Bertha Badt-Strauss was born in Breslau, Germany, the daughter of two teachers and a descendant of a well-known family of Jewish scholars. She studied literature, languages and philosophy in Breslau, Berlin and Munich and was one of the first women to earn a doctoral degree in Prussia. In 1913, she moved to Berlin and married Bruno Strauss, a high school teacher with whom she had a son. She became an ardent Zionist and deeply involved in the "Jewish Renaissance." She contributed numerous articles to Jewish publications as well as to leading newspapers such as the Vossische Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt. Having written her doctoral thesis on the works of 19th century writer and composer Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, she co-edited the first scientific edition of her work. She also translated and edited the works of Heinrich Heine, Moses Mendelssohn, Rachel Varnhagen, Fanny Lewald, and others; contributed to Jewish encyclopedias; and wrote biographies of Jewish women. She also wrote short stories and other fiction. In 1939, she and her husband fled the Nazi regime to the USA, where she continued her prolific writing career. Among her later works was White Fire: The Life and Works of Jesse Sampter (1956).