Born in Berlin on October 14, 1899, Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss was by training and profession an orthopedic specialist. She wrote poetry from an early age, an interest that was to lead to the publication of her first volume of verse, Gesicht und Maske, in 1929 and to a correspondence with Rainer Maria Rilke, which was published in Briefe aus Muzot in 1935 .
Blumenthal-Weiss was subjected to the horrors of the concentration camp having lost her son to Mauthausen and her husband to Auschwitz. Survivors of Westerbork and Theresienstadt, Blumenthal-Weiss and her surviving daughter immigrated to the United States in 1947. Three volumes of her verse were published in the Federal Republic of Germany: Das Schlüsselwunder: Gedichte in 1954, Mahnmal in 1960, and Ohnesarg: Gedichte Und Ein Dokumentarischer Bericht in 1984. Often writing about the Holocaust and the pain of loss, Blumenthal-Weiss’s poetic legacy has made a significant contribution to women’s studies and exile literature. She died in 1987 in Connecticut after many active years as a highly respected scholar and poet in the German intellectual community of New York City.
From the guide to the Ilse Blumenthal-Weiss Collection, 1935-1989, bulk 1942-1978, (Leo Baeck Institute)