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Kruse, Max

Max Kruse, writer, deceased 2015


Max Kruse, Photo: Evelin Frerk

Max Kruse was born in 1921 in Bad Kösen as the youngest son of sculptor Max Kruse and doll artist Käthe Kruse: He lived in Switzerland from 1933 to 1935, and although he did not attend a regular school until the age of 20 for health reasons, he graduated from high school in Weimar and began his studies in Jena, which he could not finish because of the war. He was never a soldier.

After the dispossession of his mother's doll manufactory in the former East Zone, he rebuilt it in West Germany. But because his only dream since childhood had ever been to write, he handed the company over to one of his sisters in 1958. He then worked for a few years as a copywriter until he was able to dedicate himself to his real vocation, writing books.

In addition to his many books for children and young people, among them "Urmel aus dem Eis" ("Urmel from the Ice") and "Der Löwe ist los" ("The Lion is Loose") (both known to a broad public in Germany through the "Augsburger Puppenkiste"), he wrote the cultural-historical series "Im weiten Land der Zeit" ("In the Vast Land of Time") and the religion-critical works "Nachrichten aus der Zukunft" ("News from the Future"), "Gott oder Nichtgott, das ist hier die Frage" ("God or Not-God, That is the Question") and "Besen, Besen, seid's gewesen - eine Vorgeschichte der Aufklärung" ("A Prehistory of the Enlightenment"). Many of his works have been filmed and translated into several languages. He also wrote travel books on Asia, Egypt, and China, and many radio reports. Max Kruse was a member of P.E.N. and bearer of the Federal Cross of Merit. Some of his books were featured on the selection list for the German Youth Literature Prize. He provided his famous Urmel for the gbs project "Evokids - Evolution in Primary School" and in addition wrote the book "Urmel saust durch die Zeit" ("Urmel Flies through Time").

Max Kruse died on September 4, 2015, in his hometown Penzberg. See also the eulogy to Max Kruse, written by Michael Schmidt-Salomon.

Publications (selection):

  • Der Löwe ist los - children's book series, 1952
  • Windkinder - children's poems, 1968
  • Urmel aus dem Eis - children's book series, 1969
  • Shaofangs Reise - Travelogue, 1981
  • Federleicht - Poems, 1982
  • Die Versunkene Zeit - Biography, 1983
  • Ägypten, das Geschenk des Nils - travel book, 1984
  • Der Schattenbruder - Youth Novel, 1985
  • China - Travelogue, 1985
  • Die behütete Zeit - Biography, 1993
  • Im weiten Land der Zeit - cultural history, 1997
  • Federleicht und Windkinder - Poems CD (speaker: Otto Sander), 1998
  • Ich bin ein Vogel aus Samarkand - poems, 2001
  • Ein Klecks ging mal spazieren - children's poems, 2003
  • Vorfrühling - Novel, 2006
  • 1000 Stiefel - musikalisches Märchen (book + theatre)
  • Das große Geschichtenbuch, 2009
  • Antworten aus der Zukunft - Critique of Religion, 2009
  • Gott oder Nichtgott, das ist hier die Frage - reflections, 2009
  • Besen, Besen, sind’s gewesen - A Prehistory of Enlightenment, 2010
  • Die Tage mit Jantien - Roman, 2010
  • Die Froki Saga, 2010


  • Kulturpreis Penzberg 1990
  • Großer Preis der Deutschen Akademie der Kinder und Jugendliteratur 2000
  • Werner-Egk Kulturpreis Donauwörth 2005

Furthermore, many videos and audio cassettes by Max Kruse have been published - translations into Chinese, Danish, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Catalan, Korean, Russian, Swedish.