I believe the first two words are "Erinnerung an", but can't decipher the name.

Please help.enter image description here

  • 1
    Welcome to German.SE. So this picture is all you have, nothing in possible context like "due to relationship it can be name x or y or even z"? Aug 17, 2020 at 18:45
  • 2
    @ShegitBrahm, this additional information is not necessary, because there are several people at German StackExchange who can read Sütterlin. Aug 17, 2020 at 19:01
  • I'm sorry, my great-grandma's name was Hilde, which is no help here. Otherwise, I have no clue.
    – Joachim
    Aug 17, 2020 at 19:50
  • @Joachim Are you sure, that it's a name?
    – some_user
    Aug 17, 2020 at 20:22
  • 2
    @BjörnFriedrich You are right, there are people who can decipher Sütterlin without additional context. But I support Shegit Brahm - it is always useful to give a maximum of information to the readers. In the present case it seems to me that we see the backside of canvas. If I am right, it is an oil painting and it would be interesting to know what it shows.
    – Paul Frost
    Aug 17, 2020 at 23:24

4 Answers 4


This is Sütterlin script (i.e., a later version of the Kurrent). Apart from that, I agree with @HalvarF that the text reads:

Erinnerung an Neapel

which translates to:

Memory of Naples.


It can't be Neagel (as @RookJameson suggested) because the rear stroke of the a would need to be the first stroke of the g at the same time, and even then the connection would be in the wrong place.

Here a picture of Sütterlin ap (from here):

Sütterlin "ap"

And this is what the combination ag would look like:

Sütterlin "ag"

The capital N, however, is indeed just a curiosity. The standard capital N in Sütterlin would be curved.

  • Thanks for posting the pictures! Süttelin is just a special form of Kurrent developed for primary schools. The "p" letter (as well as most other letters) is the same.
    – HalvarF
    Aug 17, 2020 at 22:53
  • @HalvarF I rendered that point more precisely. Aug 17, 2020 at 23:18
  • THanks so much, my assumption about it being a person's name was obviously wrong.
    – Joachim
    Aug 18, 2020 at 9:09
  • According to your link, the Sütterlin script in the strict sense was introduced in 1915, whereas the picture seems to be dated 1897. Would this be some older form of Kurrent?
    – abl
    Aug 18, 2020 at 23:17
  • 1
    @abl The picture is not necessarily dated 1897. Keeping in mind the meaning (Memory of Naples), the implication is that the date relates to a year in the past (i.e. memory of my trip to Naples in 1897), in this case more than a decade ago. Aug 19, 2020 at 6:19

I'd say it's "Erinnerung an Neapel" (Memory of Naples), The capital N is kind of distorted, but I don't think any other capital letter comes nearer to it.

For a reference for the strange p, check the Wikipedia page on Kurrentschrift: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Kurrentschrift.

  • Thank you for the extra info about Kurrentschrift.
    – Joachim
    Aug 18, 2020 at 9:10

If the other two words are indeed "Erinnerung" and "an" (which to me it also looks like that), I would read the Name/third word as "Neagel".

The first letter I'm the least sure about, but it looks like an capital version of the "n"s in Erinnerung. Next is the very tight zig-zag that was used as "e" in Erinnerung. The "a" and "g" are easier to make out and also look exactly like in the previous two words. After that is again the tight zig-zag "e", followed what appears to be an "l".

That being said, I have never heard that name, so I don't know if it makes sense. At least according to google, it seems to be an old last name.

  • Welcome to German.SE. I'm quite bad in either Sütterlin or Kurrent. Do you have some picture reference like the other answers that "proves" your assumption about the letters? Aug 18, 2020 at 6:33

Sorry for repeating what other people already wrote in their answer, but it's impossible to post pictures in comments.

I think either RookJameson is correct in the assumption that it reads "Neagel" or the person writing this did a mistake.

Let's see the original in detail:

enter image description here

Now I follow the lines as the writer would have done:

enter image description here

I think everyone agrees that the red letter is an 'a'. The squiggle next to it is the problem. To emphasize the similarity I marked the 'g' at the end of "Erinnerung" and the squiggle in question with the same color.

Comparing the Sütterlin letters 'g' and 'p' we see:

enter image description here

  • the 'g' has a round body that is written counter-clockwise and leads to a downward bow
  • the 'p' has a much smaller round body that is written clockwise and leads to a downward bow

There is no way the squiggle in question is written clockwise. Admittedly, it's not a perfect 'g', put it is still a 'g'. Which makes it

Erinnerung an Neagel

  • We already saw by the N that the person's handwriting is not entirely textbook Sütterlin, but features some peculiarities. Furthermore, you left out the stroke that is connecting the p and the e in your retracing. This one is touching the circle element, just like in the p, but unlike the g. In contrast to your conclusion, your highlighting shows a clear discrepancy between the first and the latter letter in question. That is not incidental, but the writer's distinction between g and p -- to say nothing of the fact that Erinnerung an Neagel wouldn't make any sense... Aug 18, 2020 at 18:07
  • ...even if Neagel was a last name (which I'd never have heard of). Or would you choose Memory of Smith, e.g., as caption in your photo album or on the back of a canvas? This would imply a somewhat special relation that it so formal that you refer to that person by his/her last name, so casual that you leave out the address (Herr/Frau/Graf ... in a time where it was even more important than today), yet still so cordial that you want to keep a memory of him/her. Aug 18, 2020 at 18:12
  • 2
    The simpelst and most compelling argument, however, is still that in Sütterlin the lower stroke of the g would never cross its curve in such a diligent writing since the g would need to look just like the a, only 'longer'. Hence your argument that the writer would have made a mistake if the word was Neapel is wrong. It's the other way round: if the letter was a g, the writer would have made an even bigger mistake than you see in the p. Aug 18, 2020 at 18:21

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