Recovering the Utopian Spirit of Fairy Tales and Fables from the Weimar Republic
Why, all of a sudden, so it seems, did highly political men and women, completely committed to furthering class struggle in Germany during the Weimar period, begin in 1920 to write and illustrate fairy tales and fables for children? What was it that impelled gifted political writers to dedicate themselves to transforming traditional fairy tales and fables into remarkable utopian narratives and provocative social commentaries until the Weimar Republic’s collapse in 1933? There are no simple answers to these questions because many of the writers of the utopian tales disappeared, were killed by the Nazis, or were forced into exile, where they left few records about their work. Nevertheless, there are enough traces of their fairy-tale productivity during the Weimar period to enable us to regain an understanding of their efforts, which also means recovering their utopian spirit for the present. After all, we are living in a time of conflicts that bear a strong resemblance to the chaos of early twentieth-century Europe.