Emma Orczy

Emma Orczy

Emma Orczy, the daughter of the composer, Baron Felix Orczy, was born in Hungary in 1865. Educated in Brussels and Paris, Orczy moved to London in 1880 to study art.

While in England Orczy met and married the English artist, Montague Barstow. In 1905 Orczy published her first novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel. The book was a great success but the numerous sequels such as I Will Repay (1906) and the Elusive Pimpernel (1908) sold poorly. Orczy also wrote detective fiction including The Old Man in the Corner (1909) and Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (1910).

During the First World War Orczy was actively involved in the Order of the White Feather, an organisation that encouraged women to give out white feathers to young men who had not joined the British Army.

After the Armistice Orczy moved to Monte Carlo where she continued to write novels and an autobiography, Links in the Chain of Life.

Emma Orczy died in 1947.

Primary Sources

(1) Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (1947)

Last spring the Germans had constructed huge tents in an open space in the Lager. For the whole of the good season each of them had catered for over 1,000 men: now the tents had been taken down, and an excess 2,000 guests crowded our huts. We old prisoners knew that the Germans did not like these irregularities and that something would soon happen to reduce our number.