Elke Sommer: The Official Website - Biography
(c) 2009 www.elkesommeronline.com

Biography - Page 01    


Elke Sommer was born as Elke Schletz in the Berlin neighborhood of Spandau on November 5, 1940. She was the only child of Renata Topp and Peter Schletz, a Protestant pastor, who descended from one of the oldest noble lineages in Germany.

The von Schletz family escutcheon goes all the way back to the year 1225, which means that Elke Sommer is actually a Baroness von Schletz. However, she never cared about her title.

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In 1942, the family was evacuated from Berlin to Franconia, to the small village of Niederndorf outside Erlangen, an idyllic community surrounded by fields, meadows and forests where the houses had red brick roofs and where storks were nesting next to the chimneys - impressions, which are reflected in many of Elke Sommer’s later paintings.

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Already as a very young child, little Elke developed a loving devotion for nature and, above all, for animals. There were times when she shared her room with two dogs, one cat, one hedgehog, one guinea pig, and two “trained” mice. Her parents had no objections - even though they had to share the same room. Or perhaps they had no objections because they were sharing the same room.

For an enlarged view, please click here.

With the evacuation from Berlin to Franconia, the life circumstances of the Schletz family had altered drastically. Despite the fact that Pastor Schletz’s church was gorgeous and one of the oldest in Germany, the family lived in a tiny one-room basement apartment, and there was so little money that Elke’s mother began to do other people’s laundry to make a little extra.

For an enlarged view, please click here.

Yet, in most cases, their budget was so tight that they could only afford potatoes, and not just any potatoes, but only the small ones, those, which were too small to be sold on the market.
In was during this time of her life that little Elke received the most beautiful Christmas gift ever: a shiny red apple that her father had bought in exchange for his wristwatch.


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