Elisabeth Freundlich, * July 21, 1906 Vienna, † January 25, 2001 Vienna, writer, journalist.



Elisabeth Freundlich was born into an upper-middle-class Jewish family. Her father was the lawyer Jacques (Jakob) Freundlich, a co-founder and later president of the Arbeiter-Zentralbank. While studying German, Romance languages and literature, theater studies and art history at the University of Vienna, she worked as a dramaturge and director for the Neue Wiener Schauspielhaus, using the pseudonym Elisabeth Lanzer - Lanzer was her mother Olga's maiden name. In 1931 Elisabeth Freundlich received her doctorate with the dissertation "Clemens Brentano and the Stage".


In 1932/1933 she worked for the magazine "Die Wiener Weltbühne". At that time she also wrote her first - lost - novel. She repeatedly traveled to Paris, where she attended courses at the Sorbonne and later became involved in aid committees for the Spanish Republic.


In March 1938, she and her parents managed to escape via Zurich to Paris, where she became secretary of the association of Austrian writers and artists that she had co-founded, the "League for Intellectual Austria". She also worked as a journalist for magazines and the German-language program of French radio.


In 1940, Elisabeth Freundlich finally made it to the USA via southern France and Spain. Here she trained as a librarian at Columbia University and taught German at various universities. From 1941 she worked as a clerk at the Metropolitan Museum. In addition, she edited the literary supplement of the magazine "Austro American Tribune," for which she was able to attract contributors such as Hermann Broch, Albert Ehrenstein, Ernst Lothar, Alfred Polgar and Berthold Viertel.


In 1945 Elisabeth Freundlich married the writer and philosopher Günther Anders (actually Günther Siegmund Stern). The marriage lasted until 1955, and the two returned to Austria in 1950. Elisabeth Freundlich worked as a writer and translator, from 1953 to 1978 she was a cultural correspondent for the daily newspaper "Mannheimer Morgen", but also reported on Nazi trials in other journals such as "Die Gemeinde", the "Frankfurter Heften" or in the "Yearbook of the Institute for German History at the University of Tel-Aviv" and created (school radio) broadcasts for the ORF.


The breakthrough as a writer came late to the now 80-year-old. Her novel "Der Seelenvogel" ("The Soul Bird"), which was written while she was still in exile and tells the story of a Jewish family in Lueger-era Vienna, was still rejected by publishers after the war and did not appear until 1986. It was received with approval by the media and the public. The volumes published in the same year, "Die Ermordung einer Stadt namens Stanislau" (The Murder of a Town Called Stanislau) and "Finstere Zeiten" (Dark Times), which combines four stories written between 1944 and 1966, are also set against a contemporary historical background. For example, in the story "Statt einer Ehrensalve" ("Instead of a Volley of Honor"), the author describes the resentment with which many returning from exile were confronted in liberated Austria. In 1992, Elisabeth Freundlich published her memoirs under the title "Die fahrenden Jahre.