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.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Bertha Badt-Strauss." (Viewed on January 19, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/badt-strauss-bertha>.