Gertrud Kolmar

Gertrud Kolmar (a pseudonym for Gertrud Käthe Chodziesner) was born in Berlin in 1894. Her parents were the lawyer Ludwig Chodziesner and his wife Elise, a relative of Walter Benjamin (1892–1940). After training as a language teacher, she worked during the First World War as a censor at the Döberitz prisoner-of-war camp. Her first book of poems appeared in 1917. In the interwar years she worked as a kindergarten teacher in a number of German cities and, from 1928, as a secretary to her father. Her poems were banned under the Nazis. The forced sale of her parents’ house in Falkensee compelled her and her father to move to a “Jew-House” (see Residence of Gertrud Kolmar). From here, she was deported in 1943 to the Auschwitz extermination camp, where she was murdered.

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