The double lottery

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The double Lottchen is a novel by Erich Kästner , which appeared in Germany in 1949, but was made as a film treatment during the Nazi era . In 1942, when Kästner was temporarily allowed to work again as a screenwriter , he proposed the material to the director Josef von Baky . The draft script was titled "The Great Secret". When Kästner was again banned from writing shortly afterwards , both had to drop the film project. After the war ended in 1945, Kästner first turned the story into a novel.


Two nine-year-old girls, the lively, idiosyncratic Luise Palfy from Vienna and the polite, modest Lotte Körner from Munich, meet in a holiday home in the fictional town of Seebühl on the Bühlsee in the Alps . It turns out the two are twins and were torn apart by their parents' separation. Luise's father is a conductor-composer in Vienna, and Lotte's mother, who has taken on her old family name again, works as a picture editor in Munich. At the end of the vacation, the twins swap their roles: Luise travels as Lotte to her mother's in Munich and Lotte as Luise to Vienna to her father, which leads to some confusion among her unsuspecting parents because of the different abilities and character traits. When the father intends to remarry, Lotte falls sick with grief. The mother works for the newspaper and discovers a picture of Luise and Lotte from the holiday camp. When she found out about her daughter's illness, mother and Luise went to Vienna. The conductor and the editor get together again on their birthday.


The subject of divorce in a children's book sparked debate in post-war Germany . In addition, Kästner introduced a self-employed, single parent and working mother as a character. The film adaptation in 1950 was a great success and was the first film to receive the Federal Film Prize .

This work stands out from the canon of Erich Kästner's children's books because of the characters that are unusual for him: There is not only a modern mother figure who is a single parent and is employed, but the role of the child's role model is not occupied by a boy, what else It is common with Erich Kästner: Lotte, one of the twin girls, shows the virtues that Kästner's “model boys” usually display: courage, honesty and charity. The father is also an interesting figure with the "dark sides" of his being: he is given the essential blame for the - temporary - failure of the marriage.

Another difference to his other 'children's novels' is the concept of development, which Kästner pursues here with great emphasis:

  • The child had changed. And now the young woman began to change too. (after mother and daughter went on a trip to the mountains)
  • He really got older. He almost looks like a real man, her ex-husband. (Mother's thoughts about her - still - ex-husband)
  • Lottchen's illness can easily be understood as ' catharsis to maturity' - and it also gives the plot the decisive twist.

Kästner's partner Luiselotte Enderle was the role model for the mother Luiselotte of the two twins Luise and Lotte.


The story “The Double Lottery” has been filmed several times. The film adaptations relate more or less to the book by Erich Kästner.

There is also a musical adaptation of the work in Japan.

Further films based on the original theme:


A Dresden tram was named after the figures.


Over the years, the novel has been published by various publishers and also as a radio play .

  • Erich Kästner: The double lottery. A novel for children. Illustrated by Walter Trier . Dressler, Hamburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-86272-425-3 .
  • Erich Kästner: The double Lottchen (= Easy Readers - easy to read. A). Arranged by Iris Felter. Klett, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-12-675724-3 (Abbreviated and simplified for school and self-study, follows the reformed spelling and punctuation. Learning materials).
  • Erich Kästner: The double lottery. Radio play on CD with Ruth Scheerbarth , Ernst Stankovski and Hans Söhnker . Oetinger, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-8373-0136-2 .
  • Erich Kästner: The double lottery. The original radio play for the movie. Edel Records, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-89855-630-9 .