Rose Ausländer

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Rose Ausländer
Rose Ausländer (1914).jpg
Born Rosalie Beatrice Scherzer
(1901-05-11)May 11, 1901
Czernowitz, Bucovina
Died January 3, 1988(1988-01-03) (aged 86)

Rose Ausländer (May 11, 1901 – January 3, 1988), maiden name Rosalie Beatrice Scherzer, was a Jewish German and English language poet. She was born in Bukovina, and lived in the United States, Romania, and Germany.


She was born in Czernowitz, Bukovina, (today Chernivstsy, Ukraine), which at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her father Sigmund (Süssi) Scherzer (1871–1920) was from a small town near Czernowitz, and her mother Kathi Etie Rifke Binder (1873–1947) was born in Czernowitz to a German-speaking family.[1] Between 1907 and 1919, she received her primary and secondary education in Vienna and Czernowitz, which became part of Kingdom of Romania after 1918, and was given the name 'Cernauti'.

In 1919, she began studying literature and philosophy in Cernauti. She developed at this time a lifelong devotion to the philosopher Constantin Brunner.

After her father died in 1920, she gave up her studies. In 1921, together with her friend and future husband Ignaz Ausländer, she left Cernauti, and migrated to the United States. Here, she worked as an editor for the newspaper Westlicher Herold, and she began writing poems. In 1927, her first poems were published in the Amerika-Herold-Kalender, which she edited.

On October 19, 1923 she married Ausländer in New York. A mere 3 years later, they divorced. In the same year, she became an American citizen. In 1927, she returned home for eight months to take care of her sick mother. In 1931, she returned home again for the same reason; there she met graphologist Helios Hecht, with whom she lived until 1936. Because she had not been in America for more than 3 years, she meanwhile lost her American citizenship. After breaking up with Hecht, she left Cernauti for Bucharest in 1936.

In 1939, her first volume of poems, Der Regenbogen (The Rainbow) was published after intermediation of Alfred Margul-Sperber. Even though it was a success with the critics, it was not accepted by the public. The greater part of the print run was destroyed by command of the Nazis in 1941, after they had occupied the city. As a Jew, she had to move into the ghetto of Cernauti. She remained there 2 years, plus another year in hiding so as not to be deported to the Nazi concentration camps.

After the war, she got to know Paul Celan in Bucharest, and modernised her style, leaving behind her classic-expressionist tone. The image of "black milk" used by Celan in his poem Todesfuge (first published 1948) appeared an a poem published in 1939 by Ausländer. Ausländer herself is recorded as saying that this usage by Celan was "self-explanatory, as the poet may take all material to transmute in his own poetry. It's an honour to me that a great poet found a stimulus in my own modest work".[2] With Bucharest occupied by the Red Army, she left the country again, returning to New York, where she again was given American citizenship in 1948. She was able to meet Celan only once more, in 1957 in Paris. After the trauma of persecution, she began writing in English and only in 1956 did she resume writing texts in German.

When she published her second volume of poems, Blinder Sommer (Blind summer), in 1965, it was welcomed enthusiastically by the public. In 1967, she returned to West Germany. From then on, she lived in Düsseldorf; she was bedridden from 1978 due to arthritis. She had to dictate her texts, as she was not able to write by herself. She died in Düsseldorf in 1988.


  • Der Regenbogen (The Rainbow)
  • Blinder Sommer (Blind Summer)
  • Brief aus Rosen (Letter from Rosa/Letter from Roses)
  • Das Schönste (The most beautiful)
  • Denn wo ist Heimat? (Then Where is the Homeland)
  • Die Musik ist zerbrochen (The Music is Broken)
  • Die Nacht hat zahllose Augen (The Night Has Countless Eyes)
  • Die Sonne fällt (The Sun Fails)
  • Gelassen atmet der Tag (The Day Breathes Calmly)
  • Hinter allen Worten (Behind All Words)
  • Sanduhrschritt (Hourglass Pace)
  • Schattenwald (Shadow Forest)
  • Schweigen auf deine Lippen (Silence on Your Lips)
  • The Forbidden Tree
  • Treffpunkt der Winde (Meetingplace of the Wind))
  • Und nenne dich Glück (And Call You Luck)
  • Wir pflanzen Zedern (We Plant Cedars)
  • Wir wohnen in Babylon (We Live in Babylon)
  • Wir ziehen mit den dunklen Flüssen (We Row the Dark Rivers)
  • Herbst in New York (Autumn in New York)
  • An ein Blatt (To a Leaf)
  • Anders II
  • Poems of Rose Auslander. An Ark of Stars (Translated by Ingeborg Wald, Drawings by Ed Colker, Haybarn Press 1989)
  • Rose Auslander: Twelve Poems, Twelve Paintings (Translated by Ingeborg Wald, Paintings Adrienne Yarme, Ithaca, NY 1991)


  1. ^ Rose Ausländers Leben und Dichtung (Rose Ausländer life and poetry). „Ein denkendes Herz, das singt“ ("A thinking heart that sings")
  2. ^ Cited in Forstner, Leonard (1985). "Todesfuge: Paul Celan, Immanuel Weissglas and the Psalmist", in German Life and Letters, (October 1985), Vol 39, Issue 1, p. 10


  • This article draws heavily on the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia retrieved January 22, 2005.

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