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Lazarus, Nahida Ruth


LAZARUS, NAHIDA RUTH (née Sturmhoefel ; 1849–1928), German playwright, novelist, and journalist, of Christian descent. Her first husband was the critic Max Remy, who died in 1881. She had been drawn to Judaism from her youth and some years after Remy's death she was converted to Judaism. In 1895 she became the second wife of the philosopher Moritz *Lazarus. The many novels and short stories which she published in the last decades of the 19th century were soon forgotten, and she is mainly remembered for her later writings on Jewish topics. These include Das Gebet in Bibel und Talmud (1892), Kulturstudien ueber das Judentum (1893), Humanitaet im Judentum (1894), and the autobiographical Ich suchte Dich (1898). Conceived in the spirit of contemporary Liberal Judaism, and written in a popular sentimental style, Nahida Lazarus' books enjoyed considerable success in their time. Das juedische Weib (1890; The Jewish Wife, 1895), written while she was still a Christian and with a preface by her future husband, was republished in a fourth edition in 1922 and was translated into English and Hebrew. There is historical value in her edition of Moritz Lazarus' memoirs (1906).

add. bibliography:

S. Pataky, Lexikon deutscher Frauen der Feder (1898), s.v.; Wininger, Biog, s.v.; K. Gerstenberger, "Nahida Ruth Lazarus's 'Ich suchte Dich!': a Female Autobiography from the Turn of the Century," in: Monatshefte fuer deutschsprachige Literatur und Kultur, 86 (1994), N.4, 525–542; idem, Writing Herself into the Center: Centrality and Marginality in the Autobiographical Writings of Nahida Lazarus, Adelheid Popp, and Unica Zürn (1993); idem, Truth to Tell: German Women's Autobiographies and Turn-of-the-Century Culture (2000).

[David Baumgardt]

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