Rose Ausländer--Austrian/American

Rose Ausländer


Rose Ausländer was born in Czernowitz, Austria in 1901. She studied philosophy at university. She immigrated to the United States in 1923 with her soon to be husband, Ignaz Ausländer. Neither the marriage, nor her stay in the U.S. lasted long. By 1931, she was back in Czernowitz where she worked as a teacher and began her life as a writer. Der Regenbogen (The Rainbow), her first collection of poetry, was published in 1939. As the war loomed close, she returned to New York, but in a few short months was back in Austria. Shortly after her return the ghetto of Czernowitz was occupied by the Nazis and closed. After the war she moved back to New York for a number of years, but in the mid-sixties moved to Germany. Her most popular books of poetry are Blinder Sommer (Blind Summer), Ohne Visum (Without Papers) and Andere Zeichen (Other Signs). She died in Düsseldorf in 1988.  


There is still so much to say

I do not forget
my paternal house
the voice of my mother
the first kiss
mountains of Bukovina
the escape during the First World War
the invasion of the Nazis
tremors of fear in the cellars
the doctor who saved our lives
soft-bitter America
Hölderlin Trakl Celan
my torments put into writing
the constraint to write is always


Motherland (an excerpt)
My Fatherland is dead.
They buried it
In fire
I live
In my Motherland—
Translated by Eavan Boland



My Key
My key
has lost its house.
I go from house to house
but none fits.
I have found
the locksmith.
My key fits
into his grave.
Translated by Eavan Boland
When the table is fragrant with bread
strawberries and with crystal wine
turn your mind to the chamber of smoke—
            that smoke without a shape—
            the garments of the ghetto
            not yet stripped away—
And we sit around the fragrant table
Amazed that we are sitting here.


At the End of Time
When the war is over
when time has come to an end
we’ll walk again
down an alley of mussel shells
and feel our oneness
with this man
and that man.
It will be wonderful
if and when that happens
when time has come to an end.
Translated by Eavan Boland