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Press Information published by the International Auschwitz Committee


Chicago honours Gertrud Kolmar, the German-Jewish poet who was murdered in Auschwitz

Kolmar Park, 4143 N. Kolmar Ave. in Old Irving Park Image: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

Kolmar Park, 4143 N. Kolmar Ave. in Old Irving Park Image: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago




It’s a lovely story: For many years, tucked away in the northwest of Chicago, there has been a rather inconspicuous park called Kolmar Park. It is named after the city of Colmar in Alsace, France, near the border with Germany.

One and a half years ago some local residents from that neighbourhood came across the works and the life story of the German-Jewish poet and writer Gertrud Kolmar, whose real name was Getrud Chodziesner. She was born in 1894 in Berlin, and in March 1943, after deportation to Auschwitz, she was immediately murdered on arrival in the death camp.

Getrud Kolmar was little known during her lifetime, but today she is seen as one of the most important poets in the German language. Consequently, residents in the neighbourhood decided to launch an international petition to officially dedicate ‘their’ park to Getrud Kolmar. The petition was supported by surviving members of her family and the International Auschwitz Committee. The official re-dedication of the park took place just a few days ago.

In Berlin, Christoph Heubner, Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee said: “I have a thousand dreams. / Can you hear me?” Getrud Kolmar says in one of her poems. The fact that, after so many decades, people in America have heard the voice of Gertrud Kolmar and carried it throughout the world is a wonderful and comforting story, especially in these times. And it is a moving and lasting sign against forgetting. May Kolmar Park in Chicago give people pleasure and let them talk about this particular human being, whose name was Getrud Kolmar and who wrote such beautiful, clear-sighted poems before she was murdered in Auschwitz.”


For further Information

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President
International Auschwitz Committee
Phone ++ 49 (0)30 26 39 26 81