Author photo. Friederike Kempner. Cropped image from Wikimedia Commons.

Friederike Kempner. Cropped image from Wikimedia Commons.

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Friederike Kempner was born to a prosperous German Jewish family in Opatów, Prussia (present-day Poland).

She and her four siblings grew up there and in a manor house in the Silesia province. They were educated by their mother, Marie Aschkenasy, a proponent of the Jewish Enlightenment movement. Friederike became a prolific writer of poetry, novels, literary criticism, and plays, and from an early age took an interest in social causes, especially nursing and prison reform. She was officially recognized for her advocacy for the introduction of morgues for the proper treatment of the dead. In 1864, she moved to the Silesian estate of Gut Friederikenhof, near Reichthal (now Rychtal, Poland), where she lived for the rest of her life.
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