Tomb of Langgässer in the "Alter Friedhof" in Darmstadt
23 February 1899|
Alzey, Hesse, Germany
|Died||25 July 1950
Karlsruhe, West Germany
|Children||Cordelia Heller (b. 1929)|
Elisabeth Langgässer (23 February 1899 – 25 July 1950) was a German author and teacher. She is known for lyrical poetry and novels. Her short story Saisonbeginn, for example, provides a graphically human portrayal of a 1930s German Alpine village erecting a sign forbidding the entry of Jews.
Langgässer was born in Alzey. In the last free federal elections in March 1933 Langgässer voted for Adolf Hitler, but then during the Third Reich she was considered a "half-Jew" and therefore expelled from the Reichsschrifttumskammer (writer's union) in 1936.
Langgässer's daughter with the married Jewish man Hermann Heller, Cordelia, spent the war years in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz after her mother's attempt to improve her racial status by marrying her to a Catholic army officer from Spain failed. Told that a confession would save her mother from prosecution, the 12-year-old Cordelia willingly went to live in a ghetto hospital. After surviving the Holocaust, she joined her mother in Sweden. Langgässer had been deemed "non-Aryan" (her father had converted from Judaism), but had subsequently upgraded her status to "German" by marrying a German with SS connections. Cordelia resisted the pressure from her mother to provide material for a death camp memoir, and married and had several children with a Swedish Protestant, becoming Cordelia Edvardson; quite unexpectedly, she emigrated to Israel at the height of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and wrote a searing autobiography, Burnt Child Seeks the Fire. Elisabeth Langgässer became a noted Catholic author. As such she was an influence on Pope Benedict XVI in his early years.
Langgässer died in Karlsruhe.
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