Nobel Prize in Literature Recipient. He received the award in 2002 for his trilogy that dealt with the Nazi concentration camps of World War II, drawn from his personal experiences . Born into a wealthy Jewish family, his parents separated when he was five years old. At age 14 he was deported by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp in present-day Poland with other Hungarian Jews and claimed to be two years older, in order to avoid being exterminated. Later, he was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany where he was liberated by the US Army in April 1945. He then returned to Budapest, Hungary to complete his high school education and began working as a journalist and translator. In 1951 he lost his newspaper job after the publication was forced to comply with Communist censors and two years later he began working as a free-lance journalist, translating German books into Hungarian, including those of Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. In 1969 he began writing his memorable work, "Fateless", a semi-autobiographical novel about a 15-year-old Hungarian Jew's experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. The book was initially rejected by the Hungarian Communist government and was finally published in 1975 but largely ignored in his home country despite the fact that about a half-million Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust. He followed it up with "Fiasco" (1988) and "Kaddish for a Child Not Born" (1990), the second and third parts of his Holocaust trilogy. In 2005 his "Fateless" was made into a Hungarian film, for which he wrote the script. Among his other notable works include "The Union Jack" (1991), and "Liquidation" (2003). He was the recipient of numerous Hungarian and international awards for his contributions to literature, including the Soros Prize (1992 and 1995), the Kossuth Prize (1997), the Herder Prize (2000), the Goethe Medal (2004), the Jean Améry Prize (2009), and the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary (2014). In his final years, he suffered from Parkinson's disease and died at this home at the age of 86.
Bio by: William Bjornstad