German Writer

Anna Seghers

Anna Seghers is the pen-name of German author Netty Reiling, born November 19, 1900 in Mainz.

Raised in a comfortable German-Jewish home, Reiling studied art history and wrote her doctoral dissertation on “Jews and Judaism in the Work of Rembrandt” in 1924.

A member of the Communist Party and an outspoken anti-fascist, her earliest work deals with the plight of the oppressed. She fled to Paris in 1933 and then to Mexico City. She returned to East Berlin after the war and continued to write and win honors. She died in Berlin June 1, 1983.

Released in 1944, the Hollywood film adaptation of Segher’s bestselling novel The Seventh Cross was directed by Fred Zinnemann and starred Spencer Tracy. Appearing on screens in the midst of war, it was one of the first films to ever mention the existence of Nazi concentration camps.