This Monday, Otfried Preußler, the famous author of children stories, passed away at the age of 89. Preußler is known for stories such as Krabat, The Robber Hotzenplotz and The Little Witch. He was born in the city of Reichenberg (Liberec) in former Czechoslovakia. Preußler wrote his first story in the age of 12 and was planning to pursue writing as a career in Prague. However, Preußler’s youth, like millions of others, was to be marked by the last great war of the twentieth century. After finishing high school in Reichenberg he was conscripted into the army at 19. Fortunately, Preußler survived the war but he spent the next five years as a war prisoner in Soviet Russia. In 1949, he was released from confinement and moved to Rosenheim in Bavarian province of Germany where his relatives had settled after expulsion from Czechoslovakia. There he reunited with his fiancée and life companion Annelies Kind, the couple have three daughters from their marriage.
The traumatic experiences of fighting and battles, captivity in prison camps and expulsion from the town of his ancestors could not kill the creative spirit of Otfried’s inner child. His first important book, The Little Water-Sprite, published in 1956, won the Deutscher Kinderpreis for Preußler and brought him recognition in literary circles. In the following years, he authored The Little Witch (1957), The Robber Hotzenplotz (1962) and Krabat (1971) which are considered among the most important works he has left behind. Preußler’s works had a great influence on the children literature and have often inspired theatrical productions. Moreover, some of Preußler’s works including The Robber Hotzenplotz and Krabat were turned into movies in 2006 and 2008 bringing his legacy to silver screen. Overall, Preußler authored more than 30 books that were translated into 50 languages in various countries around the world. In addition, Preußler has also authored an account of his experience in Soviet prisoner camps between 1944 and 1949 that was promised to be published after his death. Otfried Preußler is undoubtedly one of the most important authors of children’s literature and his tales will continue to enchant the imagination of kids for many years to come.