Israeli author and Holocaust survivor Aharon Appelfeld dies at 85

Israel Prize laureate and Holocast survivor Aharon Appelfeld passed away at the age of 85 on Thursday. Appelfeld wrote 43 published books and was considered one of the most important authors in Israel.
Aharon Appelfeld Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Israel Prize laureate Aharon Appelfeld passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 85. Appelfeld was a well-respected author in Israel. His works have been translated into over 30 languages.

Appelfeld, who wrote 43 published books during his lifetime, was awarded the Israel Prize for Literature in 1983. In more recent years, he won several other prizes including the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Adam & Thomas (2016), the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2012) and the Nelly Sachs Prize by the city of Dortmund (2005).

Appelfeld was born Ervin Appelfeld in Jadova in Romania, now part of Ukraine. After the Nazi invasion, Appelfeld’s mother was murdered. Appelfeld was just eight years old at the time. He and his father were deported to a ghetto.

The two were forced to march to a labor camp in Transnistria from the ghetto. Shortly thereafter, he was separated from his father. Appelfeld fled the camp and hid for two years, living for periods of time in places like a forest and a home of a Ukrainian prostitute.

In 1946, Appelfeld immigrated to Israel. After serving in the IDF, he went on to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His works that were translated into English include “Badenheim 1939,” “All Whom I Have Loved,” “The Story of a Life: A Memoir” and “Suddenly Love.”

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