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Karen Gershon


         Listen to readings of the poems of Karen Gershon

Karen Gershon was a pioneer writer in English on the German-Jewish experience.

Karen Gershon was born Kaethe Loewenthal in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1923. At the age of fifteen she came to England on a kindertransport (children’s transport) – knowing more Hebrew than English – supposedly on her way to what was then Palestine. The war forced her to remain in  England, where she married a non-Jewish Englishman, and didn’t complete her journey to Israel until 1966. Her parents were killed in the Holocaust, the subject of many of her first poems. After six years living in Israel, she and her husband Val Tripp settled in Cornwall.

Selected Poems and We Came as Children – a collective autobiography of refugees were both published by Gollancz in 1966, when the Holocaust was still a taboo subject for many. By the time of her death in 1993 Karen had published six poetry collections, three non-fiction volumes and three novels.

The Northwestern University Press have recently published her autobiography "A Tempered Wind".
My book “Fragments”, published in 2009 by Yad Vashem is based on her life story.

The play, "Karen's Way" about Karen Gershon's life, was a highlight at the Edinburgh Festival.

The Bielefeld Tile House was built by Karen's father (Naomi's grandfather) architect Paul Loewenthal -
Click to see photos and information relating to the "William Harms' House" building and poems by Karen Gershon -



Books make a difference in people's lives

even those by the unremembered dead;

words are the angels nesting in the mind;

in that sense something of me may survive

and centuries from now someone may find

my words as fledgling angels in his head.

from Grace Notes, copyright estate of Karen Gershon - do not reproduce without written permission.



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