Elfriede Gerstl 1932_2009

Elfriede Gerstl (16 June 1932 – 9 April 2009) was an Austrian author and Holocaust-survivor. Gerstl, who was Jewish, was born in Vienna, where her father worked as a dentist.

She survived the war years by hiding in various locations with her mother – at one point she had to hide in a wardrobe – and thereby avoided being sent off to a concentration camp. After the war she started studying medicine and psychology at Vienna University, but ended her studies after the birth of her daughter. During the 1950s she became more and more involved in writing, and published her first work in the journal Neue Wege (New Ways) in 1955. Her first published book was Gesellschaftsspiele mit mir (Party games with me), a collection of poems and short prose that came out in 1962. In 1963 Gerstl moved to West-Berlin, where she received a scholarship from the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. While living in Berlin, in 1968–69, she wrote the novel Spielräume (Room to Manoeuvre), which was not published until 1977. She remained in Berlin until 1972, when she returned to Vienna.

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