Imre Kertész 

Imre Kertész is a Hungarian author of Jewish descent, a Holocaust survivor and winner of the Literary Nobel Prize in 2002 for his novel, Fatelessness. The book is a semi-autobiographical account of a 14 year old boy's experiences in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz. He received the Nobel Prize "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history".

The author spent 13 years writing the story of 14 year old Gyuri Köves, who survives the Holocaust only to go home to a world he no longer recognizes. Unable to fit into his old life, stripped of his roots, he struggles to start a new life. 

Kertész was born on 9 November 1929 in Budapest, he was deported at the age of 14 to the Auschwitz concentration camp and was later sent to Buchenwald. His most famous novel describes the experiences of a young teenage boy in  concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Zeitz, but the author denies that Fatelessness has any strong autobiographical connections. In 2005 the book taken to the screen by Lajos Koltai, Kertész wrote the script for the film.

Fatelessness - whole film with English subtitles

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Even though initially his work was not well received in his native Hungary and he currently resides in Berlin, Kertész continues to write in Hungarian and submits his work to Hungarian publishers. Some of his works that have been translated into English include Kaddish for a Child Not Born (Kaddis a meg nem született gyermekért) and Liquidation (Felszámolás), which are sequels to Fatelessness.

He famously denounced Steven Spielberg's 1993 film, Schindler's List as kitsch, saying: "I regard as kitsch any representation of the Holocaust that is incapable of understanding or unwilling to understand the organic connection between our own deformed mode of life and the very possibility of the Holocaust.”

In 2009 he stated in an interview with a Parisian newspaper that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and would not be able to write anymore, he would however like to produce a final novel which will be about the acceptance of death.


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