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Reinerová grew up in a German-speaking Jewish family, her mother a German-Bohemian from Saaz (Žatec) and her father an ironware dealer from Prague. Prior to World War II, she worked as a translator, an interpreter and an editor for the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung. She fled to Paris in 1938 and later travelled to Morocco. She was visiting Mexico with the journalist and writer Egon Erwin Kisch in March 1939 and was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust. She returned to what was then Czechoslovakia after 1948. In the 1950s, she was jailed by Czechoslovakia's Stalinist authorities and spent 15 months in prison; she recorded this experience in one of her novels, Alle Farben der Sonne und der Nacht. After her release she published sporadically. Beginning in 1968, she was not allowed to publish at all until the fall of communism. Her works are mostly published at Aufbau Verlagsgruppe, Berlin.
On January 25, 2008, a speech Reinerová wrote but could not longer deliver personally due to ill health was read in German parliament in the course of an hour of remembrance for the victims of the Nazi regime.
Reinerová had been largely a recluse ever since a spell in hospital in 2007, with the cause of her death not immediately known. Lucie Cernhousova, head of Literaturhaus, the Prague publisher of German-language writers, disclosed her death.
Reinerová, the oldest living German-language writer in Prague, died June 27, 2008, in Prague, in her apartment, at 92.