Home       l       Site Map      l      Exhibitions      l     About the Museum       l      Education      l     Contact Us       l      Links

Czernowitz: Town With a Jewish Past

Voices of Czernowitz:
Rose Ausländer

Rose Ausländer (May 11, 1901 - January 3, 1988), maiden name Rosalie Beatrice Scherzer, was a German writer.

She was born in Czernowitz, which at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Between 1907 and 1919, she received her primary and secondary education in Vienna and Czernowitz.

In 1919, she began studying literature and philosophy in Czernowitz. She developed at this time a life-long 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 Bukovinna, 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 three years later, they were divorced, presumably because of a boring family life. 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 graphololist Helios Hecht, with whom she lived until 1936. Because she hadn't been in America for more than three years, she meanwhile lost her American citizenship. After breaking up with Hecht, she left Czernowitz 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 Czernowitz. She remained there two years, plus another year in hiding so as not to be deported to the camps. In the ghetto, she got to know Paul Celan, under whose influence she modernised her style, leaving behind her classic-expressionist tone.

In spring 1944, the city was liberated 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.

Remarks about Rose Ausländer from those who knew or met her

Rose Ausländer was my English teacher at the start of the war when she could not get back to the United States after visiting her mother in Czernowitz. Rose and my mother (nee Claire Hönich) were high school colleagues and close friends. Since we had no other English books, she taught me the language using "Tales" by Oscar Wilde. --Henry Sinnreich

I've met Mrs. Ausländer while visiting my aunt Berta Rubin (Rubinstein) in Düsseldorf. They were classmates. Mrs. Ausländer was interned in the Nelly Sachs Haus there and took very hard her illness and was not communicative. I remarked to her then that she used the word kukuruz for corn in her poem, which although used in the Czernowitzerish language is not German but Russian. She replied that she did it on purpose to draw attention to the phenomenon of the German culture of Bukowina. --Yosef Eshet, Raanana, Israel

Rose Ausländer was my English teacher in Czernowitz during the years 1944-1945. She used a textbook by Eckersley. --Gerhard Schreiber 

  Hear Rose Ausländer recite a few of her poems (in German):

In Memoriam Paul Celan 
Rose Auslander-2 

Bukowina-1 (German text)
text from Martha Birnbaum

Bukowina-1 (English translation)
text from Hardy Mayer


Grüne Mutter
Schmetterlinge im Haar
Sagt die Sonne
Rote Melonenmilch
weisse Kukuruzmilch
ich machte sie süss
Violette Föhrenzapfen
Luftflügel Vögel und Laub
Der Karpatenrücken
lädt dich ein
dich zu tragen
Vier Sprachen
die sich verstehn

Green Mother
Butterflies in my hair

says the sun
red milk of watermelons
white milk from corn
I made them sweet

Purple fir-cones
wings birds and leaves

The back of the Carpathians
invites you
to be carried

Four languages
Songs in four tongues

People who
get along with each other

The text on this page has been adapted from the Wikipedia web page for Rose Ausländer and can be found here.


What's New       |       Opportunities       |       Downloads       |      FAQs       |      Credits       |       Guestbook       |       Help

Copyright © 2007-8. Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.  Image Use Policy.