Ines Kahnwald is Mikkel Nielsen's—Michael Kahnwald's—adoptive mother, and through him, Jonas Kahnwald's adoptive grandmother. She is seen at her natural age in all three eras of the first season, and in 1987 in the second season. She is portrayed by Lena Urzendowsky in 1953, Anne Ratte-Polle in 1986, and Angela Winkler in 2019.
In 1953, Ines drops by the clockmaker's shop, accompanied by Jana. She is picking up a watch that H.G. Tannhaus was repairing for her father, Daniel Kahnwald, then chief of the Winden Police. When she recounts gossip about two dead boys being found, he piques the interest of the 2019 Ulrich Nielsen, who had stepped in to talk with Tannhaus earlier.
Little is known about her life until 1986, when she is seen working as a nurse at the Winden Hospital. She tells another nurse, Donata Kraus, that she had once had a son, but he had died very young. She agrees to trade shifts with Donata, and was thus the one sent to the Winden Police to pick up a boy, Mikkel Nielsen. She took an interest in him and became his confidante. After Mikkel broke his leg trying to get back to the cave, she invited Noah to visit him. Having developed deep affection for him over the week, she implores Mikkel's caseworker not to send him to a children's group home, and arranges to adopt him and raise him as Michael Kahnwald.
Ines's devotion seems genuine, and he wants for nothing material. His room in 1987—the same room Jonas would inherit years later—is full of toys and comic books. He is emotionally traumatized, however, and suffers nightmares and depression. Ines struggles to help him through this, only reminding him the past is past and now is now, and to forget about his previous life. When he asks whether she believes in God, and if God has a plan, she replies that His plan is for her to take care of him, prompting a tender hug.
She resorts to drugging him. When Egon visits to check up on him, she denies him a meeting, saying he is sleeping. Egon spots a box of sleeping pills on the counter, but she claims they are hers. Later, she is seen stealing pills from the hospital, and almost caught by a coworker. After an encounter with his father, Ulrich Nielsen, Ines makes him hot chocolate to help him sleep, mixing crushed pills into it. As an adult, Michael would tell 2020 Jonas that he remembered little of his childhood, but was suddently reminded when he encountered Mikkel at the house earlier in the day.
Ines did not press him about skipping school the day he went to explore the forest and encountered Noah; instead, she hugs him and says she will make him her childhood comfort food, Toast Hawaii, to cheer him up. In contrast, she is alarmed when she returns home to find the door ajar and Michael gone, with two cups left on the table outside. She contacts Egon, concerned he has been kidnapped, and they intercept them just before the elderly Ulrich can enter the cave.
In 2019, she is no longer living in the house where Michael grew up. She takes Michael's suicide note, marked "Do not open before 4 November 22:13," before the rest of the family can find it, and keeps it in her apartment. Jonas from 2020 later confronts her about Michael's identity. She hands him the note, which surprises him, as he had burned the version he had received from his older self.
Ines' daughter-in-law Hannah shows steady hostility toward her. Hannah, for example, left a bitter voicemail, accusing Ines of having the electricity shut off at the Kahnwald family home to get her and Jonas to move out, and calling her "sick" for not visiting in the months after Michael's suicide. In another scene, Hannah has torn Ines out of a family photograph.
- The name Ines is a variant of Agnes. Jonas Kahnwald, who is Ines' adoptive grandson, is also Agnes Nielsen's biological great-great-grandson. In Christian tradition, Saint Agnes was a third century martyr who by legend was a young teenager who spurned the sexual advances of a Roman noble, who then reported her to the authorities as a Christian, for which she was executed.
- Ines wears a plain cross around her neck.
- The elderly Ines is not seen at all in 2020; however, her grave marker is not observed when Jonas walks through the graveyard in 2053.
- → See 26 images of Ines Kahnwald at Images of Ines Kahnwald.
- ↑ Dark Season 1 Episode 8: "As You Sow, so You Shall Reap"
- ↑ Dark Season 1 Episode 3: "Past and Present"
- ↑ Dark Season 2 Episode 2: "Dark Matter"
- ↑ Dark Season 2 Episode 3: "Ghosts"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Dark Season 2 Episode 5: "Lost and Found"
- ↑ Dark Season 2 Episode 6: "An Endless Cycle"
- ↑ Dark Season 1 Episode 2: "Lies"