Avrom Sutzkever אבֿרהם סוצקעווער

 

(1913–2010)

Born in Smorgon (in modern day Belarus), Sutzkever was arguably the greatest Yiddish poet of the 20th century.

During the first world war his family fled to Siberia where Sutzkever spent his early childhood before moving back to Vilne (modern day Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1921.

He was a member of the modernist literary movement Yung Vilne during the early thirties. Interned in the ghetto during World War II, he was assigned to a group of prisoners whose job was to sort through the cultural artefacts looted by the Nazis. Instead, they managed to hide the most valuable manuscripts by burying them, while at the same time smuggling weapons into the ghetto. He escaped the ghetto before it was liquidated, joining a group of Jewish partisans fighting in the nearby forests.

After the war, Sutzkever testified as a witness during the Nuremberg trials. He spent some time in Paris, before eventually settling in Tel-Aviv. Between 1949-1995 he edited Di Goldene Keyt, the most important Yiddish-language literary journal of the second half of the twentieth century.

 

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