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Seghers, Anna

SEGHERS, ANNA

SEGHERS, ANNA (pseudonym of Netty Radvanyi , née Reiling ; 1900–1983), German novelist. Born in Mainz, she joined the German Communist Party in 1929. In 1933 she fled to Paris and visited Republican Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. In 1941 she moved to Mexico City, but in 1947 returned to Germany, settling in East Berlin. The novels of Anna Seghers combine a highly poetic form with a strong socialist element, describing the living conditions of the lower classes in many countries – fisherman, peasants, and miners. A convinced Communist and an outspoken anti-Fascist, she was active in the fight against Nazism. Her prizewinning first novel, Der Aufstand der Fischer von Santa Barbara (1928), was followed by Die Gefaehrten (1932); Der Weg dutch den Februar (1935), which deals with the uprising of the Viennese workers in 1934; and Die Rettung (1937). Das siebte Kreuz (1941), written in her Mexican exile, which became a best seller in America as The Seventh Cross (1942), was an expression of her faith in the innate decency of human beings. Other works by Anna Seghers were Transit (1941; Eng. trans. Transit Visa, 1945); Die Toten bleiben jung (1949); and Die Entscheidung (1959), hailed in East Germany as a masterpiece of Socialist Realism. She received many awards after World War ii, including the International Lenin Peace Prize of the U.S.S.R. (1951). Her later works include Ueber Tolstoi-Ueber Dostojewski (1963); Die Kraft der Schwachen (1965); Das wirkliche Blau (1967), and Das Vertrauen (1968).

bibliography:

R.C. Andrews, in: German Life and Letters, 8 (1954/55), 121–9; F. Lennartz, Deutsche Dichter und Schriftsteller unserer Zeit (19598), 713–6; Anna Seghers, Briefe ihrer Freunde (1960).

[Rudolf Kayser]

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