Italian author outed as daughter of Shoah survivor


A bestselling Italian author whose real name was recently revealed has been identified as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

It emerged over the weekend that Elena Ferrante was the pen name of Anita Raja, a well-known translator who specialises in German. Born in 1953, Ms Raja is the daughter of German-born Holocaust survivor Golda Frieda Petzenbaum, who fled to Milan from Worms, Germany.

Most of Ms Petzenbaum’s extended family was killed in the Holocaust. After the war, she settled in Naples and married a local magistrate, Renato Raja. She died in 1986.

Italian investigative journalist Claudio Gatti revealed Ms Ferrante’s true identity on Sunday in the New York Review of Books, the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, and German and French publications. However, fans of the novels greeted the news with displeasure, defending Ms Ferrante’s right to anonymity and claiming the use of a pen name added a sense of mystery to the novels.

"Anonymity lets me concentrate exclusively on writing," Ms Ferrante told the Guardian earlier this year.
Mr Gatti told the BBC’s Today programme that he investigated and exposed Ms Ferrante because "She lied about her personal life. I don't like lies, and I decided to expose them."

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