The Island People/ Das Insel-Volk

Family, Friends and Visitors

During the years 1935 to 1945 the island was being visited regularly at weekends by many who either belonged to the family or became family or felt part of the larger community that Liesel Elsaesser created. Not every visitor was captured on camera or played a major part in the home movies, and in some cases their visits are only documented in letters. But so many lives were touched by the  island experiment, and in turn contributed to its sedimented history that it seemed worth giving some of them their identities and histories. If one or two are well-known personalities thanks to their contributions to the cultural life of Germany and the Weimar Republic, others might well be remembered now mainly through the traces and imprints they have left on my father's films and photographs.  


The Elsaesser Family

From Left to Right: Trudel, Ursel, Liesel, Hans Peter (Hanner), Martin, Brigitte

The Island People/ Das Insel Volk

Elisabeth (Liesel) Elsaesser


Elisabeth (Liesel) Elsaesser, neé Wilhelm 


A fiercely independent spirit from an early age, she defied conventions all her life.

Much of what we known about the Island experimental settlement: how it came about, what its purpose was, the initial difficulties encountered, etc., we know thanks to the correspondence Liesel kept: first with Migge, then with her two daughters, daughter-in-law and other friends. The letters  provide a richly detailed documentation of a unique episode.

Martin (Märte) Elsaesser


Martin (Märte) Elsaesser (1884-1957)

Leberecht Migge


Leberecht (Migge) Migge (1881-1935)

It was for this man that Liesel left her grand-bourgeois household in Frankfurt and moved to an island - with no running water, electricity or any of the other amenities of civilized life.

Hans Peter (Hanner) Elsaesser


Hans Peter (Hanner) Elsaesser


Brigitte Elsaesser


Brigitte Ruf, née Elsaesser


Ursula (Ursel) Elsaesser


Ursula (Ursel) Elsaesser


Sebastian (Bastel) Elsaesser


Sebastian (Bastel) Elsaesser


Gertrud (Trudel) Sommer


Gertrud (Trudel) Elsaesser, née Sommer


Gert Sommer


Gerhard (Gerd) Sommer


Karl and Else Sommer


Karl Sommer (1875-1955) Else Sommer(1879-1966)

Lore and Hans Wilhelm


Hans Wilhelm (1907-1995) 

Lore Wilhelm, née Müller

Irmgard Kern and H. G. Rexroth


Hermann Georg (Rex) Rexroth


Irmgard Kern (1907-1983)

Bobi Proelss and Hanni Rocco


Hanni Rocco (1896-1991)

Maria (Bobi) Proelss (1890-1962)

Yvonne and Armin Knab


Armin Knab (1881-1951)

Yvonne Knab, née Hermann (1892-1980)

Yvonne Bouberg-Wilson


Yvonne Bouberg-Wilson


Eva Walter


Eva Walter, née Stockhausen


Sofie Mörike


Sofie Mörike, née Reihlen

Christel Planck


Christel Planck

Kaja Taube


Kaja Sommer, née Taube


Walter Ruf


Walter Ruf


Ludowika (Wika) Zistl


Ludowika (Wika) Zistl


Josephine (Jo) Dellisch


Josephine Dellisch


Gisela Schneider


Gisela Ehren, née Schneider


Irmgard (Irmi) von Beersworth


Irmgard von Beersworth

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