At the beginning of his life he had to face the destruction of World War II. He had to live a life in a concentration camp while he was only 14, just because of his faith. The brutal genocide of that German concentration camp completely changed his tender mind. His confined boyhood forced him to find solace in writing. That boy who considered pen as his best companion in that darkest period got Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002. While announcing his name the Nobel Committee said, "For writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history". He is Imre Kertész, a Hungarian author and the first Hungarian to win the Nobel in Literature. His writings showed the image of the Holocaust, dictatorship and personal freedom. And today is his 89th birthday anniversary.
Kertész was born in Budapest, Hungary, on 9 November 1929 to a low-middle-class family. During the World War II Kertész was detained and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp with other Hungarian Jews. He was only 14 years of age then. Later he was sent to Buchenwald. In May of 1945, when the US Army liberated the Buchenwald, they asked him to become immigrants in America. But he did not agree. He said, `I did not think of going anywhere except home.`
After being released from the concentration camp, Kertész returned to Budapest and started working in a newspaper. But he lost his job in 1948 after the communist government took the charge of that newspaper. His first and best-known work is Fatelessness (Sorstalanság), which took 13 years to write, and earned him world-wide popularity overnight. Basically, he won the Nobel Prize for this writing. The novel was published in 1975 and the main theme of the novel was the Jewish Genocide. Critics of world literature believe that he mainly wrote this novel from the experience of the concentration camp, but Kertész denies that and said, he mainly criticized the totalitarian regime in this novel. Kertész wrote this novel in Hungary`s strict sanctions. His second novel Fiasco was published in 1980.
After receiving many criticisms, Kertész went to live in Germany at one stage of life and returned to Budapest again in 2013 after falling ill. Even after receiving the Nobel Prize, his own people opposed him. In this context, he said, "A letter has been sent to Nobel Committee in Sweden from Hungary. My Judaism is the main objection of the protesters.”
Imre Kertész`s `Fatelesness` has been incorporated in many high school curricula in Hungary today and brought him several awards.
This gem of world literature died on 31 March 2016 in Budapest at the age of 86.