ABRAHAM SUTZKEVER (
Yiddish : אַבֿרהם סוצקעווער —
Hebrew : אברהם סוצקבר; July 15, 1913 –
January 20, 2010) was an acclaimed
Yiddish poet . The New York Times
wrote that Sutzkever was "the greatest poet of the
* 1 Biography
* 2 Literary career
* 3 Works in English translation
* 4 Awards and recognition
* 5 Recordings
* 6 Compositions
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
ABRAHAL (AVROM) SUTZKEVER was born on July 15, 1913, in Smorgon,
Vilna Governorate ,
Russian Empire , now
Belarus . During
World War I
World War I , his family fled eastwards from the German invasion and
settled in Omsk, Siberia, where his father, Hertz Sutzkever, died.
Three years after the war, his mother, Rayne (née Fainberg), moved
the family to
Vilna , where Sutzkever attended cheder . In 1930, he
joined the Bee Jewish scouting movement. He married Freydke in 1939,
a day before
World War II
World War II . In 1941, he and his wife were sent to the
Vilna Ghetto . Ordered by the
Nazis to hand over important Jewish
manuscripts and artworks for display in an Institute for Study of the
Jewish Question , to be based in
Frankfurt , Sutzkever and his friends
hid a diary by
Theodor Herzl , drawings by
Marc Chagall and Alexander
Bogen , and other treasured works behind plaster and brick walls in
the ghetto. His mother and newborn son were murdered by the Nazis.
On September 12, 1943, he and his wife escaped to the forests, and
together with fellow
Yiddish poet Shmerke Kaczerginsky he fought the
occupying forces as a partisan. Sutzkever joined a Jewish unit under
the command of Moshe Judka Rudnitski, and took part in several
missions before being smuggled into the Soviet Union. In July 1943, he
gave a fellow partisan a notebook of his poems, which reached the
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee
Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow. In March 1944, a small plane
was sent to the
Vilna forests to bring Sutzkever and his wife to
In February 1946, he was called up as a witness at the Nuremberg
Trials testifying against
Franz Murer , the murderer of his mother and
son. After a brief sojourn in Poland and Paris, he emigrated to
Mandate Palestine , arriving in
Tel Aviv in 1947.
Sutzkever has two daughters, Mira and Rina. He died on January 20,
Tel Aviv at the age of 96.
Sutzkever wrote poetry from an early age, initially in
Hebrew . He
published his first poem in Bin, the Jewish scouts magazine. Sutzkever
was among the Modernist writers and artists of the Yung Vilne ("Young
Vilna") group in the early 1930s. In 1937, he published his first
Yiddish poetry, Lider (Songs).
Sutzkever's second book of poetry, Valdiks ("From the Forest"), was
published in 1940. In Moscow, he wrote a chronicle of his experiences
Vilna ghetto (Fun vilner geto) and began Geheymshtot ("Secret
City"), an epic poem about Jews hiding in the sewers of Vilna.
Sutzkever founded the literary quarterly Di goldene keyt (The Golden
Chain). Paul Glasser of the
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New
York called him the most important Jewish poet in the postwar world.
He became a public advocate of Yiddish, encouraging Jewish communities
around the world not to let the language die.
In the 1970s Sutzkever wrote the series Lider fun togbukh ("Poems
from a Diary, 1974–1981"), considered his masterpiece. The theme
that runs through much of his work is that destroyed landscapes and
societies can be reborn, and the murdered Jews of the ghetto live on
in the memories of the survivors.
Sutzkever's poetry was translated into
Nathan Alterman ,
Avraham Shlonsky and
Leah Goldberg . In the 1930s, his work was
translated into Russian by
Boris Pasternak .
WORKS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
* Siberia: A Poem, translated by Jacob Sonntag in 1961, part of the
UNESCO Collection of Representative Works .
* Burnt Pearls : Ghetto Poems of Abraham Sutzkever, translated from
Yiddish by Seymour Mayne; introduction by
Ruth R. Wisse .
Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press, 1981. ISBN 0-88962-142-X
* The Fiddle Rose: Poems, 1970-1972, Abraham Sutzkever; selected and
translated by Ruth Whitman; drawings by
Marc Chagall ; introduction by
Ruth R. Wisse. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990. ISBN
* A. Sutzkever: Selected
Poetry and Prose, translated from the
Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav; with an introduction by
Benjamin Harshav. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. ISBN
* Laughter Beneath the Forest : Poems from Old and Recent
Manuscripts by Abraham Sutzkever; translated from the
Barnett Zumoff; with an introductory essay by Emanuel S. Goldsmith.
Hoboken, NJ: KTAV Publishing, 1996. ISBN 0-88125-555-6
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
* In 1985, Sutzkever was awarded the
Israel Prize for Yiddish
literature. Sutkever's poems have been translated into 30 languages.
* Hilda Bronstein, A Vogn Shikh, lyrics by Avrom Sutzkever, music by
Yiddish Songs Old and New ,
Karsten Troyke , Leg den Kopf auf meine Knie, lyrics by Selma
Itzik Manger and Abraham Sutzkever, music by
* Abraham Sutzkever, The
Abraham Sutzkever (Vilno Poet):
Read in Yiddish, produced by Ruth Wise on
* "The Twin-Sisters" - "Der Tsvilingl", music by Daniel Galay, text
by Avrum Sutzkever. Narrator (Yiddish) Michael Ben-Avraham, The
Israeli String Quartet for Contemporary Music (Violin, Viola, Cello),
percussion, piano. First performance: Tel-Aviv 2/10/2003 on the 90th
birthday of Avrum Sutzkever.
* "The Seed of Dream", music by
Lori Laitman , based on poems by
Abraham Sutzkever as translated by C.K. Williams and Leonard Wolf.
Commissioned by The
Music of Remembrance organization in Seattle.
First performed in May 2005 at
Benaroya Hall in Seattle by baritone
Erich Parce, pianist Mina Miller , and cellist Amos Yang. Recent
performance on January 28, 2008, by the Chamber Music Society of
Southwest Florida by mezzo-soprano Janelle McCoy, cellist Adam
Satinsky and pianist Bella Gutshtein of the Russian Music Salon.
* List of
Israel Prize recipients
* ^ "The
Poetry of Abraham Sutzkever: The Vilno poet, reading in
Yiddish" (product blurb for CD, Folkways Records). The
store. yiddishstore.com. Archived from the original on March 23, 2006.
* ^ Cohen, Arthur A. (June 17, 1984). "God the Implausible Kinsman"
(review of David G. Roskies, Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish
Culture). The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
* ^ A B C D E F "Avrom Sutzkever". Daily Telegraph (obituary).
telegraph.co.uk. February 16, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
* ^ A B C D Sela, Maya (January 28, 2010). "An ambassador of the
Yiddish language". Haaretz. haaretz.com. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
* ^ "UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004". Escholarship.org.
* ^ Berger, Joseph (January 23, 2010). "Abraham Sutzkever, 96,
Jewish Poet and Partisan, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved
* ^ "Poet and Partisan Avrom Sutzkever Dies". The Forward. January
20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
* ^ Mer, Benny (January 22, 2010). "Abraham Sutzkever, 1913-2017".
Haaretz. haaretz.com. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
* ^ "Siberia: A Poem". Unesco.org. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
* ^ "
Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1985 (in Hebrew)".
* ^ "Chamber Music Society of Southwest Florida Presents Works by
Lori Laitman". Chamber Music Society of Southwest Florida. Archived
from the original on 2008-10-11.
* ^ artsongs.com
* ^ "musicofremembrance.org". musicofremembrance.org. Retrieved
* ^ "chambersociety.org". chambersociety.org. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
* ^ Vertex Media. "janellemccoy.com". janellemccoy.com. Archived
from the original on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
* ^ Archived December 12, 2007, at the
Wayback Machine .
* Dawidowicz, Lucy S. From that Place and Time: A Memoir 1938 -
1947. New York: Norton, 1989. ISBN 0-393-02674-4
* Kac, Daniel. Wilno Jerozolimą było. Rzecz o Abrahamie
Sutzkeverze". Sejny: Pogranicze, 2004. ISBN 83-86872-51-9
* Szeintuch, Yehiel. "Abraham Sutzkever", in Encyclopaedia of the
Holocaust . New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA. ISBN
9780028645278 . vol. 4, pp. 1435–1436
* Sutskever\'s work