July 17th, 2014
What was the weapon that Old Shatterhand used? That has been a question, which has long been on our mind. Karl May did not identify the year in which the story took place. The best guess we can make therefore depends on the story elements and the historical hints in “Winnetou II”.
Firstly, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862, which authorizes the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. The “Winnetou I” tale must therefore take place later than this year. The mention of the Ku Klux Klan in “Winnetou II” suggests that the story takes place after 1866. We also know that Maximillian I was in power and Benito Juarez was in exile. That indicates that the year for the second part of the Winnetou tale must be between 1864 and 1867.
Since Old Shatterhand returns to St. Louis and decides to go to Germany in “Winnetou II”, we must conclude that the year of the “Winnetou I” tale must be sometime after 1866 as this gives Old Shatterhand time to travel and the Ku Klux Klan to mobilize.
We also know that more than 200,000 units of the .44 Cal 1860 Black Powder Colt were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. We can therefore surmise that in all likelihood Old Shatterhand may have carried such a weapon.
We therefore test fired a replica of this hand gun, which we intend to use in our film “Winnetou – The Beginning” and you can see the result in the short video clip, provided for your enjoyment.
July 17th, 2014
And they say that the youth of today no longer read Karl May … well, here is a young girl who loves the Winnetou stories and works hard on translating our material into German. Julia Held, a thirteen year old German girl, who is learning English in school is actively working with her mother, Karin Held, to promote the “Winnetou – The Beginning” film project.
“We need more young people like her to reignite the interest in Karl May’s epic tales.” says Michael Michalak, the author of the film script. “And we thank her from the bottom of our heart for the work she does.”
July 2nd, 2014
No matter which of the above names are used, they all describe a Native American chieftain who has become a symbol of nobility. In fact, the German Supreme Court was of the following opinion;
Bei Winnetou handelt es sich nunmehr um einen Begriff, der sich einer ungemeinen Bekanntheit in Deutschland erfreut. Viele Leser aus allen Generationen verbinden mit dem Namen einen bestimmten Typus eines edlen Menschen, eines Indianerhäuptlings ohne Fehl und Tadel.
With regards to the name Winnetou, it is a concept that enjoys enormous fame in Germany. Many readers from all generations connect this name with a certain noble human being, an Indian chief beyond reproach.
But is Winnetou truly an Native American chieftain or a German archetype?
For that matter, is the land that Karl May describes really the North American continent or does it have another meaning? One must remember that Karl May wrote in his “Confession”;
A certain clique emerged from the Münchmeyer trial, which gave itself the task to deny any deeper meaning contained in my books so that they might accuse me of lies and swindle. Because of some lofty connections it was possible to deceive even those with moral sensibilities. And then there is the milieu that is covered by the content of my books. Whilst I lead my readers through the realm of the mankind’s soul, I give to its regions known geographical names. This makes comprehension much easier, however it provides the malicious cause to malign me. When I, for example, locate the realm of art to India for the sake of illustration, and the realm of religious intolerance to Belutschistan, without delay these unimaginative people deem that I truly visited India and Belutschistan. If not, than I am a literary liar and swindler. Accordingly Dante would have been the biggest swindler of all, since he claimed to not only have visited purgatory and hell, but also heaven!
So who is Winnetou and what realm is identified by America?
Please support the new Feature Film “Winnetou – The Beginning” that will do justice to Karl May’s work.