Sunday, Nov 28, 2021 | Last Update : 07:44 PM IST

  Newsmakers   Hungarian Nobel literature laureate Imre Kertesz dies

Hungarian Nobel literature laureate Imre Kertesz dies

AFP | PETER MURPHY
Published : Apr 1, 2016, 2:36 am IST
Updated : Apr 1, 2016, 2:36 am IST

Hungary’s only Nobel Literature Prize winner, Imre Kertesz, died aged 86 early Thursday in Budapest after a long illness, his publisher said.

Imre Kertesz
 Imre Kertesz

Hungary’s only Nobel Literature Prize winner, Imre Kertesz, died aged 86 early Thursday in Budapest after a long illness, his publisher said.

The Holocaust survivor, who won the Nobel in 2002, passed away at his home, the director of Magveto Publishing, Krisztian Nyary, said. “He was one of the 20th century’s most influential Hungarian writers, not just through his works but through his thoughts and worldview as well. He will remain hugely influential on other writers in years to come,” Nyary said. In 2013, Kertesz revealed that he was battling Parkinson’s disease. The son of Jewish parents, Kertesz was born on November 29, 1929 in Budapest. At the age of 14, he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, before being sent to Buchenwald. Following the liberation of the camps, Kertesz returned to the Hungarian capital. He began working as a journalist for a newspaper in 1948 until he was fired three years later when the daily was taken over by the Communist regime. The Holocaust remained a central theme in several of his best-known works, including his first novel Fatelessness.

 

Published in 1975, the story describes the ordeal of a fifteen-year-old boy in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz. Despite the apparent autobiographical links, Kertesz rejected the idea that the book was about his own life, but rather a critique of all totalitarian regimes.

The Holocaust reached far beyond personal experiences, Kertesz insisted — it touched all of humanity and represented a complete break with civilisation. “Auschwitz is everywhere,” Kertesz said in 2013 in an interview with the Paris Review literary magazine. Fatelessness went almost unnoticed in Hungary when it was published. In 2002, the Nobel Prize committee awarded Kertesz the highest literary accolade for “writing that upholds fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”.

 

Location: Hungary, Budapest