The Early Years
Michael Ende’s story started in 1928 and was prompted by a sudden downpour in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In order to escape the wet weather, Edgar Ende (1901 - 1965), a Hamburg-born painter, took refuge in a small store in Bahnhofstrasse that sold precious stones and lace. When closing-time came, the weather showed no sign of improvement, so the shopkeeper, Luise Bartholoma (1892 - 1973), invited the stranger to shelter in her apartment on the first floor. Edgar Ende showed her his artwork, and succeeded in gaining not only her attention but her hand in marriage too. Luise, a solitary woman nine years his senior, took a keen interest in all matters literary, philosophical, mythological and religious, and found a suitable companion in Edgar. That night, they talked into the early hours, and Edgar subsequently moved in with Luise. The bans were published on the eve of his twenty-eighth birthday, and the couple were married on 22nd February.
Michael Andreas Helmut Ende was born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at 5.15 pm on 12th November. He was delivered by emergency caesarean section, and his mother’s life hung in the balance. Nevertheless Ende was a healthy baby who grew at an extraordinary rate - so fast that he outgrew his christening dress ordered from Arabia, and was never christened at all.
His father, Edgar Ende, soon tired of life in Garmisch, and pressed for a move to the city where his artwork would be more appreciated. ‘Garmisch was no place for an artist,’ wrote Michael Ende of his father’s ambitions. ‘The only place for a painter was Munich. So my mother shut up shop and we moved to the city.’ The move took place in 1931, and the family established themselves in a villa that had previously belonged to the sculptor Joseph Floβmann - no. 19 Marsopstraβe in present-day Munich. Edgar Ende’s paintings sold well, and the financial situation of the family improved. The next four years were some of the happiest ever for the family, but the interest in Edgar’s work did not last.