Malka Lee’s lyrical Yiddish poems won over both critics and general American Jewish audiences, but it was her work dedicated to the family she lost in the Holocaust that had the most lasting impact. During WWI, Lee’s family fled from Galicia to Vienna, Austria. She immigrated to America in 1921, attending Hunter College and the Jewish Theological Seminary. While she had written earlier poems in German, once she came to America, Lee turned to Yiddish poems to express herself to the growing immigrant Jewish community. Her early poems and essays explored her memories of Europe and the shtetls of her early childhood, but after her family’s death in Monastrikh in 1941, she began writing about the Holocaust and the pain of knowing her community was being destroyed while she remained safe in America. Along with her six volumes of poetry and a children’s book, she published a memoir in 1955, Durkh Kindershe Oygn (Through the Eyes of Childhood). Her later works shifted to an exploration of Zionism. With her husband, Aaron Rappaport, she managed a Yiddish writers’ colony in High Falls, New York, where she befriended many of the great Yiddish writers and critics of her time.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Malka Lee." (Viewed on May 18, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/lee-malka>.