Appelfeld, Aharon

Appelfeld, Aharon, 1932–2018, 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 taught at several universities, and wrote more than 40 works of fiction and nonfiction.

Appelfeld, who wrote more than 40 books, all in Hebrew, was haunted by the Holocaust, but he hardly ever wrote about the camp experience, instead concentrating on the event's historical margins. He also seldom wrote of his adopted home, Israel, but focused on the E Europe of his early childhood, mainly Austria-Hungary. Typical of Appelfeld's work is his 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), The Iron Tracks (1991, tr. 1998), Laish (1994, tr. 2009), Until the Dawn's Light (1995, tr. 2011), The Conversion (1998, tr. 1999), Suddenly, Love (2003, tr. 2014), Blooms of Darkness (2006, tr. 2010), The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping (2010, tr. 2017), and To the Edge of Sorrow (2012, tr. 2020).

See his Beyond Despair: Three Lectures and a Conversation with Philip Roth (1994); his memoir, The Story of a Life (1999); studies by G. Ramras-Rauch (1994), Y. Shvarts (2001), and M. Brown, ed. (2002).

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