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Imre K. Holocaust testimony (HVT-4089)

Oral History | Fortunoff Collection ID: HVT-4089

Videotape testimony of Imre K., a Nobel prize laureate in literature, who was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1929. He recounts his family background; their assimilated, Hungarian life style; his parents' divorce when he was five; being sent to an a boys boarding school; his parents' remarriages about six years later; dividing his time between his parents; compulsory religious education in school; segregation of the Jewish students in gymnasium; German invasion in March 1944; his father's death in a Hungarian slave labor battalion; deportation to Auschwitz; transfer to Buchenwald when he was close to death; the prisoner assigned to distribute bread risking his life to give Mr. K. his portion; prisoners advising him to say he was older and moving him to a protected area; living with his mother after liberation; his interest in music; beginning to write; disillusionment with communism; difficulty obtaining good literature due to censorship; easing of conditions after the 1956 revolt; and the eventual publication of his books. Mr. K. discusses many writers and their influence on him; qualities and limits of language in concentration camps, speaking, and writing; issues of translation; using life experiences in his writing, giving examples from specific books; his struggle to convey both Nazi and Stalinist totalitarian regimes through his writing; his first visit to the west in 1938 to the Goethe Institute in Germany; recognition as a writer outside of Hungary rather than in Hungary; living a normal emotional life, despite his camp experiences, due to his resilience; and his identity both as a Jew and Hungarian. He reads from several of his books.

K., Imre, 1929-2016.
Israel : Words & Images, 1997
Interview Date
February 20, 1997.
Budapest (Hungary)
2 copies: Betacam SP dub; and 1/2 in. VHS with time coding.
Cite As
Imre K. Holocaust Testimony (HVT-4089). Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, Yale University Library.
View in Yale University Library Catalog:
Record last modified: 2018-06-04 13:26:00
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