Masha Kaléko was born on June 7th, 1907 as the daughter of a Russian and an Austrian mother. The place of her birth at the time was on the edge of the former Danube Monarchy and is Poland today. She always sought to deny her Galician origin. With seven years after the outbreak of World War I, she and her family fled to Frankfurt on the Main. She then spent her childhood in Marburg and later in Berlin.
In Berlin, she belonged to the creative bohemian society. She met with Tucholsky, Ringelnatz and Erich Kästner in the "Romanisches Cafe". They all dreamed of a better life. Masha undergoes secretaries training for the Jewish community and attended evening classes in philosophy and psychology at the Humboldt University. From 1930 on, she then regularly published poems in the "Vossische Zeitung", the "Berliner Tageblatt" and the "Welt am Montag".
In addition to writing poems, Kaléko also dedicated herself to the lyrics of songs and chansons, which were then even sung by Claire Waldoff and Rosa Valetti on the radio and in cabarets. In 1933, her first book "The lyrical Transcript Bulletin" was published appearing under the Rohwohlt-Verlag. The book became a bestseller. Moreover, her second book "Kleines Lesebuch für Große" was in demand. However, in 1935, the so-called Reichsschrifttumskammer then expelled and banned the young Jewish writer. In 1938, Kaléko then went into exile to New York. Her second husband Chemjo Vinavar and her son Steven were at her side. In New York, she published "Verse für Zeitgenossen" - one of the few books of poetry, which were published in the US in German those days.
After two trips to Europe in the 50s, the family moved to Jerusalem in 1960. Here, however, Masha Kaléko was never at home. Her son Steven died unexpectedly with only 31 years. From this, the parents never recovered. Kaléko and her husband came increasingly isolated. After also Chemjo died in 1973, Masha Kaléko became very ill. She finally died of stomach cancer during a trip through Europe in Zurich.
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