Friday, May 11, 2018

Nelly Sachs, Nobel Poet of The Holocaust

Photo of the Day

Nelly Sachs [born as Leonie Sachs in 1891 in Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany—died in 1970 in Stockholm Sweden]. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, the same year this photo was taken. Sachs had a close friendship with Paul Celan, another poet of the Shoah. The poems speak of the world’s ruin and the insanity of humanity who bring this about. This is completed, the ruination, that is, when the voices of humaneness are silenced, when love is silenced, when the heart grows cold, and when expediency for the sake of expediency becomes the norm. (“We are just following orders;” “The system doesn’t allow it;” “There is nothing I can do.”). All that is left is atonement and redemption. From where and by whom this will come about is an open question. As one reviewer explains: “All of Sachs's writing, with the exception of some light-hearted pre-war poems that she later requested remain out of print, can be seen as a struggle for catharsis in the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust. She stated that she felt compelled to write, describing the creation of her first post-Holocaust works, the poetry collection In den Wonungen des Todes (In the Houses of Death) and the verse play Eli, as a brutally painful process which she was powerless to stop. All of her work is concerned with the themes of sin (particularly human brutality), redemption or atonement, and death as a re-lease from the suffering of life. Her poetry is characterized by rich symbolic imagery, often violent and often drawn from the Bible or the Zohar, and concerned with the phenomenon of voicelessness in an individual, an artist, or a people.” For more, go [here] and  [here] and [here] and [here] and [here] and [here].

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