Johanna Theodolinde Erika Petri was born on 7th December 1906 in Rostock, Germany, to wealthy parents. However, her family moved to Reichenbach in Silesia shortly after her birth. Erika was the second of six children. As a 14-year-old girl, she asserted herself and became the first girl at an all-male school. She enjoyed school and went on to study Art History, Archeology and Medieval History in Lausanne (Switzerland), Munich (Germany), and London (England). After earning her doctorate in 1931, she married Günter Fuchs, manager of a company for modern furnaces, in 1932 and they had two sons. The family moved to Schwarzenbach an der Saale (Germany) in 1933.
After World War II, Erika Fuchs was in desperate need of a job and started translating American magazines such as Reader's Digest. In 1951, she applied to the newly-founded "Micky Maus"-magazine after being convinced to do so by her husband, although she was wildly overqualified. Until 1988 she held the position of editor-in-chief for the magazine.
Dr. Fuchs became famous especially for her translations of the Carl Barks stories pertaining to the Duck family. The words she used showed both her love for vivid everyday speech and for the literary classics, hidden in countless quotes and references. Her inventive use of German has had a profound influence on the language, in pop culture and the spoken language. Phrases such as "Dem Ingenieur ist nichts zu schwör" and "Wir wollen sein ein einig Volk von Brüdern, in keiner Not uns waschen und Gefahr.“ were adapted from German high literature. The German study of Donaldism is decisively influenced by her translations of the Barks comics. Erika Fuchs is also recognized for popularizing the 'Erikativ' (named after her), the use of "the verb stem without any personal ending, which is used to imitate a sound or indicate that an action is occurring" (e.g. *sigh* [en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Erikativ]). In 2001 Dr. Erika Fuchs won the Roswitha Prize, a literature prize awarded only to women, as well as the Heimito von Doderer literature award for her contribution to the development of the German language. She died at the age of 98 on 22nd April 2005 in Munich.
In 2015, the "Erika-Fuchs-Haus", Museum for Comic and Language-Art, was opened in Schwarzenbach an der Saale.