Ruth Klüger

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Ruth Klüger
Ruth Klüger - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2010.jpg
Ruth Klüger at Frankfurt Book Fair 2010
Born(1931-10-30)30 October 1931
Died5 October 2020(2020-10-05) (aged 88)
Occupationprofessor, author
Notable work
weiter leben: Eine Jugend, Still Alive

Ruth Klüger (30 October 1931 – 5 October 2020)[1][2] was Professor Emerita of German Studies at the University of California, Irvine[3] and a Holocaust survivor. She was the author of the bestseller weiter leben: Eine Jugend about her childhood in Nazi Germany.[4]


Ruth Klüger was born on 30 October 1931 in Vienna.[2] In March 1938, Hitler marched into Vienna. The annexation of Austria by the Nazis deeply affected Klüger's life: Klüger, who then was only six years old, had to change schools frequently and grew up in an increasingly hostile and antisemitic environment. Her father, who was a Jewish gynaecologist, lost his practitioner's license and was later sent to prison for performing an illegal abortion.[5]

In September 1942,[2] she was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp at the age of 10, together with her mother; her father had tried to flee abroad, but was detained and murdered. One year later she was transferred to Auschwitz, then to Christianstadt, a subcamp of Gross-Rosen. Following the end of World War II in 1945 she settled in the Bavarian town of Straubing and later studied philosophy and history at the Philosophisch-theologische Hochschule in Regensburg.

In 1947 she emigrated to the United States and studied English literature at Hunter College and German literature at the University of California, Berkeley.[6] Klüger obtained an M.A. in 1952, and later a Ph.D. in 1967. She worked as a college professor of German literature in Cleveland, Kansas, and Virginia, and at Princeton and UC Irvine.

Klüger was a recognized authority on German literature, and especially on Lessing and Kleist. She lived in Irvine, California and in Göttingen.

Her memoir, Still Alive, which focuses primarily on her time in concentration camps, is strongly critical of the museum culture surrounding the Holocaust.[7]

Klüger died on 5 October 2020, aged 88, 25 days before she would have turned 89[2] in her home in Irvine, California.[6] She was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.[8]


Klüger at the OSU Holocaust Memorial Week with LGBT activist Konrad Juengling (right), 2013

Publications include:

  • Weiter leben. Eine Jugend, Göttingen 1992
  • Katastrophen. Über die deutsche Literatur, Göttingen 1993
  • Von hoher und niederer Literatur, Göttingen 1995
  • Knigges Umgang mit Menschen, "Eine Vorlesung", Göttingen 1996
  • Frauen lesen anders, Munich 1996
  • Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, New York: The Feminist Press, 2001 (English translation of weiter leben. Eine Jugend); issued in Great Britain in 2003 (London: Bloomsbury Publishing) under the title Landscapes of Memory
  • unterwegs verloren. Erinnerungen, Wien, Paul Zsolnay 2008

She also published under the name Ruth Angress.


Klüger was awarded many prizes, including:


  1. ^ Die Schriftstellerin und KZ-Überlebende Ruth Klüger ist 88-jährig in den USA gestorben (in German), Retrieved 7 October 2020
  2. ^ a b c d "Holocaust-Überlebende Ruth Klüger gestorben". Deutsche Welle (in German). Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. ^ "Department of German: People". UC Irvine School of Humanities. Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. ^ Mednick, Jason (March 2009). "A Holocaust Childhood" (review of Still Alive). University of California Irvine. Archived from the original on 10 December 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  5. ^ Klüger, Ruth (27 November 2006). "Holocaust Survivor Ruth Klüger: "Vienna Reeks of Anti-Semitism"". Spiegel Online (Interview). Interviewed by Martin Doerry. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Renowned author and Holocaust survivor Ruth Klueger dies at 88". WIO News. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  7. ^ Lappin, Elena (14 March 2003). "Saved by a Lie" (review of Landscapes of Memory). The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Ruth Klüger Traueranzeige". (in German). Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Ehrungen und Auszeichnungen", in: Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung: Jahrbuch 1996 (in German). Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 1997. p. 220.
  10. ^ "Ruth Klüger erhält Danubius-Preis für Lebenswerk" (in German). Der Standard (Vienna). 7 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  11. ^ "US writer, academic and Holocaust survivor Ruth Klueger ...", October 25, 2011. Getty Images. Retrieved 9 October 2019.