What Does This Blasted Thing Say?, by Walt Vogdes, is a useful guide to the old German Fraktur alphabet, with special attention to easily confused letters. It arose from “questions asked in the Beer Stein Forum, especially those trying to identify a regimental stein,” but you don’t need to be a member of the American Beer Drinker’s Party to enjoy it. (Via Apothecary’s Drawer Weblog.)
Addendum. A commenter has pointed out an excellent site on German handwriting (Suetterlin). I’ve never been any good at reading it; at least now I have somewhere to go for help.


  1. When I had to learn Fraktur, it was explained to me that, Nazi though it may seem at first glance, Fraktur was on the way to being abolished by the Nazis. Does this mean that Hitler, on the balance, was not as bad as people think, or does it mean that Fraktur actually is a nice liberal script?

  2. Hitler at first mandated Fraktur (as a good Aryan typeface), then—after it turned out nobody in the conquered territories of Europe could read it—forbade it (as a Jewish conspiracy). So I think we can assume Fraktur spends all its disposable income on a good shrink and has no idea which way to vote.

  3. As I recall, Fraktur was not supposed to be just a Jewish conspiracy, but a Swabish-Jewish conspiracy. Scary.

  4. On a related note, there is a website for the old German Sütterlin script:
    I was fortunate to have instructors both in high school and college who could read this script. They allowed me to use it to do all of my homework exercises.

  5. I just remembered an episode from a couple of decades ago:
    The Detroit Free Press uses a Fraktur-like font in its masthead. For many years the paper had unwittingly composed this using a “V” instead of “D”. Until the error was noticed and corrected, the paper was titled “The Vetroit Free Press”.

  6. People should never underestimate the Swabian Jews. (Or was it “Swabians and Jews”? In any case, be warned.)

  7. Pedantry had some good posts about Fraktur earlier in the year.

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