Bertha Badt-Strauss

Bertha Badt-Strauss used her writing to create a broader range of possible identities for women in the cultural Zionist movement called the Jewish Renaissance. Badt-Strauss studied literature, languages, and philosophy before becoming one of the first women in Prussia to earn a doctoral degree. Despite a lifelong struggle with multiple sclerosis, Badt-Strauss was a prolific writer, publishing articles on literature and Zionism in a wide range of newspapers and journals; translating and editing the works of Heinrich Heine, Moses Mendelssohn, and others; contributing to the Encyclopedia Judaica and the Judisches Lexikon; and writing biographies of Jewish women and various works of fiction. Badt-Strauss felt frustrated by the limited images of women in the Jewish Renaissance, offering alternatives by portraying both real and fictional women across a broad spectrum of identities without judgment or prescription, aside from her belief in the importance of Zionism. While the rise of the Nazis forced Badt-Strauss and her husband to flee to the US, she continued her prolific writing career, publishing in many American-Jewish periodicals and writing a biography of the American Zionist Jesse Sampter.

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The life of writer Bertha Badt-Strauss spanned two centuries and two continents. Born in Breslau, Germany, in 1885, the religious Badt-Strauss, who promoted a return to Judaism as well as the cultural Zionist "Jewish Renaissance," lived the last thirty years of her life in the southern United States. She is shown here in Breslau, circa 1910.

Institution: Albrecht B. Strauss.

Date of Birth


Date of Death
Writer, Editor, Translator

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Bertha Badt-Strauss." (Viewed on August 10, 2020) <>.


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