Due to my work researching how the Holocaust is written about and translated in children’s literature, I recently read A Thousand Darknesses by Ruth Franklin. I recommend the book to anyone interested in literature about the Holocaust. But for readers of this blog in particular, you might want to learn about Piotr Rawicz.
As Franklin writes, Piotr Rawicz was born in 1919 in Lviv and was imprisoned in Auschwitz (although he was Jewish, he managed to hide that fact, and he was put in Auschwitz as a Ukrainian). He committed suicide in 1982. In between World War 2 and his death, he had a variety of jobs, including as a translator. Franklin writes, “After settling in Paris in 1947, he earned degrees in Sanskrit and Hindi; in addition to those languages, he also spoke Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, French, English, Yiddish, and Hebrew.” Besides being a linguist, he was a novelist, and Franklin calls his novel Blood from the Sky “one of the most original works of fiction ever written about the Holocaust.”
I’d never heard of Piotr Rawicz until I read Ms. Franklin’s excellent book. I was fascinated and saddened to read about him and his life.
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