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A Christmas Market with a Long Tradition

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt in 1948 Stadtarchiv

The following inscription in black ink was found at the bottom of an oval, 19-centimeter-long spruce bentwood box decorated with flowers – now in the possession of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum: "Sent to Regina Susanna Harßdörfferin by Miss Susanna Eleonora Erbsin (or Elbsin) on the occasion of the Christmas Market of 1628".

140 Stall Holders in the 18th century

A list from 1737 demonstrates that almost all Nuremberg craftsmen were represented on the market. 140 persons were entitled to offer goods for sale.

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt in 1933 Stadtarchiv

The market in the 20th century

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Christmas Market became less important. It shifted to various venues within the city, and was only revived in the 1930s. The National Socialists made good use of the well-established traditional event which enhanced Nuremberg's image as the "Treasure Chest of the German Reich" and was a welcome supplement to their own calendar of festive events. In 1933, the Christmas Market moved back to the Main Market Square and was a much romanticised event. An actress dressed up as a christmas angel, accompanied by two golden christmas tree fairies, recited a prologue, a children's choir sang, and church bells rang. During World War II, no Christmas Market was held in Nuremberg.

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt in 1933 Stadtarchiv Nürnberg

After World War II

In 1948, the Christmas Market was re-established in the Old Town which had been completely destroyed. Friedrich Bröger, head dramaturg at the Nuremberg Theatre, wrote a new prologue which – with a few changes – has been recited by the Nuremberg Christkind ever since. From 1948 up until the early 1960s, Nuremberg actress Sofie Keeser played the Christkind. Her successor, Irene Brunner, was also an actress and played the part until 1968. Since 1969, the tradition has been different: every two years a young Nuremberg woman between 16 and 19 years of age was elected as Christkind for a two-year period. 

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