Bruck, Edith (1932- )
Edith Bruck, born Edith Steinschreiber, is a holocaust survivor whose adopted home is Italy. She was born in 1932 to a poor Jewish family in Tiszabercel, Hungary. In 1944 she her family, including her parents, her two brothers, and one of her sisters, were deported to Auschwitz. Her parents and one brother died in the camps (her mother at Auschwitz, her father at Dachau), but Edith and her sister Eliz survived their transfers to Dachau, Christianstadt, and Bergen-Belsen, and were liberated by the allies in 1945. Edith returned with Eliz to Hungary and was reunited with her remaining family who had survived the war, her sisters Marta and Leila, and her brother Peter; from there she immigrated to Czechoslovakia, where Marta had moved with her second husband and children. While in Czechoslovakia, Edith became pregnant by her cousin and was forced by him to have an abortion. When she was sixteen, she married Milan Grün, and, together with Marta and her family, immigrated to Israel. She and Milan divorced when she was seventeen. She then married Dany Roth, who abused her, and her second marriage also ended in divorce. Edith's third husband, whose name she still uses (Bruck), was an acquaintance whom she married in order to postpone her compulsory military service. She was divorced for the third time by the age of twenty, and soon after, in 1954, she immigrated to Italy. The happiness that eluded Edith during her post-bellic peregrinations seems to have become possible for her in her new home, Rome; she began to write the tragic story of her life in, as she states at the end of Chi ti ama così (1959), "una lingua non mia," Italian. She also met and married her fourth husband, the Italian poet and director Nelo Risi.
Unlike many testimonies of the holocaust, Bruck does not limit her narration to the events in the lager, but narrates her childhood before her deportation and the continuing hostility of Europe toward the survivors, even after the war. There is no quick, joyful liberation in her works, only the life-long project of trying to come to terms with one's past as a holocaust survivor. It is a theme that returns insistently in her writing, including Andremo in città (1962), Due stanza vuote (1974), L'attrice (1995), and her 1988 book, Lettera alla madre, which won the Rapallo-Carige prize of 1989. Bruck has published poetry, stories, novels, and articles, all in Italian, and has worked on several films as a director and screenwriter. She and Risi continue to live in Rome.
Submitted by Margaret E. Kern, The University of Chicago, 2002.
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