BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Imre Kertesz: Literary survivor
Imre Kertesz
Kertesz began his career as a translator
Imre Kertesz, who has been awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize for Literature, is best known for works which draw from his experiences as a teenager in Nazi concentration camps.

The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize singled out his first novel, 1975's Sorstalansag (Fateless), about a young man who is arrested and deported to a camp but survives.

Auschwitz
Kertesz spent time in Auschwitz
"For him Auschwitz is not an exceptional occurrence," the Academy said, when announcing the prize.

"The shocking credibility of the description derives perhaps from this very absence of any element of the moral indignation or metaphysical protest that the subject cries out for."

"It is the ultimate truth about human degradation in modern experience."

Born in Budapest in 1929, the Jewish author was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 and then taken to Buchenwald where he was liberated the following year.

On his return to Hungary in the 1950s he worked for newspapers in Budapest and eventually became a translator of German lanugage books into Hungarian, including works by Nietzsche and Freud.

Fateless was the first in a trilogy of books in which Kertesz reflects on the Holocaust.

In an interview on Hungarian radio Kertesz said he had written about the Holocaust because it had no language.

'Lived through'

"the Holocaust does not have a language because it has no homeland.

"Those who lived through the Holocaust, those who were taken to concentrations camps, such as Auschwitz, and wanted to talk about their experience, did so in the language of various national literatures."

A Kudarc (Fiasco), published in 1988, focuses on an ageing author who writes a book about Auschwitz that he expects to be rejected by publishers - but when it is accepted, he struggles to come to terms with his feelings.

The short novel, Kaddish For a Child Not Born, published in 1990, is about a middle-aged Holocaust survivor looking back on his life.

His non-fiction books also focus on the subject, including The Holocaust as Culture, Moments Of Silence While The Execution Squad Reloads and The Exiled Language.

'Great joy'

"If I think of a new book, I always think of Auschwitz," Kertesz admits.

The winner of several literary awards, including the Welt prize in 2000, Kertesz is said to be delighted by this latest honour.

"My immediate reaction is one of great joy. It means very much to me," he said.

"There is no awareness of the Holocaust in Hungary. People have not faced up to the Holocaust."

I hope that in the light of this recognition, they will face up to it more than until now."

See also:

10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
09 Oct 02 | Entertainment
11 Oct 01 | Entertainment
01 Oct 99 | Entertainment
08 Oct 98 | Entertainment
12 Oct 00 | Europe
17 May 01 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes