In these two extraordinary works, published posthumously, Gertrude Kolmar's elegiac prose transports us into her characters' rich inner worlds even as it depicts the cold material realities of 1920s Berlin. In A Jewish Mother from Berlin, Martha Jadassohn's seemingly conventional life descends into chaos after the brutal rape of her five-year-old daughter. The ethereally beautiful protagonist of Susanna sets out in search of her lost lover, only to find herself floundering in a world where everyone else's perceptions clash with her own. Kolmar's powerful voice renders unforgettable these stories of two uncommon women who struggle in vain to find a sense of place in interwar Germany.
Gertrud Kolmar, born in 1894 in Berlin, was killed in Auschwitz in 1943. Before her two prose works were published in English in 1997, she was known outside of Germany primarily for her more than 500 poems.