Translated from the Yiddish by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub. Published with the permission of the author’s daughter, Bella Bryks-Klein Translator’s Note: “This is How It All Began” and “Fugitives” are the first two chapters of Rachmil Bryks’ Di antloyfers (The Fugitives) (New York, 1975), a memoir of his experiences from the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 until the … [Read more...]
About Rachmil Bryks
Born in Skarżysko-Kamienna, Poland in 1912 and raised there in a Hasidic milieu, Rachmil Bryks was a prolific and highly acclaimed Yiddish poet and writer. His debut book of lyric poems Yung grin mai (Young Green May) appeared in 1939. At the outbreak of World War II, Bryks was in the industrial city of Łódź working as a hat maker and housepainter. Most of his family perished in the liquidation of the Skarżysko ghetto. He was interned in a series of prison camps and then in the Łódź Ghetto from 1940-1944. In August 1944, Bryks was transferred to Auschwitz and later to other camps. The Yiddish press reviewed Bryks’ work extensively, and Nobel laureates S.Y. Agnon and Isaac Bashevis Singer as well as numerous other scholars and writers, including B.J. Bialostotzky, A. Mukdoni, and Aaron Zeitlin, championed it. His fictional works translated by S. Morris Engel appeared in English as A Cat in the Ghetto and Kiddush Hashem. In addition to English, Bryks’ work has been translated into languages such as Hebrew, German, Italian, and Swedish. Bryks married Hinde Irene Wolf in 1946, and they had two daughters, Myriam Serla and Bella. Rachmil Bryks died in New York in 1974.