sharing a little girl talk with the lady next door
Greiz (Thüringen), Germany  (1959)
Left:  Irmhild Rosemarie (Scharna) Karpinski  (b. 1956)
Right:  Brunhilde Einenkel  (1893-1984)
As a young woman, Brunhilde Einenkel lost her fiancé on a World War I battlefield.
Due to her grief, and a shortage of men after the war, she never married, remaining
forever "Fräulein Einenkel."  Early in life, she trained as a photographer and quickly
established a good reputation in that line of work; however, during a visit to Sweden
in 1921, a doll exhibition so completely fascinated her that, upon returning home, she
began creating her own dolls as a hobby.  In less than a year, the new hobby evolved
into a full-time enterprise, as Brunhilde Einenkel's uniquely expressive dolls became
As a young woman, Brunhilde Einenkel lost her fiancé on a World War I battlefield.
sought-after items at the main market place in nearby Leipzig.  They remained in such
demand that Brunhilde continued producing them for the next sixty years (from 1922
through 1982).  Long after her death, her artistry is still highly regarded.  A museum
in the German state of Thüringen has one entire display devoted to Einenkel Dolls.

The flyer above, saved by Irmi's mother, Rosemarie, announced the 25-Year Jubilee
of Einenkel Dolls in March 1947.  It reads:  "Stylish and tasteful in dress, original in
facial expression, the Einenkel Dolls shown here number among the best of her type."

Above is the reverse side of the 25-Year Jubilee flyer, which reads: "Children and
adults are enthusiastic and captivated by the type of artisan dolls represented here."

In the late 1950's, Brunhilde Einenkel gave eight of her dolls to the Scharna family
who lived next door to her in the former east German city of Greiz.  The Scharna's
had four small daughters, and each girl received a matching set of dolls.  The pair
above, reverently preserved by my wife, Irmi, are proudly displayed in our home.

In 1959, little more than a year before the Scharna family fled to West Germany,
Brunhilde Einenkel presented this Christmas tree angel (above) to Irmi's mother, 
Rosemarie Scharna, in appreciation for the many times Rosemarie had watered the
plants in Brunhilde's apartment while she was away.  Later, during more than thirty
Christmas seasons in the west, this angel sat atop the annual Scharna family tree,
first and foremost as a symbol of their roots in the east, but also as a reminder of
an enduring friendship with a compassionate and talented lady.  Today, this angel,
in Irmi's care now, continues to play a prominent role in our holiday celebrations.


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