Elke Sommer: The Official Website - Biography Page 2
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Biography - Page 02    


 

Starting in 1950, Elke Sommer attended the Humanistic High School of Erlangen, the Fridericianum. There, she was one of only five girls; the other five hundred students were boys, and Greek and Latin were compulsory subjects.
Soon it became evident that mathematics were not Elke’s forte while she had an extraordinary sense for languages. Still today, she is able to easily conjugate Latin verbs or decline Latin pronouns, and this – literally – while having soup or pancakes.

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Besides her gift for languages, her artistic talents were so obvious that her parents were more than willing to give their only daughter all the support they could provide. A friend of the family, the painter Peter Bina, gave Elke art lessons, and she helped her parents pay for this luxury by doing without many things that were highly important to other children her age. Elke Sommer was almost thirteen years old when she got her first dress. Until then, she had worn the hand-me-down-clothes from a boy, who lived in the neighborhood.

 
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Mother Nature, which was right in front of her doorstep, was not just her playground but also her inspiration. With the same watercolors that children use in school, Elke Sommer captured scenes from her childhood on simple sketch book paper: meadows, forests, lakes, houses, animals… the Gypsies who used to pass through the area received her special attention, and she later elaborated in many of her paintings on the impression they once made on her as a little girl.

Like most young girls, Elke Sommer was “Daddy’s Little Princess”; she adored her father and respected and admired him. From early childhood on, he taught her to treat all that lives with respect and love. During the week, when he prepared his Sunday sermon, she loved to sit on his lap and disturb him with the question:

 

“Will we be preaching again on Sunday?” Then her father broke into a grin and said: “Are we using the Majestic Plural again?”
In other words, Pastor Schletz allowed his daughter to actively participate in his life. However, much too soon he had to watch helplessly that she was participating in something else: She was seeing him die.


It was a mysterious illness that he caught in 1955. It began with violent bilious colics, which could not be relieved, and a botched surgery led to the end. Elke Sommer was fourteen years old when her father died - a loss, from which she never fully recovered.

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