Photo by: miraculix1951
germany-travel is taking you to an off-beat destination that is a ways off the most popular cities to visit in Germany. Located in Augsburg, a city in the southwest of Bavaria that is also Germany’s third oldest, is a very special marionette theater named the Augsburger Puppenkiste.
Puppenkiste is the German word for “puppet chest”, and the Augsburger Puppenkiste started as the Puppenschrein, a family business that Walter Oehmichen founded in 1943 with his wife and two daughters. During the bombing of Augsburg in 1944, the theater they performed in was burned completely but the family still had a brush of good luck, as the family’s puppet collection was spared, safely taken home before the bomb assault. Despite tough post-war conditions, Walter Oehmichen managed to revive the family business in 1948, renamed it the “Augsburger Puppenkiste” and inaugurated it with the play Puss in Boots. The renowned adult cabaret edition, now a yearly tradition, started in 1950.
The Augsburger Puppenkiste was a true family business, with Walter Oehmich carving the puppets himself, and Walter’s wife Rose making the marionettes’ clothes and giving voice to many characters. Their daughter Hannelore and her husband took over the Puppenkiste shortly after the theater’s 25th anniversary, and following her mother’s death in 1985, inherited the Puppenkiste.
So what’s with the famed puppet chest? Turns out, founder Walter Oechmichen wanted a portable way to transport the puppets and the theater, having learned a lesson from the Augsburg bombing, resulting in the popular Augsburger Puppenkiste boxes featured in all its productions which have also become the theater’s trademark.
Today, you can still find the Augsburger Puppenkiste in the Heilig-Geist-Spital building it has always called home, and additionally the new museum which houses the theater’s most famous marionettes and special exhibitions. When in Bavaria, head to Augsburg and see a marionette performance at the Augsburger Puppenkiste, one of the many things to do in Augsburg that has delighted fans for decades. More information about visits and tickets can be found here.