She was a German-Jewish poet who captured the life of ordinary people in her words.
Mascha Kaléko is being celebrated in the Google Doodle today, on the anniversary of her final reading in Berlin’s America Memorial Library in 1974.
Born in 1907 in Poland, Mascha moved with her family to Germany after World War One when they were forced to flee and eventually made their home in Germany.
A prolific writer, Mascha began penning poetry when she was still a teenager and shortly after her marriage to Hebrew teacher, Saul Aaron Kaléko, in 1928 she began publishing her work.
She expertly captured the lives of ordinary people in her writing and was soon a regular in Berlin’s fashionable cafe society, where she would sip drinks and look for inspiration.
Just a few years after her work first appeared in print, Mascha had firmly established herself among Germany’s literary avant garde and published her first book, Lyrisches Stenogrammheft , in 1933 .
It would not remain in print for long as its content was quickly censored by the rising power in Mascha’s adopted country – the Nazis.
Undeterred, she published her second collection of poetry, Das kleine Lesebuch für Grosse, just two years later.
By now, her first marriage had broken down and Mascha had tied the knot for a second time to conductor Chemjo Vinaver.
In 1938, as the rise of the Far Right in Germany became ever more apparent, the couple made the decision to relocate to the United States, eventually settling on Manhattan, New York, along with the baby son, Steven.
Despite her early success as a poet, Mascha was now the main breadwinner in the family and made money writing copy for adverts.
Chemjo had hoped to forge a successful career in the film industry but even though the whole family moved to Hollywood in a bid to make his dream a reality, it was not to be.
Mascha finally published her third volume of poetry, Verse für Zeitgenossen, in 1945, following the end of the war.
It was more than 10 years following the end of the Second World War that Mascha felt it was time for her to return to Berlin.
Three years later she won the Berlin Theodor Fontane Prize for her incredible literary work, but bravely turned it down because a former Nazi, Hans Egon Holthusen, was a member of the judging panel.
Holthusen was a poet and literary scholar who had been a member of the Nazi Party and had served in the German army during World War Two.
That same year, Mascha, along with her husband, moved to Israel. Chemjo was carrying out research into Hassidic singing and felt the working conditions were better in Israel.
Tragedy struck the family in 1968 when Mascha’s son, Steven, who had become a writer like his mother and worked in the theatre, died from pacreatitis while directing a play.
He was just 31.
Mascha herself passed away in 1975, aged, 67, in Zurich. She had been making her way home to Jerusalem following a visit to Berlin.