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KLEEBERG, MINNA COHEN:

German-American poetess; born in Elmshorn, Holstein, Germany, July 21, 1841; died in New Haven, Conn., Dec. 31, 1878. Her father, Marcus Cohen, a physician, gave her a careful education. Her poetic endowment showed itself early. At fourteen she wrote for a journal in Hamburg, and later for one in Budapest and for L. Stein's "Der Freitag-Abend." After her marriage in 1862 to Rabbi L. Kleeberg, she lived in Rhenish Prussia, where she moved in a circle of literary men, chief among them Emil Rittershaus.

In 1865 her poem, "Ein Lied vom Salz," a plea for the removal of the tax on salt in Prussia, spread her reputation to wider circles. Her abiding interest in public and patriotic questions was characteristic. The Franco-Prussian war, the Fifteenth Amendment, Friedrich Hecker, the emancipation of women, and the cause of liberty and democracy were among the themes that stimulated her muse. Jewish national and religious feelings were equally a source of inspiration. The aspersions cast upon the Jewish race by Wagner and Billroth she repelled with indignant vigor. The most attractive of her verses, however, are those on the joys and sorrows of domestic life, especially the poems addressed to her children.

In 1866 Minna Kleeberg emigrated to the United States, living until 1877 in Louisville, Ky., where Dr. Kleeberg had been elected rabbi of a congregation, and removing thence to New Haven. A collection of Minna Kleeberg's poems, "Gedichte," was published in 1877; and she was a frequent contributor to "Das New-Yorker Belletristische Journal."

Bibliography:
  • Appleton's Cyclopœdia of American Biography;
  • Morais, Eminent Israelites of the Nineteenth Century;
  • Nahida Remy, Das Jüdische Weib;
  • Kayserling, Die Jüdischen Frauen, p. 243;
  • Das New-Yorker Belletristische Journal, Jan. 10, 1879;
  • Deborah, 1879.
A. H. S.
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