My Alsace

Hansi; Translated by C. J. Moore

Availability:
Out of print

Quick Look

  • A stunning visual history of a unique region of France
  • Equally suitable for adults and children from about eight years old
  • A beautiful collection of Hansi’s trademark colourful and detailed pictures of Alsatian life

A condensed history of the French region of Alsace as depicted by artist Hansi through colourful, detailed pictures.

Format:
hardback
Size:
295 x 210 mm
Publisher:
Floris Books
Subject:
Art & Literature
Illustrations:
colour illustrations
Extent:
32 pages
ISBN:
9780863157677
Publication date:
11 Nov 2010

Description

Alsace is a region in the east of modern-day France which changed hands four times between France and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. When Jean-Jacques Waltz ('Hansi') was born in 1873, it was two years since the Prussian army had marched into Alsace, and the province remained under German annexation until the end of the First World War.

Hansi remembered his years at the German school in Colmar as among the worst of his life. Above all, he hated the history lessons in which the teacher forced the French pupils to learn about Prussian conquests and the defeat and humiliation of Alsace. Nothing was ever said about the glorious and happy past when Alsace was a free land, joined to the ancient region of Gaul with its Celtic races.

In 1912, Hansi decided to write his own History of Alsace for children. He wanted to show them how much pride they could have in their past, and to hear the story from their own side.

The first edition was published in Paris and was a great success, though as a result of its satirical gibes at all things German, Hansi was given a heavy fine and warning from the German authorities in Colmar. Soon afterwards he was given a year’s prison sentence for 'insulting the German officer corps'.

The present book is a hand-picked selection from Hansi's L'Histoire d'Alsace and his L'Alsace Heureuse written in 1919 to celebrate the province's return to freedom. It is full of Hansi's trademark colourful and detailed pictures of Alsatian life, as well as his critical but humorous portrayal of the occupying Germans. The text is suitable for children from about eight years old, but will equally be appreciated by adults.

Reviews

'In Alsace, you can't miss Hansi's paintings of idyllic village life… In 1912 and 1919 he published two picture books on the history and identity of Alsace. The most beautiful images and words from the two books are available in German or English, as you choose. They will enable tourists to enjoy the idyll and understand the identity of Alsace.'
-- Alsatiques, December 2010

Author

Hansi (1873-1951) was born Jean-Jacques Waltz in Colmar, in the French region of Alsace. A pro-French activist in a German-occupied area following the Franco-Prussian War, he worked as an artist and produced satirical drawings which mocked the German authorities. He started publishing under the pseudonym 'Oncle Hansi' or just 'Hansi'. He was imprisoned several times, including in Leipzig in 1914, from where he escaped back to France and joined the military during the First World War. In 1941 he was nearly assassinated by the Gestapo, but fled to Switzerland. He never recovered from his injuries and died in Colmar in 1951. He is a hero in Alsace, where his books and drawings are widely reproduced.

Links

Also available in English by Hansi:
My Village

Discover books by some other wonderful illustrators:
Carl Larsson
Alois Carigiet
Elsa Beskow

Other Floris Books you might enjoy:

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