Ursula Mahlendorf

Date of Birth

October 24, 1929

Date of Death

October 31, 2018

Ursula Mahlendorf passed away on October 31, 2018 at the age of 89 after a short illness. She died peacefully surrounded by family at Serenity House.

Ursula was born in Strehlen, Germany in 1929. After the disruptions of the war and the relocation of her family as refugees, she fought hard to attain an education. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and came to the US to study at Brown University in Rhode Island, where she earned a Ph.D. in German and Comparative Literature. She moved to Santa Barbara and spent the rest of her professional life teaching in the German Department and Women’s Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she retired as Professor Emerita of German, Slavic and Semitic Studies. She also served as Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science there. In 1965, she was the first woman to receive tenure at UC Santa Barbara.

She published her memoir, The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood, in 2009.

Ursula was a person of great generosity and warmth, and served as a mentor to many. She was a passionate advocate of education, and helped many find their path professionally. She cultivated a number of wonderful friendships, and was a beloved aunt and great-aunt. She travelled widely throughout the world, and both collected and made art, becoming an accomplished sculptor.

She will be greatly missed by her many friends and relatives. She is survived by her German nieces and nephews and several grandnieces and grandnephews.


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