The Truth About Hansel and Gretel

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The Truth About Hansel and Gretel (German: Die Wahrheit über Hänsel und Gretel) is a book written by German caricaturist Hans Traxler, which was published in 1963.

The book purports to tell the story of how teacher Georg Ossegg uncovered archeological evidence of the "real" Hansel and Gretel in 1962. According to the book, Ossegg had determined that the fairytale, Hansel and Gretel, was based on the story of a baker named Hans Metzler and his sister Grete. According to the book, Hans and Grete Metzler lived in a village in the Spessart Forest during the Thirty Years War, and killed an old woman named Katharina Schraderin in order to steal her recipe for Nürnberger Lebkuchen (gingerbread) during the 17th century.[1][2][3][4]

In reality, Ossegg did not exist and the details of the story were fabricated by Traxler. Vanessa Joosen has called the book a "fictive nonfictional text," which "carries the features of a nonfictional text but consciously misleads the reader."[5] Despite its fictional nature, the hoax convinced many in Germany at the time,[1][2][5] and continues to have some traction.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ a b "The Reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales".
  2. ^ a b SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Germany. "HÄNSEL UND GRETEL: Mit falschem Bart".
  3. ^ Smith, Jack. "A Grim Discovery" Los Angeles Times November 19, 1974, page F1.
  4. ^ Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, p. 241.]
  5. ^ a b "Critical and Creative Perspectives on Fairy Tales".
  6. ^ Ogden, Valerie. The True Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales. The Huffington Post. Updated 01/05/2015. [1]
  7. ^ Culver, Anke A. Wanted for murder: Haensel and Gretel - Behind the classic Christmas-season fairy tale is a gruesome true story of entrepreneurial greed. [2]
  8. ^ Lane, Rebecca. Silver Petticoat Review. October 29, 2014