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The Yiddish poetry of Avrom Sutzkever

Start: Feb 01, 2018 06:30 PM
End: Feb 01, 2018 08:00 PM

Location: David Davies lecture theatre G08, UCL Roberts Building

Heather Valencia

Thursday February 1st


Avrom Sutzkever

Still my Word Sings: The Yiddish poetry of Avrom Sutzkever

Avrom Sutzkever (1913-2010) was an acclaimed Yiddish poet. He was born in Smorgon, south-east of Vilna (Vilnius). During World War I, his family fled eastwards and settled in Omsk, Siberia where his father died. Three years after the war his mother moved the family to Vilna, where Sutzkever grew up and established himself as a poet . In 1941, when the Germans invaded the city, he and his wife Freydke were sent to the Vilna Ghetto, where Sutzkever worked in the so-called "paper brigade", hiding many treasured Jewish artefacts from the Nazis. In 1943 he and his wife escaped to the forests where they fought the occupying forces as partisans, before being being smuggled into the Soviet Union.

In February 1946 he testified at the Nuremberg trials. After a brief sojourn in Poland and Paris, he emigrated to  Palestine, arriving in 1947. Until almost the end of his life he was a prolific and influential Yiddish poet, prose writer, Talk and book launch by Heather Valencia at 7pm, preceded by a wine reception at 6.30.

Heather Valencia is a retired lecturer in German (Stirling University). She wrote her PhD thesis on the earlier poetry of Avrom Sutzkever, and has been researching and translating Sutzkever and other modern Yiddish literature since the 1980s. She has taught on various Yiddish summer programmes, and has a long-running Yiddish class in Edinburgh. Among other publications she has produced a book of literary texts for students of Yiddish, (Mit groys fargenign/With Great Pleasure, 2003), an English edition of of Esther Kreitman’s novel Diamonds (2010), and her bilingual edition of the poetry of Avrom Sutzkever has just appeared.

Reception from 6.30pm, Foyer

Lecture 7.00pm David Davies lecture theatre G08, UCL Roberts Building

Entrance to both via UCL Roberts Building, Malet Place WC1E 7JE

Registration via Eventbrite

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