Kluger, Ruth 1931-
KLUGER, Ruth 1931-
PERSONAL: Born October 31, 1931 in Vienna, Austria; immigrated to United States, 1947; naturalized, 1952; married Werner T. Angress, March, 1952 (divorced); children: Percy, Dan. Education: Attended Hunter College; University of California—Berkeley, Ph.D. Religion: Jewish.
CAREER: Educator. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, professor and chair of German department; University of California—Irvine, professor of German, then emeritus.
AWARDS, HONORS: Thomas Mann prize; Prix Mémoirés de las Shoah, Fondation du Judaism Français.
Weiter leben: eine jugend, Wallstein (Germany), 1992, translated as Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, Feminist Press (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Ruth Kluger was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1931, and grew up as the Nazis assumed power and overran Europe. Her father was a physician and the family lived comfortably, but this life was shattered when she was eleven, as she and her mother were deported to the forced Jewish settlement at Theresienstadt, and then to the notorious death camps at Auschwitz-Berkenau and Christianstadt. At Christianstadt Kluger was made to work, theoretically helping the German war effort, although as she noted, she was so young and so weak that her contribution was essentially worthless.
Her father and her beloved half-brother were killed in the camps, but Kluger and her mother escaped from Christianstadt, survived bombings by American fighter planes, and in 1947 managed to leave Europe, spending two weeks in steerage on the ship Ernie Pyle before docking in New York City. She was sixteen years old.
Kluger wrote about her experiences in Still Alive: A Holocaust Childhood Remembered. In Bookweb, a reviewer called the book "provocative, wry, eloquent, and wholly unsentimental." Jonathan Yardley wrote in the Washington Post Book World that Kluger, who calls herself "antiauthoritarian, skeptical, and inclined to question and contradict," views her journey through the Holocaust "with a clinical clarity that at times takes the breath away."
After immigrating to the United States in 1947, Kluger earned a degree at Hunter College in New York City before earning a Ph.D. and the University of California—Berkeley. She became the first woman to chair the German department at Princeton University. She taught at University of California—Irvine for many years, and is now retired.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2001, review of Still Alive, p. 297.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of Still Alive, p. 1468.
Library Journal, October 1, 2001, Amy Strong, review of Still Alive, p. 114.
New York Times Book Review, December 9, 2001, Lore Dickstein, review of Still Alive, p. G26.
Washington Post Book World, December 9, 2001, Jonathan Yardley, review of Still Alive, p. 1.
World Literature Today, summer, 1993, Ursula Mahlendorf, review of Weiter Leben, p. 607.
Bookweb,http://www.bookweb.org/ (December 6, 2001), interview with Kluger.*