|Born||November 9 1929
|Notable award(s)||Nobel Prize in Literature
Imre Kertész (IPA: [imrɛ ˈkɛrteːs]) (born November 9, 1929, Budapest) is a Hungarian Jewish author, Holocaust concentration camp survivor, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002 "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history."
The Holocaust was a defining moment not only for Jewish people but for Western civilization in general. The history of Jews in Europe was problematic, from the Spanish Inquisition to the Russian pogroms, creating conflict within the Jewish community over remaining separate or assimilating as a strategy to deal with anti-semitic hostilities. However, the incomprehensibility over the horrific nature of the Holocaust both shook the faith of many, while also giving impetus to the creation of the state of Israel.
"In his youth Kertész experienced the horrors of the Nazi system. Germans occupied Hungary in 1944 and began exterminating Jews and Gypsies. Kertész was deported together with 7,000 Hungarian Jews from Budapest to Auschwitz and from there to Buchenwald. "I am a nonbelieving Jew," Kertész has said in an interview. "Yet as a Jew I was taken to Auschwitz." In the factory of death Kertész suddenly realized that he could be killed anywhere at any time. This existentialist moment became crucial for him as a writer.
In 1945 Kertész was liberated by the Allied forces. After returning to Hungary, he worked as a journalist for Világosság, a Budapest newspaper. When the newspaper adopted orthodox Communist ideology, Kertész was dismissed. Between 1951 and 1953 Kertész served in the army, and then devoted himself entirely to writing.
During the Hungarian uprising of 1956, some 200,000 people fled to the West. Literary life did not return to normality until 1963."
"On his return to Hungary he worked for a Budapest newspaper, Világosság, but was dismissed in 1951 when it adopted the Communist party line. After two years of military service he began supporting himself as an independent writer and translator of German-language authors such as Nietzsche, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Freud, Roth, Wittgenstein, and Canetti, who have all had a significant influence on his own writing."
Kertész' best-known work, Fatelessness (Sorstalanság), describes the experience of 15-year-old György (George) Köves in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz. Some have interpreted the book as quasi-autobiographical, but the author disavows a strong biographical connection. His writings translated into English include Kaddish for a Child Not Born (Kaddis a meg nem született gyermekért) and Liquidation (Felszámolás). Kertész initially found little appreciation for his writing in Hungary and moved to Germany. Mr. Kertész started translating German works into Hungarian and did not publish another novel until the late 1980s. He continues to write in Hungarian and submits his works to publishers in Hungary.
A film based on his novel Fatelessness was made in Hungary in 2005 for which he wrote the script. Although sharing the same title, the movie is more autobiographical than the book. The film was released at various dates throughout the world in 2005 and 2006.
In a petition addressed to European and Romanian leaders, Kertész requested the opening of a separate Hungarian-language (Magyar) university to serve the 1.5 million-strong Hungarian minority in Romania. In an article published on 22 February, 2006 by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "Ceauşescu's Institute," Kertész launched a virulent attack against the Babeş-Bolyai University in the city Cluj-Napoca in the Transylvanian region of Romania, calling the university "a relic of the national-socialist era."
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Fateless or Fatelessness (Hungarian: Sorstalanság, lit. "Fatelessness") is a novel by Kertész written between 1960 and 1973 and first published in 1975.
The novel is a semi-autobiographical story about a 15-year-old Hungarian Jew's experiences in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. The book is the first part of a trilogy, which continues in A kudarc ("Fiasco" ISBN 0810111616) and Kaddis a meg nem született gyermekért ("Kaddish for an Unborn Child" ISBN 1400078628).
The book was first published in English in 1992 as Fateless, while in 2004 a second translation appeared under the title Fatelessness.
The novel is about a young Hungarian boy, György "Gyuri" Köves, living in Budapest. The book opens as Georg's father is being sent to a labor camp. Soon afterwards, Georg receives working papers and travels to work outside of the Jewish quarter. One day all of the Jews are pulled off of the buses leaving the Jewish quarter, and are sent to Auschwitz on a train without water. Arriving there, Georg lies about his age, unknowingly saving his own life, and tells us of camp life and the conditions he faces. Eventually he is sent to Buchenwald, and continues on describing his life in a concentration camp, before being finally sent to another camp in Zeitz. Georg falls ill and nears death, however, he remains alive and is eventually sent to a hospital facility in a concentration camp until the war ends. Returning to Budapest, he is confronted with those who were not sent to camps and had just recently began to hear of the terrible injustices and suffering.
Strong lines can also be drawn to Franz Kafka's writings, especially his famous novel, The Trial. Georg's justifications of all that is happening around him bears a striking resemblance of Josef K.'s eventual acceptance of his own fate. They both document the fragile life of an individual caught up in a system that is beyond their control, a system which is irrational and inhospitable to the human spirit, but which requires the individual to try to make some sense of in order to avoiding descending into total madness.
"Imre Kertész was awarded the Brandenburger Literaturpreis in 1995, the Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung in 1997, the Herder- Preis and the WELT-Literaturpreis in 2000, the Ehrenpreis der Robert-Bosch-Stiftung in 2001, and the Hans Sahl-Preis in 2002. His works have been translated into numerous languages, including German, Spanish, French, English, Czech, Russian, Swedish, and Hebrew." Kertész won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002, "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history." 
All links Retrieved October 19, 2008.
All links retrieved February 27, 2018.
2001: V. S. Naipaul | 2002: Imre Kertész | 2003: John Maxwell Coetzee | 2004: Elfriede Jelinek | 2005: Harold Pinter | 2006: Orhan Pamuk | 2007: Doris Lessing | 2008: J. M. G. Le Clézio | 2009: Herta Müller | 2010: Mario Vargas Llosa | 2011: Tomas Tranströmer | 2012: Mo Yan | 2013: Alice Munro | 2014: Patrick Modiano | 2015: Svetlana Alexievich | 2016: Bob Dylan | 2017: Kazuo Ishiguro | 2018: Olga Tokarczuk | 2019: Peter Handke
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