Through her scholarship and her memoir about her experiences in the Holocaust, Ruth Klüger challenged popular assumptions about history, memory, and the role of women in society. Klüger was six when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938 and eleven when she was sent to Theresienstadt, then Auschwitz and Christianstadt. Klüger and her mother escaped a death march at the end of the war and settled briefly in Bavaria before moving to the US in 1947. Klüger graduated from Hunter College in 1951, raised two children, and worked briefly as a librarian before earning her PhD in German literature from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught at UC Irvine from 1976–1980, then taught at Princeton for six years before returning to UC Irvine, where she taught until her retirement in 1994. She focused her studies on portrayals of women in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature. However, it was her 1992 autobiography, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered that caused the most uproar in both academic and popular circles for her vivid account and her criticism of how the Holocaust is framed as a historical event by both Germans and Americans.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Klüger." (Viewed on April 17, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/kl-ger-ruth>.