Ruth Maier
Ruth Maier was an Austrian woman whose diaries describing her experiences of the Holocaust in Austria and Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 were published in 2007 to generally favorable reviews, leading her to be described as "Norway's Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...


Ruth Maier was born in Vienna to a largely assimilated Jewish family. Her father, Ludwig Maier, held a doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 in philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, was a polyglot
Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of...

 (mastering nine languages), and held a senior position within the Austrian post and telegraph service. He died in 1933 of erysipelas
Erysipelas is an acute streptococcus bacterial infection of the deep epidermis with lymphatic spread.-Risk factors:...

. Her first cousin, who survived the war, was the philosopher Stephan Körner
Stephan Körner
Stephan Körner, FBA was a British philosopher, who specialised in the work of Kant, the study of concepts, and in the philosophy of mathematics...

Most of Ruth's diary is preserved from 1933 to 1942. She wrote in her diary about the deteriorating conditions for Austria's Jewish population following the Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 in 1938, her reaction to the many changes in her life, and her yearning for her family. Her younger sister Judith managed to escape to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Through her father's contacts, Ruth was able to find refuge in Norway, where she arrived by train on January 30, 1939. She was housed for some time with a Norwegian family. She became fluent in Norwegian within a year, completed her examen artium
Examen artium
Examen artium was the name of the academic certification conferred in Denmark and Norway, qualifying the student for admission to university studies. Examen artium was originally introduced as the entrance exam of the University of Copenhagen in 1630...

, and befriended the future poet Gunvor Hofmo
Gunvor Hofmo
Gunvor Hofmo was a Norwegian writer, often considered one of Norway's most influential modernist poets.-Literary career:...

 at a volunteer work camp in Biri
Biri, Norway
Biri is a village in the municipality of GjøvikOppland county, Norway. It was formerly classified as a municipality.The parish of Biri was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . On 1 January 1910, the district Snertingdal was divided from Biri to form a municipality of its own,...

. The two became inseparable, finding lodging and work in various places in Norway. Ruth was also the model for one of Gustav Vigeland
Gustav Vigeland
Gustav Vigeland was a Norwegian sculptor. Gustav Vigeland occupies a special position among Norwegian sculptors, both in the power of his creative imagination and in his productivity. He is most associated with Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo...

's statues called "Surprised," now on permanent display at the Vigeland Park in Oslo. Additionally Ruth was a model for Norwegian painter Åsmund Esval
Åsmund Esval
Åsmund Esval was a Norwegian painter.From 1909 to 1919, Esval was educated at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry. Esval trained at the Académie de l'Art Moderne in Paris under Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy from 1919 to 1921...


She rented a room in Dalbergstien 3 in Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 in the early fall of 1942 and was arrested on November 26, 1942 and deported
Jewish deportees from Norway during World War II
During the Nazi occupation of Norway, German authorities deported about 768 individuals of Jewish background to concentration camps outside of Norway. 28 of these survived World War Two.-Deportation:The deportation schedule for the major transports was:...

 on the SS Donau
SS Donau
SS Donau was a Norddeutscher Lloyd refrigerated cargo ship. In the Second World War the Kriegsmarine used it as a transport ship between Germany and Norway. She became known as the "slave ship" after the SS and Gestapo transported 540 Jews from Norway to Stettin, from where they were taken by...

 the same day. Arriving in Auschwitz on December 1, 1942, she was led straight into the gas chambers. She lived to be 22.

Her close friend and "twin soul" Gunvor Hofmo kept Ruth's diaries and much of her correspondence. She approached Gyldendal
Gyldendal Norsk Forlag
Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, commonly referred to as Gyldendal, is one of the largest Norwegian publishing houses .-Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS:Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS was founded in 1925...

 to get them published in 1953, but was turned down. After she died in 1995, Jan Erik Vold
Jan Erik Vold
Jan Erik Vold is a Norwegian lyric poet, translator and author. He was a core member of the so-called "Profil generation", the circle attached to the literary magazine Profil. Throughout his career as an artist, he has had the ability to reach the public, both with his poetry and his political views...

 went through her papers and came upon Ruth Maier's works. After editing them for ten years, they were published in 2007. Vold was highly impressed by the literary value of the diaries, comparing Ruth Maier's literary talent to that of Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

 and Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag was an American author, literary theorist, feminist and political activist whose works include On Photography and Against Interpretation.-Life:...

. The book was translated into English by Jamie Bulloch in 2009.
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