Christmas Card Greeting in the Old German Handwriting

This postcard, written in Suetterlin, dates back to a time between 1915 and 1941, when Suetterlin was widely in use.

This form of modern handwriting was introduced by the ministry to be used in offices and schools.

After I learned Latin letters in first grade, the following year (or maybe third grade), we also had to learn to write in Suetterlin style. It is very useful to know now – when browsing archives and old documents in my research.

Gesegnete Weihnacht! = Have a blessed Christmas!

Gesegnete Weihnacht by Margret Savelsberg


I wish all my readers a blissful year-end season, filled with bright lights and happy memories to reflect on.

“I am grateful for all the moments that I have, and I’m moving forward one step at a time to the future.”  – Park Bo-gum (박보검)


Notes from Germany

This photo is not accurate. We have no snow at the moment and the weather bureau tells us we are having the mildest winter on record in 30 years.

Nevertheless, enjoy your holidays, wherever you are.

German Tax Information for Expats

This information was sent to us by the administration of Frankfurt International School and I found it very useful for expats living and working in Germany.

It contains a general explanation of the current tax situation. I am sure, not only newcomers to the German tax system will find this useful, but also current non-German employees such as my husband who frequently inquire about German tax terms and whether we have to act on it.

Edited e-mail version:

Within the next days and weeks, every German tax office (Finanzamt) will send letters to all registered employees in Germany.

The letter’s headline will read:

Information über die erstmals elektronisch gespeicherten Daten für den Lohnsteuerabzug (Elektronische Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale) – see explanation below.

This October, you will not receive a 2012 tax card from your town hall as your tax data 2012 is to be transferred electronically to the employer. Therefore, the Finanzamt is sending out this letter to have you double-check the information you have given previously. This letter is just for your information, and if the listed information is correct, it does not need to be handed to the employer, nor sent back to the Finanzamt.

Please check if your name and address are stated correctly.

Further please check the table with the headline Lohnsteuerabzugsmerkmale:

Steuerklasse (tax classification) should show one of the following:

“I” for singles or divorcees

“II” for singles with child/ren, raising child/ren without partner

“III” for married couples in which one earns considerably more than the spouse OR is the only one working

“IV” for married couples in which both are employed

“V” for married couples  in which one earns considerably less than the spouse

Kirchensteuermerkmal (church tax code) is only marked, if you have declared your membership to one of the official churches in Germany. If you have registered with a religious group, it will appear as follows:

“rk” catholic confession

“ev” protestant confession

“rk/ev” or “ev/rk” if you and your spouse have different confessions

Zahl der Kinderfreibeträge would show up if you have a child;

For example, 2,0 stands for 2 registered children.

If yours is marked with 0,5, this means that 0,5 child is counted towards your tax credit. The other half, for example, could be registered with a divorced partner.

Pauschbeträge für behinderte Menschen / Hinterbliebene  would only appear if you have applied for a tax credit due to a handicap/disability.

Report any changes/incorrect information to the Finanzamt. If there aren’t any, then just file it with your paperwork.

This does not apply to military spouses or consulate members.

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