“Hear, O Israel.” Two biographies of Austrian poet and Nazi survivor Erich Fried

Perhaps the recent publication of the book “And We Laughed Everyman” by the Austrian poet and writer Erich Fried (1921-1988), published by Safsafa Publishing House, came as a reaction to the two fronts working non-stop.

The first front, represented by Israel and its Zionist ideologues, has been waging a war of destruction on the Gaza Strip since October 2023. While the other front is represented by the media machine which published many books. In Germany and elsewhere, in record time, it was demonstrated that “Israel is a victim of Palestinian extremist Islamic violence.”

“Antisemitism”

If we leave aside the actions of the first front, which is becoming increasingly brutal and increasingly playing the role of victim-turned-criminal, the second front is operating in the media in Europe and America as it used to be. . One-sided approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

The front that forgets Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the ongoing economic siege of the Gaza Strip since the Oslo Accords, preventing its people from working and the most basic things of life from being available, and “peaceful” Israel. portrays as the victim of what happened on October 7, as if nothing had happened before that date.

For example, within a few days, some German publishing houses released several intellectual books that addressed the European mind, portraying the issue as “self-defense” against “anti-Semitism”, and using the slogan That “there is no room for protest again.” -Zionism and anti-Semitism.” This slogan erodes the rights of Palestinian citizens, and can now also be seen on bulletin boards in schools and kindergartens.

These books include the book “Beyond October 7”, published by Editions Tiamat on January 29, 2024. It is a book of over 30 articles and dialogue essays that were published in German newspapers and websites by a number of writers and artists. Their influence. On public opinion.

after 7th October
The book “Beyond October 7th” published by Editions Tiamat Publishing House (Al Jazeera)

As well as the book “What is Anti-Semitism?, Terms and Definitions of Anti-Semitism”, published by Wallstein Publishing in late January 2024.

Book
Book “What is Anti-Semitism?, Terms and Definitions of Anti-Semitism” (Al Jazeera)

two walks

Therefore, Samir Grace's translation of “And We Laughed Samey”, a biography of a famous writer of Jewish origin angry at Israel, seemed appropriate to chronicle the work of the Second Front as well as provide knowledge and information to readers who might not have one. Can be found in the book.

Erich Fried, who was born in Vienna, Austria and died in Baden, Germany, is considered one of the leading representatives of post-World War II German literature as a poet, translator and essayist. He is not forgotten in Germany because of his emotional poems, as well as his translations of Shakespeare, which critics consider among the best translations. In addition to his other translations of Graham Greene and T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and John Song.

Poet Erich Farid always insisted on calling things by their proper names without any fear and never followed the official discourse on any issue. He faced violent accusations and serious attacks, but remained firm and steadfast in his principles

But Erich Farid is not only a writer of emotional poems, and this is what the Egyptian translator Giris points out in the introduction of more than 35 pages to the book, which includes 200 pages of Farid's memories, but he is one of the best in Europe and the world. Famous political poet of. He is a poet who “always insisted on calling things by their proper names without fear of anything and he never held official talks on any issue. He faced violent accusations and severe attacks, but he Be firm and steadfast in your principles.” According to the words of Sameer Grace.

Erich Farid continued to trouble Israel with poems reminding him of its moral shame, particularly through his most famous poem, “Listen, O Israel”. This caused him to face a major attack from his own people, and he continued to suppress those political poems, so that readers could read “Warning Poems” (1964) and “Vietnam..End” (1966) and “Freedom to Open the The author of “Mouth” (1972), remember that he is the only writer of famous sentimental poems.

In that political biography of Farid, Grace provided generous information from Farid's posts and poems, particularly those he wrote after the 1967 war, or June Shock, which was the third Israeli war. He continued to oppress Israel through poems that reminded it of its moral shame, especially through his most famous poem, “Hear, O Israel”, which saw him condemn a massive attack by his own people. Had to face, and continued to suppress, those political poems. , so that readers will remember the author of “Warning Poems” (1964) and “Vietnam..End” (1966) and “Freedom to Open the Mouth” (1972) as the only author of famous emotional poems.

Grace presents not only her most famous poem, but also other poems that are about injustice in the world, about the Israeli genocide in Palestine and Egypt, about her techniques of using vocabulary in her poems, Also talks about German Jewish writers who did not have the courage of Erich Fried to criticize the authorities, crimes and to keep their mouths shut.

In his famous poem, “Listen, O Israel”, Erich Farid writes about Jews as victims of Nazism, that he was one of them, and that his relatives also died by suffocation or in gas chambers. Then he says: “You became skilled farmers/irrigated the desert/but you displaced the poor who lived here before you.” (..) I did not want you to drown in the sea, and I Also did not want others to die of thirst because of you in the desert. When you were persecuted/I was also one of you/How can I live/when you torment others?”

In his famous poem, “Listen, O Israel”, Farid writes about the Jewish victims of Nazism, that he was one of them, and that his relatives also died by suffocation or in gas chambers. Then he says: “You became skilled farmers/irrigated the desert/but you displaced the poor who lived here before you.” (..) I did not want you to drown in the sea, and I Also did not want others to die of thirst because of you in the desert. When you were persecuted/I was also one of you/How can I live/when you torment others?”

second biography

This biography written by Grace is not present, in all its details, in the biography written by Erich Farid in this book. Farid also does not mention the poems that poisoned Israel and its life, nor the articles that put him in the dock in front of his accusers; Rather, he writes the biography of a family within the biography of a group that suffered the brunt of Nazism.

Farid begins his memoirs with “And We Laughed Somewhere” with stories from his grandmother. He writes from the lives of his grandfathers and grandmothers, that is, what was before their biography, or what is later, the core of their biography. Then about Farid, a child from a non-Orthodox Jewish family, and his maternal grandmother, his mother, and his father, who died during interrogation by the Nazi secret police. About the child, Farid, who at the age of six witnessed “Bloody Friday”, when Austrian police opened fire on protesters who demonstrated against a court ruling that acquitted a group of right-wingers Who had murdered two people. The child, Farid, saw him and was caught up in the scene which was monitored by the Vienna police chief at the time.

The following year Fred had to recite a poem at the school's Christmas celebration. He went on stage and told the audience that he apologized for reading the poem in the hall “due to the presence of the police chief who ordered the killing of protesters!!”. The police chief left angrily. Farid then told the audience, “Now I can recite my poem.”

Erich Farid's political formation had a solid foundation: watching innocent people get shot and killed, and courageously standing up to the police chief who ordered the killing; But it was also the basis of Farid's literary output, and he became a writer of poems and an actor in traveling plays.

This was the solid foundation of Erich Farid's political formation: watching innocent people get shot and killed, and courageously standing up to the police chief who ordered the killing; But it was also the basis of Farid's literary output, and he became a writer of poems and an actor in traveling plays.

A journey from Nazism to London

Much of this biographical book is devoted to stories about childhood friends who became members of Hitler's student organizations, the occupation of Austria by Germany, the terrible rise of Nazism, and the suffering endured by Jews, especially the poor and leftists. About insult and injustice. At the hands of volunteers, before the invasion of the Nazi intelligence services. For Austria. These stories extended to 1938, in which year Fred arrived alone in London, escaping the fate that befell his family and the remaining Jewish families in Vienna.

In London, the reader will find a life of poverty and destitution before and after the war, and Fred, who used dozens of means to save children and sick German Jews and free them from the terrible massacre.

Erich Farid's works are considered “an honest cry of protest, and a call to emerge from the dark tunnel of bigotry into broader political horizons, a call to fight injustice, wherever it occurs, and whoever is doing it ” These principles “yielded his full support for the Palestinian cause.” In the words of translator Samir Grace

The book is about the stories of Farid's neighbors and his family that gradually evolved, and about his congenital illness that created memories for him from childhood until his death, and about child, youth, exile, man and About Farid, the old man waiting to die, the old man who became a popular poet because of his famous emotional poems, and the awards went to him. From 1972 onwards, with the Austrian Prize in Literature, until the Georg Buchner Prize in 1987, one year before his death.

Whoever reads this book of memoirs will find it a fresh reminder of what the Jews endured in many parts of the world, and it will seem as if it was written for the Western reader, so that you will not have even a millimeter Opponents should not be found. -Zionism again in Europe. Therefore, the translator's introduction seems very important, and also a reason to grasp the opportunity to publish this book, during the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

From here, Grace says that Erich Farid's works should be seen as “an honest cry of protest, and a call to emerge from the dark tunnel of bigotry into broader political horizons; a call to fight injustice, wherever it occurs, and whoever it may be.” It's doing it, supposedly.” These principles “yielded his full support for the Palestinian cause.” In the words of translator Samir Grace.

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