Appelfeld, Aharon, 1932–, Israeli novelist, b. Cernauţi (Czernowitz), Romania (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). His mother was killed during the Holocaust, and he and his father were sent to a concentration camp. Appelfeld escaped at the age of eight, hid in Ukrainian forests, and later worked in Red Army field kitchens before immigrating to Palestine in 1947. After fighting in the war that followed Israel's independence, he attended Hebrew Univ., his first formal education since the first grade. He has since taught at several universities.
Appelfeld, who writes in Hebrew, is haunted by the Holocaust, but he hardly ever writes about the camp experience, instead concentrating on the event's historical margins. Typical of Appelfeld's work is his first internationally known novel, Badenheim 1939 (1975, tr. 1980), which details the agreeable Austrian vacation of a Jewish family as they ignore the portents of impending tragedy. Among his other translated novels are The Age of Wonders (1978, tr. 1981), Tzili (1982, tr. 1983), To the Land of the Cattails (tr. 1986), Katerina (1989, tr. 1992), Iron Tracks (1991, tr. 1998), Laish (1994, tr. 2009), The Conversion (1998, tr. 1999), Blooms of Darkness (2006, tr. 2010), and Until the Dawn's Light (1995, tr. 2011).
See his Beyond Despair: Three Lectures and a Conversation with Philip Roth (1994) and his memoir The Story of a Life (2004); studies by G. Ramras-Rauch (1994), Y. Shvarts (2001), and M. Brown, ed. (2002).
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