The Witch’s Hut or Das Hexenhaus at Kildonan Park, Winnipeg
Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, the Frog King, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Rumpelstilzchen, Puss in Boots. The list goes on and on; these are German folktales and fairytales that the Brothers Grimm collected. Another very famous German fairy tale is the story of Hänsel and Gretel, and this is the tale illustrated here with the Witch’s Hut.
The Witch’s Hut brings to life the story of Hänsel and Gretel, the children of a poor woodcutter. Their lives are changed forever after losing their way in the middle of a deep forest and finding a witch’s hut built out of delicious gingerbread goodies (Lebkuchen) and candies. The traditional translation of the witch’s query:
“Nibble, nibble, little mouse, who is nibbling at my house?”
has become an integral part of many a person’s childhood memories. The witch locks up Hänsel, and his sister Gretel has to work for the witch. With guile the children overcome the witch’s plan to eat them. They then fill their pockets with precious stones, run away and find the path back home to their rejoicing father.
At certain times during the summer, visitors may hear a reading of this story, other tales from the Brothers Grimm collection, as well as folktales from around the world.
The History of the Witch’s Hut / das Hexenhaus
The Witch’s Hut in Kildonan Park was a Centennial Project of the German Community of Manitoba, and a gift to the children of the Province. It is now one of the major cultural attractions in the city. Its dedication ceremony and official opening was in October 1970. Hundreds of children and adults, as well as dignitaries from the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg attended. At a recent anniversary date the former Governor General of Canada Edward Schreyer has been present.
Nestled among century old elm trees, in Winnipeg’s Kildonan Park on the shores of the historic Red River, the Witch’s Hut exists due to the efforts of many financial and artistic supporters. The Hut was designed by the well- known Manitoba architect Hans Peter Langes. It is round in shape and therefore not at all like the traditional gingerbread house which one sees in stores at Christmas time. This non-traditional round shape is one of the hut’s outstanding features. John Nelson did the actual masonry and handcrafted woodwork. Sculpturess Elfriede Berger created relief terracotta panels depicting the entire fairy tale in sequential scenes. Josef Potempa handcrafted full scale images of Hänsel, Gretel and the witch. A leading proponent of the Hut’s continuing relevance and importance to Winnipeggers, its visitors and tourists is the German-Canadian Congress of Manitoba.
The Tour Guide service to visitors and tourists is provided in part through the generosity and support of the City of Winnipeg, The Province of Manitoba, the Federal Government of Canada, and the German-Canadian Congress of Manitoba, and visitors like you. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Der Deutsch Kanadische Kongress von Manitoba ist Gastgeber im Hexenhaus und freut sich diese deutsche Tradition den Bürgern von Winnipeg sowie den Besuchern und Touristen nahezubringen.
The Brothers Grimm
The two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, were born in 1785/86 in Hanau, Germany, approximately 20 km east of Frankfurt/Main. The family Grimm soon moved to Steinau, approximately 60 km NE of Frankfurt/Main. Around 1806 they began to collect fairytales and folktales (Märchen). They first started publishing folktales in 1812, while living in Kassel, 120 km NE of Frankfurt/Main. Their works were destined to become some of the best known and most influential books ever created in the German language. Their achievements as pioneers in folklore and linguistics was groundbreaking.
For more information see your library or such internet sites as: - National Geographic’s Grimm Fairy Tales: www.nationalgeographic.com/grimm
- Kassel: a walking tour of this German city, where the brothers Grimm lived and worked from 1798 to 1830, and where they produced their best known works.
- German Fairytale Route / German Märchenstrasse: a tourist route in Germany connecting the principal cities associated with the Brothers Grimm and their tales.