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A Jewish Mother From Berlin [a novel] and Susanna [a novella]

Gertrud Kolmar, translated from the German by Brigitte M. Goldstein
A Jewish Mother From Berlin [a novel] and Susanna [a novella]
ISBN: 978-0-8419-1700-2
2012/202 pages/LC: 96054584
Distributed for Holmes & Meier Publishers

"These novellas eerily foreshadow the Holocaust by documenting their protagonists' outsider status and powerlessness in the face of evil."—Publishers Weekly

"A Jewish Mother From Berlin examines the nature of maternal love in 1920s Germany.... Set against the backdrop of a city and country swelling with anti-Semitic sentiment, this novel is dark and driven."—Library Journal

"Slowly paced and intensely emotional, both stories effectively forecast the devastation of the holocaust soon to come."—Kirkus Reviews

"Kolmar explores alienation and misfortune with a vivid, emotionally piercing force; here maternal love, devotion and innocence become not refuges from tragedy but lightning rods that seem to attract it."—New York Times Book Review


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.