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The Seventh Cross
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About the Author

Anna Seghers (n e Netty Reiling; 1900-1983) was born in Mainz, Germany, into an upper-middle-class Jewish family. She was a sickly and introverted child by her own account, but became an intellectually curious student, eventually earning a doctorate in art history at the University of Heidelberg in 1924; her first story, written under the name Antje Seghers, was published in the same year. In 1925 she married a Hungarian immigrant economist and began her writing career in earnest. By 1929 Seghers had joined the Communist Party, given birth to her first child, and received the Kleist Prize for her first novel, The Revolt of the Fishermen. Having settled in France in 1933, Seghers was forced to flee again after the 1940 Nazi invasion. With the aid of Varian Fry, Seghers, her husband, and two children sailed from Marseille to Mexico on a ship that included among its passengers Victor Serge, Andr Breton, and Claude L vi-Strauss. After the war she moved to East Berlin, where she became an emblematic figure of East German letters, actively championing the work of younger writers from her position as president of the Writers Union and publishing at a steady pace. Among Seghers's internationally regarded works are Transit (1944, available as an NYRB Classic), the novella Excursion of the Dead Girls (1945), The Dead Stay Young (1949), and the story collection Benito's Blue (1973). Margot Bettauer Dembo has translated works by Judith Hermann, Robert Gernhardt, Joachim Fest, d n von Horv th, and Feridun Zaimoglu, among others. She was awarded the Goethe-Institut/Berlin Translator's Prize in 1994 and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize in 2003. Dembo has also worked as a translator for two feature documentary films: The Restless Conscience, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and The Burning Wall. Her translations of Transit by Anna Seghers and Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum are both published by NYRB Classics. Thomas Von Steinaecker was born in Germany in 1977. A novelist and journalist, he has also written extensively for radio and is the creator of several documentaries, including Richard Strauss and His Heroines. Two of his novels, Wallner beginnt zu Fliegen (2007) and Die Verteidigung des Paradieses (2016), have been nominated for the German Book Prize.

Reviews

"Not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event." -- Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin

"As a demonstration of what life under Nazism does to the mind and soul of many typical Germans, The Seventh Cross is a searching, brilliantly skillful job." --Orville Prescott, The New York Times

"Seghers taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision." --G nter Grass "A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight." --Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter "A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties while an escapee from an early concentration camp attempts to avoid recapture." --Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room

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