German family of marionettists. Members of the Dombrowsky family have been practising the art of traditional Saxon string puppetry for seven generations. The beginning of the dynasty dates back to 1810 with Johann Anton Kressig, a tight rope acrobat and puppeteer.

Roswitha Sterl (b.1930) was the granddaughter of the puppeteer Max Kressig. Her puppeteer license was revoked by the East German cultural bureaucracy (DDR-Kultubürokratie) in 1951. After she married the electrician Kurt Dombrowsky (b.1931) in 1951, he was able to obtain a puppeteer license in 1953. He managed to continue the theatre in the old tradition, continually seeking new opportunities and finding ways to carry on despite being subjected to the obligatory annual renewal of his license.

Since the early 1970s, Kurt Dombrowsky has been a sought-after expert on traditional puppet theatre. He passed his knowledge on to student puppeteers as well as to his own children. Since 1982, his son Uwe (b.1955) and wife Evelyn have been running their own theatre. His daughters Bettina Fischer (b.1958) and Kerstin Wilhelm (b.1961) soon followed their example.

It is to the Dombrowsky family’s credit that they have preserved the traditional Central German itinerant puppet theatre into the 21st century. The itinerant puppet theatres of Uwe and Evelyn Dombrowsky and Bettina and Johannes Fischer are among the last in Europe that maintain the baroque traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

(See Germany, Itinerant Troupes, Travelling Puppeteers.)