase letters of a-z first, then in the last series are special forms.
a b c d e  f  g h  i  j k l m n
o p q r s t u v w x y z  
ae oe ue ending s ch ck sz tz   mm  nn

These characters are written very clearly, normally they are written narrower.
Designation: the normal "s" is called long s, the ending s is called round s.

Please differentiate:
1) with the "e" the second hook is connected at the top , with the "n" the second hook is connected at the bottom:
2) the "u" gets a curving line over it , "nn" has an straight line;
3) the normal "long s" is for the center of a word, the round "ending s" is used at the end of the word.
With compound nouns the two different "s" can follow one after another,
Example: Hausschlüssel (house key), combined of Haus + Schlüssel Hausschlüssel

Here the uppercase letters follow, at the end the special form "St"
A B C D E F G H  I  J K L M N
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z St

First reading exercises:

compare "A" and "O"         /       "e", "n" and "m"     /     "G" and "Q" :
Anna (a name)  Oma (granny)  Annemie (a name)  Gras (grass)  Quatsch (nonsense)

compare "L" and "B"         /        "o" and "a"       /      "V" and "W" :
Lage (situation)   Bogen (bow)  Dose (box)  Vase (vase)  Ware (ware)  Werner (a name)

pay attention to: narrow "ch"     /    "u" has a little curving line over it       /      narrow "St":
Hinrich               Friedrich               Robert               Rudolph                 Stefan     (old fashion names)

compare "C" and "E" and "L" :
Catharina                 Elizabeth                 Louise                 Lotte                Eckert     (old fashion names)

Reading exercise 1: a letter from a lady teacher to the school authority, 1928
Lehrpersonen verhindert. Ich

kann den Eltern die Kinder,

für deren Vorbildung bis

zu einer gewissen Klasse

am Gymnasium, an Ober-

to compare: Suetterlin alphabet in original handwritten texts

script analysis: A recipe for homemade rose-hip fruit wine (German)
test your knowledge: A recipe for homemade rose-hip fruit wine (German)

script analysis: Letter of a soldier, 1915 (German)
test your knowledge: Letter of a soldier, 1915 (German)

more exercises:
A petition from 1942 (German)
A baptism certificate of 1874 (German)
Official document, signed by farmers, 1750 (German)
we see, how good they could write: signatures of the farmers, 1750 (German)
A death certificate of 1889 (German)
A church book of 1805 (German)
A church book of 1784 (German)
An official invoice of 1652 (German)

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Translation with kind help of Dave Nutting, Languages Other Than English coordinator,
McKinnon Secondary College, Victoria, Australia, Homepage:
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