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Clara Asscher-Pinkhof (1896–1984)

Author of Star Children

Includes the names: Clara Pinkhof, Asscher-Pinkhof, C. Asscher-Pinkhof, Clara Asscher-Pinkof, Clara Asscher-Pinkhof

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Clara Asscher-Pinkhof was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in Amsterdam. Her father was a doctor. Clara started writing stories and poems in childhood. After graduating from college, she worked for a year as a schoolteacher in the remote provincial village of Deil. In 1919, she married Rabbi Abraham Asscher and moved with him to Groningen, north of Amsterdam, where they had six children. Clara wanted to teach poor Jewish girls to be good wives and mothers, and she gave needlework classes, which she enlived with stories and songs about Jewish life and history. These were published as Van twee Joodsche vragertjes (Too Small to Ask, 1919).
In 1926 her husband died, but Clara stayed in Groningen and earned a living as a writer. She wrote stories for children and articles on charity work for newspapers and weeklies, including Rozijntje van Huis (Rosi, The Little Raisin Leaves Home, 1934). She returned to Amsterdam in 1940 to work in the Jewish school because there was a shortage of teachers. She published regularly in Het Joodse Weekblad (The Jewish Weekly), a journal set up by the Jewish Council. She was deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by the Nazis in 1943 and the following year was fortunate enough to be sent to Palestine as part of an exchange for German nationals interned there by the British Mandate government.
She returned to The Netherlands briefly after the war, but then went back to the new state of Israel, settling in Haifa. Sterrekinderen (Star Children, 1946), her most moving book, expressed her love for children on the eve of the Holocaust.
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