Irene Stratenwerth

Hurdy Gurdy Girl

Eine weite Reise durch die Nacht

Luise Ludwig was 17 when she set off for Wetterau in the summer of 1863. For three years she was hired as a dancing girl by a so-called "Landgänger" (country boy): he moved with young girls from the impoverished, Hessian farming villages to foreign countries to rent them out for dancing and drinking - first in California, then in British Columbia (today Canada). For where the gold rush attracts masses of men, there is a lot of money to be made with young women. 

Luise has long dreamed of a trip to the New World. But it comes worse than she ever imagined. All alone, she is stranded in a San Francisco brothel. Although she manages to escape to the Canadian gold-mining country, soon she wants only one thing: to return home. 

What she experiences on her adventurous journey, what she learns from it and who she meets is told by the author in a historically precise and gripping way. Her novel is based on true events, which are explained in detail in the epilogue.

Irene Stratenwerth

Irene Stratenwerth lives and works as a journalist and book author in Hamburg. In cooperation with the Stiftung Neue Synagoge - Centrum Judaicum Berlin she curated several historical exhibitions and accompanying volumes. "Der Gelbe Schein. Mädchenhandel 1860 bis 1930" was shown in Berlin and Bremerhaven in 2012 and explored for the first time the history of countless young women who emigrated from Europe to the "New World".

Recent publications: "Meine abgeschminkten Jahre" (with Stefanie Giesselbach), Piper Verlag 2017; "Marie Jalowicz: Untergetaucht. Eine junge Frau überleben in Berlin, 1940-1945". Fischer Verlag 2014.