Partner Tui St. George Tucker
Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
Bryn Mawr College, 101 N Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Yale University, 38 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06520
Camp Catawba, Old Camp Catawba Rd, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
Vera Regine Lachmann (June 23, 1904 - January 18, 1985) was a renowned German classicist, poet, and teacher. After founding a school for Jewish children in Nazi Germany, she emigrated to the United States in 1939 and established Camp Catawba, a summer camp for boys. Born in Berlin, she graduated from the University of Berlin in 1931; in 1933, she opened a school in Berlin for Jewish children, and maintained it until the Nazis closed it in 1939. Lachmann managed to escape Germany in November 1939 to the US, and taught at Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Yale, and finally Brooklyn College, until her retirement in 1974. She also founded a boys’ educational summer camp, Camp Catawba, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina; Lachmann directed the camp until its closing in 1970. In 1950, Lachmann met the woman who would become her lifelong partner: American composer Tui St. George Tucker (1924-2004), to whom Lachmann dedicated her 1969 book of poetry, Golden Tanzt das Licht im Glas [Golden Dances the Light in the Glass].
Lachmann was born in 1904 in Berlin, into a family of German-Jewish heritage. After attending a private school for girls, she enrolled in the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Basel in 1923 to study philology, language and literature. She earned a PhD from the University in Berlin in 1931, and planned to go on to teach at the university level. However, due to the bias against women in the field of tertiary education, she trained instead to teach at the Gymnasium (secondary school) level. In 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler assumed power in Germany, Lachmann founded a private school for children of Jewish and Jewish-Christian parents who had been expelled from public schools. The school, which was held on the property of Lachmann's relatives, was closed by Nazi officials shortly after Kristallnacht in 1938.
Lachmann left Germany for the United States in November 1939, assisted by friends in both countries. She worked at Vassar College's German department until 1941, and subsequently taught at Salem College for two years, Bryn Mawr College for one year, and Yale University for two years. She also held brief positions at the City College of New York and Brooklyn College. Castrum Peregrini Press published three volumes of her poetry, which were heavily influenced by Ancient Greek literature, in both German and (translated) English. In 1944, Lachmann founded Camp Catawba, a summer camp for boys in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. She directed the camp until its closure in 1970. The camp's focus was a balance of recreation and the arts, and each year Lachmann directed the young campers in a play, some of which were by William Shakespeare. She also chose ancient Greek works by Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Sophocles; she translated Sophocles' tragedy Philoctetes herself for a camp production. Lachmann's life partner was Tui St. George Tucker, an American composer whom Lachmann met in 1946 when Tucker began working as a music instructor at Camp Catawba.
Lachmann died in January 1985 at Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center in Manhattan. She was 80 years old.
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