Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus (* 22. July 1849 in New York town center, † 19. November 1887 ebenda) was a Jewish American Dichterin. It is particularly for the 1883 written poem The new Colossus well-known, which is engraved on the landing of the New Yorker liberty statue.


Emma Lazarus was fourth of altogether seven children of Esther and Moses Lazarus, which were sephardische Jews. It was informed by private teachers, among other things in American and European literature, German, French and Italian. Supported by their father, it began to already write in recent years poems.

Their poems excited the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which was a prominent American poet and essayist at that time, and with that she up to its death in the year 1882 corresponded.

Beside own poems Emma Lazarus Nachdichtungen of Italian and German poems wrote, in particular from Goethe and Heine. By the reading of George Eliot novel Daniel Deronda their interest in the Jewish Zeitgeschehen was aroused. The Russian Pogrome of the early 1880er years strengthened their interest. Thus Emma Lazarus began in its most productive time to translate works of Jewish poets. In addition it argued in essays with Jewish topics.

Emma Lazarus traveled twice to Europe, 1883 and in May 1885, after the death of its father in March. From the second journey it returned seriously ill in September 1887 to New York. Two months later she deceased, probably at cancer.

The first comprehensive Lazarus Biografie wrote Heinrich Eduard Jacob. The idea in addition came it in the summer 1939, as it in the Londoner “Bloombury House”, it was a meeting place before Hitler of the fleeing, the English painter William B. Parnes became acquainted with. It drew the attention of to the verses in the liberty statue new Yorks and their author to Jacob. In an interview for the German-language radio WEVD, New York, said Jacob to 20. August 1949 to his interlocutor Peter M. Lindt: “Parnes had become acquainted with it in London and had geschwärmt as a young man for it. It was 18, them 35. It showed me its diaries from this time [...] and on this occasion said it to me that I had to write once a book concerning this woman. And I meet its desire now to their 100. Birthday. “To 23. June 1949 held the politician Jacob K. Javits (1904-1986) from New York before the house of representatives of the United States a speech over Heinrich Eduard Jacob and its work “The World OF Emma Lazarus”.


  • Heinrich Eduard Jacob: The World OF Emma Lazarus, New York: Shock Books 1949.
  • Susanne Weyand: Literary culture transfer - the Germany/USA - by women around 1900: by the example by Edith Wharton, Emma Lazarus and Amalie of end (with documentation section), Berlin: Logos publishing house 2004, ISBN 3-8325-0626-8.

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| | * Literature of and over Emma Lazarus in the catalog of the DDB



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