German Boys' Clothes: Personal Experiences--Stefan Andres (1910-17)

Figure 1.--


Stefan Andres described the clothes he wore as a boy in a book about his childhood . A German reader tells us, "Until the age of 4 years he wore dresses. Later he wore short trousers under his dresses, because he longed for them a lot. Later he wore so called "Klappenhosen" trousers that you could open separately at the back and naturally at the front, too. I'm not sure how these may have looked like, but I think they had a "Latz" English "bib" that you could open backwards. He had to wear a smock apron, too. He didn't like this, because other boys didn't wear them. Around 10 years he wore long trousers, as his elder brother had done before him.

First Communion

At first communion he wore a black hat, a bunch of white flowers, a candle with a white handkerchief with "Spitzen", black Knöpfschuhe (shoes with laces or buttons) and he had an hymnal (hymn book). He wore unlike other boys short trousers. Possibly all in black, as the suit was made from his fathers sundays best suit who had died shortly before." In general most boys did wear short trousers at that time, but not for first communion. They'd wear long ones instead. He was the only one who did wear short trousers, because his sister thought they'd made a boy look too old and important.


"Brunnen" is not a place name but belongs to the title of the book. You can translate it as "The boy in the well" (It derived from the image Stefan had when he looked in the well of his birthplace, a mill near Trittenheim, to which it belongs today. It is now a museum. It was called Breitwies or Dhrönchen because of the names brook Dhron. (This plays an important role in the book as they told him the boy had to look for geese and couldn't come up the well. It was of course himself) The novel is full of such stories. They had to leave his birthplace, because a dam was built for electricity purposes. They moved to Sweich, near their former place, but on the Mosel (French la Moselle) Today, they built a large fountain like well in memoriam of their famous "child" at Schweich, showing scenes of the novel. This was a short partial description of the novel.


Stefan Andres, Der Knabe im Brunnen.

Reinhard Mueller

Christopher Wagner

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Created: August 3, 2002
Last updated: August 3, 2002