by Gertrud KolmarGertrud Käthe Chodziesner, known by the literary pseudonym Gertrud Kolmar, was a German lyric poet and writer. She was born in Berlin and died, after her arrest and deportation as a Jew, in Auschwitz, a victim of the Nazi Final Solution. Though she was a cousin of Walter Benjamin, little is known of her life. She is considered one of the finest poets in the German language.
Post-war critics have accorded Kolmar a very high place in literature. Jacob Picard, in his epilogue to Gertrud Kolmar: Das Lyrische Werk described her both as 'one of the most important woman poets' in the whole of German literature, and 'the greatest lyrical poetess of Jewish descent who has ever lived'.
Michael Hamburger withheld judgement on the latter affirmation on the grounds he was not sufficiently competent to judge, but agreed with Picard's high estimation of her as a master poet in the German lyrical canon.
Patrick Bridgwater, citing the great range of her imagery and verse forms, and the passionate integrity which runs through her work, likewise writes that she was 'one of the great poets of her time, and perhaps the greatest woman poet ever to have written in German.
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