ANNA SEGHERS (1900-1983) was one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Born Netty Reiling in Mainz, and of Jewish descent, she received a doctorate in art history at the University of Heidelberg, joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1928, and soon began to publish novels and short stories. After the 1940 Nazi invasion of France, Seghers, her husband and their two children sailed from Marseilles to Mexico. She gained international recognition with The Seventh Cross (1939), which became an international bestseller. It was the basis for the 1944 MGM film starring Spencer Tracy and was one of the only depictions of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War in either literature or film. After the war she returned to Germany, settling in East Berlin.