Klüger’s book was selected for distribution and discussion. Two years after that, she was deported alongside her mother to Theresienstadt, where they were held until being sent to Auschwitz. This, Smith said, is when Klüger’s love of German poetry gestated. This Remembrance Day has been chosen randomly. In 1942, at the age of eleven, she was deported to the Nazi "family camp" Theresienstadt with her mother. I was seven years old when Hitler marched into Austria and from then on, life was completely different. And you didn't have your own bathtub or toilet. And that it has now become a power for peace. It was there a young woman whispered to her that she should lie to the officer. “She just thought it was important to capture her story and present it to the Germans,” said John Smith, chair of the Department of European Languages and Studies. “I am one of the many onlookers whose response to this has shifted from bemusement to admiration,” she said. At my mother's funeral, I had the feeling that it's important to bury the dead. Now, 100 of their works are on show in Berlin. If you want to take pictures with your smartphone and quickly share beautiful results, you need effective image editing tools. Her daughter's feelings for her were always ambivalent -- perhaps more hate … I am impressed by the openness with which the government and, if I understand correctly, also a large portion of the population, are taking in refugees. The book, known as Weiter Leben: Eine Jugend in her mother tongue, was published in Germany in 1992. Background Ruth Kluger was born on October 30, 1931, in Vienna, Austria. I always try to remember where I was on that day. We pretended to be Germans fleeing the Russians, which was ironic because we actually wanted to get over to the Russians. Her threats of abdication were rarely taken seriously; Maria Theresa believed that her recovery from smallpox in 1767 was a sign that God wished her to reign until death. A court has decided that an Amsterdam museum can keep a painting sold by the Lewenstein family during Nazi occupation, raising questions about art restitution. Her father fled the city in 1940 and she and her mother were deported to Theresienstadt in September 1942. I imagine what it would be like if I had to go to a concentration camp now, and that's a devastating thought. The thought of sleeping in a bed with four other people! Of course, later on, no one wanted to hear about it, but that's a different story. It was there a young woman whispered to her that she should lie to the officer. Ruth Kluger was born in Vienna in 1931 and was only six years old in March 1938 when the Nazis marched in to "annex" Austria. This week: "InstaLab for iOS & Android". Kluger's style is wry ("the muse of history has a way of cracking bad jokes at the expense of the Jews"), and she can shock readers with simple, honest admissions, such as her embarrassment, in the 1970s, when her mother asks unanswerable questions of a speaker about the death camps. IRVINE, Calif. — When Holocaust survivor and author Ruth Klüger addressed the German parliament in 2016, her remarks were stripped of rhetorician gesticulations or inflections. Her mother had lived long enough to develop a last love, with her great-granddaughter. That hadn't been clear to me until then. But I'm not so naïve to think that all Germans are obliging toward non-Germans. You do everything you can to pass the time. She said the Nazis' brutalities were part of Germany's common memory. “In many ways, Germans grappled with the Holocaust and their anti-Semitism, but I think she felt a lot of Germans hadn’t.”. Ruth Klüger is to speak in the German Bundestag. Both emigrated to the United States in 1947, where Klüger attended Hunter College in New York City before earning her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. I am now 84 years old, but back then, I had not lived through many winters: I had just turned 13. The winter of 1944/45 was the coldest of my life and was surely never forgotten by those who survived it in Europe. The dead are ashes scattered somewhere. There was a time when Kluger and her mother were in different concentration camps. (Klüger, 2001) They reunited at a concentration camp named Christianstadt in Poland. Both versions of her autobiography are comprised of four parts--Vienna, the camps (Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Christianstadt), Germany, New York--plus an epilogue. How does it feel for you to be here? Big plans were made — then the pandemic came. Recounting her experience there, she challenged readers to “rearrange a … But that's not the case for Holocaust survivors. That's exciting and I'm curious about experiencing that here. Glendale Becomes First CA City to Recognize History as Sundown Town, Girlfriends Launch Investment Group to Build Wealth in Black Community, Growing Diversity With the LA Orchestra Fellowship, The Lost History of Robert Stewart, LAPD’s First Black Cop, California Consumer Do Not Sell My Personal Information. You were only 11 years old when you were sent to Theresienstadt. Ruth Klüger is a writer and university professor. Only her mother stands out, a shrewd paranoid who persisted into her 90s, outlasting two more husbands. Her mother had lived long enough to develop a last love, with her great-granddaughter. Together with her mother, she survived three concentration camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Christianstadt. Ruth Kluger is the author of the new memoir, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (The Feminist Press). Privacy Policy | From my German-Jewish perspective, that is something new. Klüger and her mother ultimately survived by escaping from a death march. When the camp was invaded, everyone was forced to relocate. Today, Klüger resides in Irvine, California. By age eleven, she had been deported, along with her mother, to Theresienstadt, the first in a series of concentration camps which would become the setting for her precarious childhood. After the war Klüger studied in Regensburg and then in 1947 emigrated with her mother to the United States, where she graduated from Hunter College and went on to earn a Ph.D. in German from Berkeley. Did the literature and poetry that you loved so much help you at all in the camps? I take sleeping pills now even though I have a comfortable mattress. She arrived at UC Irvine in 1976, briefly leaving for Princeton from 1980-86, before her return to campus and her retirement in 1994. But a funeral draws a line. Her brother and father were murdered. They weren't even scattered by someone, they were thrown into a pit. My seven Hitler years were over. There were also illegal transports to Palestine. Originally from Vienna, Ruth Kluger spent a period of her childhood in Theresienstadt, the Nazi concentration camp located approximately 100 kilometers outside Prague, before being transported, like the majority of Theresienstadt’s inmates, to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 1947, she immigrated to the US and studied at the University of California, Berkeley. They were deported to Theresienstadt together, and from there later to Auschwitz. In May 1944, when Kluger was 12 years old, she and her mother were herded onto a cattle car for Auschwitz-Birkenau. The conductor talks with DW about life in amidst of the coronavirus. Ms. Klüger, you will be speaking in the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday in Berlin - the city from which the Nazis planned and ordered horrendous crimes against humanity. I am still getting used to that. They don't know any better. Ruth Kluger is one of the child-survivors of the Holocaust. Even if it knows it's experiencing something unusual, the child thinks, at least I'll be able to talk about it later. An ex-intelligence agent, le Carre knew his subject firsthand. Along with her mother, Dr. Kluger was sent in 1942 to Theresienstadt, a camp-ghetto located near Prague. God knows it was not like that two or three generations ago. Two years after that, she was deported alongside her mother to Theresienstadt, where they were held until being sent to Auschwitz. My mother lived until she was very old, and she died in Los Angeles. DW Digital tests the most popular apps. Download it here. But it's not a bad choice because Auschwitz was a particularly destructive camp. The ritual has its place. Ruth Klüger was born in Vienna in 1931. I am now 84 years old. By age eleven, she had been deported, along with her mother, to Theresienstadt, the first in a series of concentration camps which would become the setting for her precarious childhood. Surviving was not normal. “The gas chambers were working at full capacity,” she said in her speech all those years later. Klüger speaks to DW about Auschwitz, getting older and her speech in the German Bundestag. “The gas chambers were working at full capacity,” she said in her speech all those years later. | Mobile version, Bundestag (Germany's lower house of parliament). After spending some time in Bavaria, the two eventually emigrated to the United States where … She was 12-years-old, half-starved and convinced an SS officer she was 15, the cutoff for labor. Swept up as a child in the events of Nazi-era Europe, Ruth Kluger saw her family's comfortable Vienna existence systematically undermined and destroyed. Her hands remained clasped or folded, and her voice was even. Together with her mother, she survived three concentration camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Christianstadt. I think I was fleeing. Her father was a young doctor with a promising future, her mother "the daughter of a wealthy chemical engineer." And the joy was immense, but it took a few days to really sink in. By age eleven, she had been deported, along with her mother, to Theresienstadt, the first in a series of concentration camps which would become the setting for her precarious childhood. Kluger's story of her years in the camps and her struggle to establish a life after the war as a refugee survivor in New York, has emerged as one of the most powerful accounts of the Holocaust. That this used to be a fantastic country, not just concerning Jews, but also otherwise. “That was the main reason why I was so pleased to accept your invitation and take advantage of this opportunity to speak about the atrocities of the past here, in this setting, in your capital city – in a country where a very different kind of example is being set with the seemingly understated and yet heroic words: ‘We can do it.’”, Holocaust Survivor and noted author Ruth Klüger, dead at 88 (Photo Courtesy of UC Irvine). It was a time of horror during which Klüger survived hunger, forced labor, and the evils of Auschwitz. I see new generations that are trying to make amends. Speech by Ruth Klüger on 27 January 2016 in remembrance of the victims of National Socialism . I've been thinking lately about how inconceivable it would be for me to be yanked out of my apartment and sent away by hostile authorities. Swept up as a child in the events of Nazi-era Europe, Ruth Kluger saw her family's comfortable Vienna existence systematically undermined and destroyed. She grew up as the Nazis assumed power and overran Europe. She escaped with her mother in the closing months of the war, falling in among other German refugees. (25.01.2016). Check against delivery. © 2020 Deutsche Welle | Klüger, a professor emerita of German at UC Irvine, died October 5 at the age of 88. "Never again" is often an important part of commemoration. For me, the Hitler years were from the age of seven to 14, until 1945. On the other hand, I always ask myself how all those old women endured it back then. Death was normal. How important is it to commemorate those who were brutally murdered by the Nazis? By age eleven, she had been deported, along with her mother, to Theresienstadt, the first in a series of concentration camps which would become the setting for her precarious childhood. But it seems to be a majority, or at least a strong and willful part of society, that is in favor of opening the gates and accepting others. It was the last time she saw the young woman. Kluger and her mother were imprisoned at Theresienstadt concentration camp when she was 11 and later transferred to Auschwitz and then Gross-Rosen. That feeling has changed over the past 10 to 15 years. “I owe her my life,” Klüger told parliament. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been lobbying to welcome refugees, all along repeating the phrase “we can do it.”. I knew so little about anything else. Her memory and life’s story are preserved in the speech, and her internationally bestselling memoir, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered. She returned to Vienna in 2008 for the city’s festival One Book One City, for which 100,000 copies of a chosen volume is distributed. The war was over. Our new Spectrum News app is the most convenient way to get the stories that matter to you. Thanks to her mother's ingenuity and amazing luck, they were not gassed but managed to get transferred to a labour camp: it was her idea that 12-year-old Ruth should pretend she was 15 to be eligible. Could you understand at the time what was happening? Children take whatever they experience for granted. Not surprisingly, these severe losses had a profound impact on Klüger’s life and the ghosts of her brother and father frequently appear in her writings. As far as that goes, we are all abnormal. That was a kind of survival aid. It was January 27, Germany’s day of remembrance for the Holocaust victims of the country’s last great war. What is important for you to express in your speech in the Bundestag? The acclaimed memoir, translated into more than 12 languages, was lauded by the Washington Post as "a book of surpassing, and at times brutal honesty." Ms. Kluger wrote about her life from the time she was a little girl in Vienna through the horrors of WWII to life after the war. “Theresienstadt,” she writes in her autobiography, “was hunger and disease, a small military village of … Many had already been gassed and others were on death marches. 2020 is Beethoven’s anniversary year. Swept up as a child in the events of Nazi-era Europe, Ruth Kluger saw her family's comfortable Vienna existence systematically undermined and destroyed. I appreciated her insights into the Holocust museums that exist today along with her … Today, she is impressed that Germany is welcoming refugees. How can you even sleep? In September 1942 Ruth and her mother were forced to leave Vienna on one of the last transports to Theresienstadt, a ghetto in northwestern Czechoslovakia. SPIEGEL: How long did you and your mother stay in Vienna? I can say a few religious words about remembrance and find closure with a sense of contentedness. They would move to two other camps (including Auschwitz-Birkenau) before the war ended. When she went before parliament eight years later, she offered a snapshot of her life as an immigrant and refugee as the war in Syria displaced millions of people. It was in Joseph's interest that she remained sovereign, for he often blamed her for his failures and thus avoided taking on the responsibilities of a monarch. “More than 90 years between them,” Dr. Kluger wrote, “but whenever they were together, chatting and touching, they met in a present that miraculously stood still for them, time frozen in space made human. I know there are problems and large sections of the population that are resistant to taking a new attitude toward foreigners. Is that still the case? I thought that very often: I have something to tell. (25.01.2016), Speaking at the opening of a new exhibition, Chancellor Angela Merkel has emphasized the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Still Alive (2001) written by Ruth Klüger, is a memoir of her experiences growing up in Nazi-occupied Vienna and later in the concentration camps of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Christianstadt.However, as it's written by Klüger as a 70-year-old woman, the memoir goes beyond her experience as an inmate, chronicling her escape from Christianstadt's death march with her mother … If you've been to a real burial, you'll notice the difference. In your childhood memoirs, "Weiter leben" (Keep living), you describe yourself as one who frequently moves out of apartments and cities, as someone on the run. Contact (2001--her name Americanized "Ruth Kluger"),2 it had long been a literary sensation in Europe, reaping prestigious literature prizes and glowing commentaries from the hardest-to-please sources. You can find more information in our data protection declaration. It's not like millions of people were liberated there. 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