Rose Ausländer was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in 1901 in what, after the First World War, became Romania and is now Ukraine. Having emigrated to the USA when she was 20, she travelled between the USA and Romania until 1941, when the Nazi occupation of Czernowitz (her birth place) forced her and her mother first of all to live in the ghetto and later in hiding. Returning to the USA after the Second World War, she moved to Germany in 1965 where she lived until her death in 1988.
Ausländer's work came to prominence when she settled in Germany in 1965, largely due to the efforts of the publisher Helmut Braun. She saw over 20 collections of her poetry published, and dictated her final poems to Helmut Braun just before her death.
During her life Ausländer was awarded the Droste-Prize of Meersburg (1967), the Ida-Dehmel-Prize, the Andreas-Gryphius Prize, the Roswitha-Medallion of Bad Gandersheim (1980) and the Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Art (1984).