Today in Yiddishkayt… February 6
Yortsayt of Mira Lobe, Children’s Author
Today is the yortsayt of the prolific Austrian children’s author Mira Lobe. Mira Lobe was born Hilda Mirjam Rosenthal on September 17, 1913 in Görlitz, then in the Province of Silesia in the Kingdom of Prussia. She grew up in a Jewish, middle-class family and began writing stories as a young girl.
After her father’s death when she was 14 years old, her mother moved the family to Friedeberg am Queis (today Mirsk, Poland) and Mira, as she was called, went to live in Rabenberg where she attended high school and was active in the Social Democratic youth orgranization. She went to university in Berlin where she studied journalism. After the Nazi ban on Jews in higher education, Rosenthal was forced to leave the university. She joined a Zionist youth movement, began studying Hebrew, and prepared to emigrate to Palestine by studying textile design and fabrication at a Berlin fashion technical school.
She settled in Tel Aviv in 1936 and worked over the next few years as a bookbinder, cleaning woman, and seamstress. In 1940 she married the actor and director Friedrich Lobe (originally Löbenstein). Three years later, pregnant with her daughter Claudia, she began to write at night when she returned from her job, and published her first successful children’s book in Hebrew translation, עוגה עוגה עוגה (Cake, Cake, Cake).
Three years later after the birth of her second child, Lobe moved with her family to Vienna, where her husband was hired by the Theater in der Scala, which was created by leftist artists returning to Europe from exile, and she continued to devote herself to writing. The theater was shut down in 1957 and relocated to East Berlin, where the family moved temporarily before returning to Vienna the following year. Shortly after their return, Friedrich Lobe died. That same year, Lobe received the Austrian Children’s Book Award for Titi in the Jungle. She wrote tirelessly and prolifically for the next two decades.
Here’s a clip featuring the story of The Little I-Am-Me, about a little, brightly colored creature that doesn’t know just what it is. After inquiring of a whole menagerie of animals about its identity, the creature at least discovers: “I am me!.”
In 1980, Lobe won the Austrian Prize for Children’s Literature for her body of work. She died in Vienna on February 6, 1995.