Sachs, Nelly

▪ German writer
in full  Nelly Leonie Sachs 
born Dec. 10, 1891, Berlin, Ger.
died May 12, 1970, Stockholm, Swed.

      German poet and dramatist who became a poignant spokesperson for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews. When, with Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Agnon, S.Y.), she was awarded the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature, she observed that Agnon represented Israel whereas “I represent the tragedy of the Jewish people.”

      The daughter of a prosperous manufacturer, Sachs grew up in the fashionable Tiergarten section of Berlin and began writing verse at age 17. Romantic and conventional, her poems of the 1920s appeared in newspapers but were mainly for her own enjoyment.

      As the advent of Nazism in Germany darkened her life, she sought comfort in ancient Jewish writings. In 1940, after learning that she was destined for a forced-labour camp, she escaped to Sweden with the help of the Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf (Lagerlöf, Selma), with whom she had corresponded and who interceded with the Swedish royal family on her behalf. Sachs lived with her mother in a one-room apartment, learned Swedish, and translated German poetry into Swedish and Swedish poetry into German.

      Sachs's lyrics from those years combine lean simplicity with imagery variously tender, searing, or mystical. Her famous "O die Schornsteine" (“O the Chimneys”), in which Israel's body drifts upward as smoke from the Nazi death camps, was selected as the title poem for a 1967 collection of her work in English translation. Another collection in English translation, The Seeker, and Other Poems, was published in 1970.

      Her best-known play is Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels (1951; Eli: A Mystery Play of the Sufferings of Israel, included in the O the Chimneys collection). Before she won the Nobel Prize on her 75th birthday, she received the 1965 Peace Prize of German Publishers. In accepting the award from the land she had fled, she said (in the spirit of concord and forgiveness that are among the themes in her poems), “In spite of all the horrors of the past, I believe in you.”

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SACHS, NELLY — (Leonie; 1891–1970), German poet and Nobel Prize winner. The daughter of a Berlin industrialist, Nelly Sachs grew up in an artistic home where she early imbibed a love of literature. At 17 she began writing neoromantic poetry in traditional,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sachs,Nelly — Sachs, Nelly. 1891 1970. German writer whose work is based on the suffering of the Jewish people during World War II. She shared the 1966 Nobel Prize for literature. * * * …   Universalium

  • Sachs, Nelly — (1891 1970)    German poet. She was hardly known outside Germany before World War II; in 1940 she went to Sweden. Much of her poetry deals with the Holocaust. In 1966 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Sachs, Nelly — ► (1891 1970) Escritora alemana. En 1947 publicó el libro de poemas En las moradas de la muerte, al que siguieron, entre otros, Eclipse estelar, Huida y metamorfosis, Viaje en la región sin polvo, Poesías tardías. En 1966 compartió el premio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sachs, Nelly (Leonie) — born Dec. 10, 1891, Berlin, Ger. died May 12, 1970, Stockholm, Swed. German poet and dramatist. Born to a prosperous family, Sachs wrote poems mainly for her own entertainment until the advent of Nazism darkened her work and forced her to flee to …   Universalium

  • Sachs, Nelly (Leonie) — (10 dic. 1891, Berlín, Alemania–12 may. 1970, Estocolmo, Suecia). Poeta y dramaturga alemana. Nació en el seno de una acomodada familia y se dedicó a la poesía como pasatiempo hasta que el nazismo ensombreció su escritura y la obligó a huir a… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sachs, Nelly (Leonie) — (1891–1970)    German poet and Nobel laureate, 1966. As a poet in the German Romantic tradition, with mystical overtones, Nelly Sachs was hardly known outside Germany before World War II. In 1940 she was helped to escape to Sweden, where she… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Nelly Sachs — (deutsche Briefmarke 2001) Nelly Sachs (eigentlich Leonie Sachs; * 10. Dezember 1891 in Schöneberg; † 12. Mai 1970 in Stockholm) war eine jüdische deutsche Schriftstellerin und Lyrikerin. 1966 verlieh das Nobe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nelly Sachs — Nelly Sachs, 1966 Born Leonie Sachs 10 December 1891(1891 12 10) Schöneberg, Germany Died 12 May 1970(1970 05 12) (aged 78) Stockho …   Wikipedia

  • Nelly Sachs — en 1966 Nombre completo Nelly Sachs Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.