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Sutzkever, Abraham

(1913- ), a Yiddish poet, born in a small town near Vilna in 1913. He became a leader in the "Yung Vilne" literary movement before WWII. When the Nazis established the Vilna ghetto he joined the "Paper Brigade," a group who were hiding documents from the archives of YIVO, the Yiddish Scientific Institute.

Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg had created the Institute Zur Erforschung der Judenfrage (Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question), whose purpose was to study the vanished Jewish race. YIVO's Judaica collection was being ransacked to provide exhibits for a museum of Jewry in Frankfurt.

In 1943 Sutzkever escaped from the Vilna ghetto into the forest where he became a partisan. In July 1944 he returned to Vilna after its liberation by the Soviet army. He began to dig up the Jewish treasures which had been hidden. A Museum of Jewish Art and Culture was established, the first Jewish institution in Vilna after the war.

Mr. Sutzkever testified at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. In 1947 he emigrated to Israel where he founded the premier Yiddish literary journal, "Di Goldene Keyt" (The Golden Chain).


Sources: Fishman, "Those Daring Escapades of Vilna's "Papir Brigade"; Goodman,"Translating the Poetry of Abraham Sutzkever"; Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal, February 27, 1946, Vol. 8 [pp. 302-308];Dawidowicz, From that Place and Time.


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