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Imre Kertész Greeted On His 85th Birthday

Tamás Székely 2014.11.19.

Hungary’s Nobel laureate writer Imre Kertész was celebrated on his 85th birthday in Budapest’s Petőfi Literary Museum on Tuesday. Addressing the event, minister for human resources Zoltán Balog called it a task for Hungary’s educational and cultural institutions to help pass on Kertész’s life work to future generations. Misinterpretations and misunderstandings surrounding his oeuvre should not be allowed to prevent readers from finding their way to his books, he said. Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboimand Austrian theatre dramaturg Hermann Beil also greeted Kertész in video messages.

Imre Kertész  was born in Budapest on November 9, 1929. Of Jewish descent, in 1944 he was deported to Auschwitz and from there to Buchenwald, where he was liberated in 1945. On his return to Hungary he worked for a Budapest newspaper, Világosság, but was dismissed in 1951 when it adopted the Communist party line. Kertész’s most well-known novel, Sorstalanság (Fatelessness) a work based on his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, was published in 1975. Its literary value was recognised by several awards, including Nobel prize in 2002. Imre Kertész’s works have been translated into numerous languages, including German, Spanish, French, English, Czech, Russian, Swedish, and Hebrew.

Last Friday minister of human resources Zoltán Balog unveiled a Holocaust memorial at the Faculty of Arts of the Eötvös Loránd University commemorating the teachers and students of the university who died during the Holocaust and the Second World War. The minister said the university deserved special praise for collectively remembering the victims of the Holocaust, the anti-Jewish laws and the Second World War. The memorial consists of a 1 cm wide and 280 meters long bronze strip running on the outside of the brick walls at eye level, etched with the names of all victims. The unveiling was attended by leaders of the Hungarian Jewish Community, the ambassador of Israel and the chargé d’affairs of the U.S. embassy.

source: hungarymatters.hu, nobelprize.org and kormany.hu photo: Gyula Bartos – Ministry Of Human Capacity / MTI