Renowned Polish-Jewish writer dies, aged 89

Irit Amiel, an Israeli poet, prose writer and translator of Polish origin died on Tuesday morning at the age of 89. For her work, she was nominated for the "Nike" Literary Award twice.

Ms Amiel, was born as Irena Librowicz in 1931 in Częstochowa, in a Polonised Jewish family. During WWII, like many other Jews, she was placed in the Częstochowa ghetto, from which she managed to get out thanks to Aryan documents and the help of Poles. She was the only member of her family to survive the war.

She dreamt of becoming a writer ever since she was a young girl. However, the Israeli reality did not encourage survivors to record their memories and Irit Amiel put that idea on hold for a while. Her writing began when her granddaughter asked for help to write a dissertation on the Holocaust.

Irit Amiel wrote the first volume of poems published in 1994, “Test in the Holocaust”, in Hebrew, which was translated into Polish in the same year. In the following years, Ms Amiel published several volumes of poems directly or indirectly referring to the experiences of the German occupation, and the Holocaust.

Her two other works devoted to the Holocaust: “Carbonized” from 2000 and “Dual View”, published in 2008, were nominated for the prestigious Nike award.

Irit Amiel has often been described as a liaison between cultures: she would translate the poems of contemporary Israeli poets into Polish and acclaimed Polish authors, such as Marek Hłasko and Wisława Szymborska, into Hebrew. Her works have been translated into English, Hungarian, Italian and German.