Anna Regina Szternfinkiel was born and raised in Lublin in a Jewish family. Her father was a fairly wealthy merchant. She attended gymnasium Unii Lubelskiej, where in 1937 she passed her high school diploma. She made her debut at school, publishing a short story in the youth magazine “Filomata”. Her school friends were other writers known later: Julia Hartwig and Anna Kamieńska.
At the age of 18, Anna married Jakub Rajs, a peer from Lublin, also from a family of Jewish merchants. A year before the war, they went to Belgium together to study engineering. When they returned home for vacation in the summer of 1939, the war overtook them. They spent the beginning of the occupation with their parents in Lublin.
In 1942 they reached Warsaw. First they were in the ghetto, then they fled to the Aryan side. Anna’s parents stayed and died in the ghetto. She and her husband were hiding in Warsaw, and later in the forests north of Warsaw. As a liaison officer of the Home Army, she was arrested and tortured many times. She was sent to the Gestapo prison in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, where her husband was shot. Then she was sent to the prison in Płońsk and stayed there until the end of the war. After liberation, Anna Rajs returned to Lublin. She began her studies at the newly opened Drama Studio, but in mid-1946 she decided to go to France. She started out as a maths teacher in an orphanage near Paris. In 1948, she married Aron Langfus, an acquaintance from Lublin, just like a Holocaust survivor.
“The reality has its right to bad taste. Fiction hasn’t.”
In Paris, she also attended an acting course and wrote reviews for the Jewish magazine L’Arche. In 1953, her first play, The Lepers, was written and staged three years later. Her first novel ” Salt and sulfur” (“Skazana na Życie” in Polish edition) was published in 1960 and was to a large extent a war autobiography. The book was noticed by critics and awarded with the prestigious Swiss Charles Veillon. In 1962 she received the Goncourt Prize for her second novel “Sand luggage”. Anna Langfus is the author of three novels, ten dramas (plays and radio plays) and several short stories and short stories. She died of a heart attack in 1966 at the age of forty-six.