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16 September 2020 02:36

Mascha Kaléko

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the life and work of German-Jewish poet Mascha Kaléko who rose to prominence in the mid-1930s. Mascha Kaléko was actually born Golda Malka Aufen in 1907 in Schidlow, Galicia, which is now southern Poland. Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, Kaléko and her family fled the country to Germany. The Kaléko family eventually settled and made a new home in Berlin in 1918. As a teenager, the young Mascha started writing poetry.

Within several years, she was becoming a local celebrity thanks to Berlin newspapers publishing her early works. In her poem "Das Bißchen Ruhm" ("A Little Bit of Glory," 2003), Mascha Kaléko wrote of her rise to fame, metaphorically suggesting that fame is like a plant that needs daily care — and this concept is reflected in today's Doodle. Her poetry captured the distinct and unique atmosphere of Berlin during the 1930s. She attained fame and frequented places like the "Romanisches Café" where the literary world would congregate and meet — including Else Lasker-Schüler and Erich Kästner. In January 1933, her first poetry book was published, entitled Lyrisches Stenogrammheft, which was soon subjected to Nazi censorship. Two years later, her second book Das kleine Lesebuch für Grosse hit the presses. On this day, September 16, 1974, Mascha Kaléko held her final in-person reading at Berlin's America Memorial Library. Google has teamed up with Hamburg-based Ramona Ring to produce the flower-laden imagery. She proved to be a fan of Kaléko's work already: I read many of her poems, and what I found compelling amongst other things was her metaphor for fame in "Das Bißchen Ruhm": flowers in a greenhouse that you have to keep watering and tending. I also liked how she talked about leaning against rain clouds in "Die frühen Jahre": the clouds were a metaphor for the hardship she had to endure already as a young child. Those are the elements I drew from her poetry that inspired the Doodle artwork. If you visit the Google homepage today in the UK, Germany, and parts of South America, you will see a very fitting tribute to Mascha Kaléko. Various attempts have been made to translate individual poems into English. But, finally, in March 2010, for the first time, a representative number of Kaléko's poems appeared with full English translations in the book "'No matter where I travel, I come to Nowhereland' – The poetry of Mascha Kaléko." This book contains selected poems from just about every phase of the poet's life. With the translations following the original German texts as closely as humanly possible in order to maintain Kaléko's unique style. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news: TODAY'S Google Doodle is honouring the life of the German-Jewish poet Mascha Kaléko. An incisive and acclaimed poet, Kaléko held her final reading at the America Memorial Library in Berlin on this day in 1974. Who was Mascha Kaléko? Mascha Kaléko was born on 1907 in Schidlow, Galicia in what is today southern Poland but what was then part of the Austrian Empire. Born Golda Malka Aufen, the outbreak of World War War meant she and her family were forced to flee Galicia and make a new home in Germany, eventually settling in Berlin in 1918. She started to write poetry as a teenager and her prodigious talent as a writer soon shone through. In just a few years she started to achieve a level of fame and celebrity thanks to the newspapers which were publishing her work throughout Berlin. Her poetry, chronicling the daily life of normal people, captured the public's attention and she began to frequent cafes and spots where other famous literary figures would meet. 2 Kaléko was known for her poetry Credit: Getty Images - Getty By the early 1930s she was an established figure among the German capital's literary avant-garde. She could often be found deep in conversation at the Romanische Café, the iconic bohemian hub frequented by notable contemporaries like Else Lasker-Schüler and Erich Kästner. Her first book "Das Lyrische Stenogrammheft" ("The Lyrical Shorthand Pad") was published in 1933 and this was followed two years later by "Kleine Lesebuch für Große" ("The Little Reader for Grown-Ups"). Her work won plaudits for wittily capturing the essence of daily urban life during the twilight of the Weimar Republic, and satirical verses explored weighty themes like social injustice and exile. In 1938 she left Europe for America with her second husband and young son After living in a number of places across the USA, the family eventually settled in Greenwich Village, New York by 1942. After nearly two decades spent in the United States, in 1959 Kaléko settled in Israel and continued to write poetry for the rest of her life. Her incisive poems and chansons earned her notable acclaim among Berlin's avant-garde throughout the 1930s. In her poem "Das Bißchen Ruhm" ("A Little Bit of Glory," 2003) she metaphorically wrote of her fame as plants that must be maintained with daily care, a concept reflected in the illustration of today's Doodle. What is a Google Doodle? In 1998, Google founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second 'o' of Google to show they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born. The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage. Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days. In 2020 so far they've had Doodles celebrating Scottish astrophysicist genius Mary Somerville and Aids activist Nkosi Johnson, who died aged 12.