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Rose Auslaender

(1901 - 1988)

AUSLAENDER, ROSE (Rosalie Scherzer; 1901–1988), German poet. Born and raised in Czernowitz, Auslaender emigrated in 1921 and settled with her husband Ignaz Auslaender in New York, where she worked mainly as an editor of several German-language journals and also started publishing her first poems. Although granted American citizenship in 1926, Auslaender returned to Bukovina five years later and finally settled in Bucharest in 1933, earning her living as an English secretary in an oil company. After publishing her first lyric anthology, Der Regenbogen, she returned to New York in the face of the coming German invasion of Romania in October 1939. Concern for her mother led her to return to Czernowitz at the end of the year despite her premonition that this would mean a fight for her life.

Under the German occupation, Auslaender was forced into slave labor. Later she went into hiding with her mother until Czernowitz was taken by the Russian Army in 1944. During this time of suffering, she wrote her famous cycle Getto-motive and met Paul *Celan , with whom she built up a literary circle following the liberation. When the Soviet Union annexed Bukovina, she fled to Bucharest, ultimately deciding to go back to New York, where she joined "The New Yorkers," a circle of German-speaking Jewish survivors. Subsequently, she began to write poetry in English. She regained her American citizenship in 1948. Auslaender's return to the German language came with a visit to Europe in 1957, when she met Celan again in Paris. In 1963, she settled in Vienna. From there she took several trips with stops in France, Italy, Spain, and Israel, which was remembered in her second book, Blinder Sommer (1956), as the "forthcoming / myland yourland" (das "zukuenftige / Meinland Deinland"). The fate of Jewry, the experience of persecution as well as the hope of Jerusalem, and a narrator in a dialogue with thousands of years of tradition remained recurring motifs in Auslaender's poetry henceforth, but did not dominate her poetics. As characteristic one might stress the pneumatological aspect of Auslaender's use of language, since time and again the poems appear to be celebrations of world creation by words – it is a language that calls its speaker into being. (A conceptual background to her poetics can be found in the philosophy of Constantin *Brunner , to whom Auslaender referred for a long time as her "Meister.")

In 1971 Auslaender moved to Duesseldorf, Germany, where she spent the rest of her life in a nursing home; despite progressing frailty that confined her to bed, she continued to dictate poems and completed almost 2,500 of them before her death in 1988.

She was awarded the Droste-Preis (1967), the Andreas-Gryphius-Preis (1977), and the Grosses Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (1984).


C. Helfrich, "Es ist ein Aschensommer in der Welt": Rose Auslaender (1995); H. Braun, "Ich bin fünftausend Jahre jung": Rose Ausländer – zu ihrer Biographie (1999).

[Phillipp Theisohn (2nd ed.)]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

Wikimedia, By anonymous (The photographer never disclosed his identity) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons