Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the life and work of the German-Jewish poet Mascha Kaléko – so who is she?

Google is known for celebrating events and holidays, as well as honouring different people through its fun and colourful doodles.

In the case of Mascha Kaléko, artist Ramona Ring has illustrated her around flowers which is a reference to metaphors used in Mascha’s poem ‘Das Bißchen Ruhm’ (‘A Little Bit of Glory’).

On September 16th in 1974, Mascha had her final reading at the America Memorial Library in Berlin.

So, let’s take a look at the life, work and achievements of Mascha.

Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images

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Who is Mascha Kaléko?

In 1907, Mascha was born as Golda Malka Aufen in Schidlow, Galicia which is now southern Poland.

During the World War I, she and her family fled Galicia and settled down in Berlin in 1922.

In 1928, she married the Hebrew teacher Saul Aaron Kaléko. In 1938, she emigrated to the United States with her second husband, the composer Chemjo Vinaver, and their one-year-old son Steven.

Mascha returned to Berlin in 1956 and in 1959 she and her husband moved to Jerusalem, Israel where she wrote poetry until her death in 1975.

Mascha Kaléko: Work

After moving to Berlin, Mascha started writing poetry as a teenager and soon made a name for herself within the city.

From 1929 onwards, her poems were published in Berlin newspapers such as ‘Vossische Zeitung’ and ‘Berliner Tageblatt’ where Mascha wrote about the daily lives of people.

By the 1930s, she was already an established poet in Berlin and she was often seen in places like the ‘Romanisches Café’, a literary hub visited by German authors Erich Kästner and Kurt Tucholsky.

In 1933, Mascha published her first book with poetry called ‘Das Lyrische Stenogrammheft’.

Mascha Kaléko: Legacy

In 2010, Mascha’s poems were translated to English for the first time.

Author Andreas Nolte translated selected poems of the German-Jewish poet which is available in paperback on Amazon.

The book provides several translated poems and biographical information from Mascha’s life in Berlin, New York, and Jerusalem.

Mascha is remembered in Berlin with a memorial plaque at her former residence. A street and park were also named after her in the city.

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