Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Honoring poet Abraham Sutzkever


University Club member Holly Mandelkern will speak about Abraham Sutzkever (1913-2010), a poet, partisan and witness at Nuremberg, at the University Club’s November meeting.

The noted Yiddish poet was born on July 15, 1913 in Smorgon, Russian Empire. After WWI he and his mother moved to Vilna where he became a prolific young writer. In 1941, he and his wife, Freydke, were sent to the Vilna Ghetto. While there, he was ordered by the Nazis to hand over important Jewish manuscripts and artworks for display in an Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question, to be based in Frankfurt. Sutzkever and his friends hid a diary by Theodor Herzl, drawings by Marc Chagall and Alexander Bogen, and other treasured works behind plaster and brick walls in the ghetto. In July 1943, he gave a fellow partisan a notebook of his poems, which reached the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow. On Sept. 12, 1943, he and his wife escaped to the forests, and together with fellow Yiddish poet Shmerke Kaczerginsky he fought the occupying forces as a partisan. In February 1946, he was called up as a witness at the Nuremberg Trials testifying against Franz Murer, the murderer of his mother and newborn son.

He died on Jan. 20, 2010 in Tel Aviv at the age of 96.

Historical issues of interest that arose in writing a poem honoring Sutzkever will also be discussed.

Mandelkern has lectured about Jewish resistance for many years and has ust completed her collection called “Beneath White Stars: Holocaust Profiles in Poetry.”

The discussion will be held Nov. 3, at 10 a.m. at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.


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