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LTC Stephen F.
Thank you my friend SGT (Join to see) for making us aware that on October 20, 1966, the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded jointly to Jewish writers Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Nelly Leonie Sachs.

Who was Nelly Sachs?
Sachs fled Nazi Germany as a refugee to Sweden during World War II and her experiences made her a poignant spokeswoman for the trauma of her fellow Jews

1. Nelly Leonie Sachs by Helga Tiemann, 1968
2. Nelly Leonie Sachs, 1910
3. Portrait of Nelly Leonie Sachs in 1966. from the Nobel Foundation
4. 2000 Nelly Sachs 7 kroner Swedish stamp 'Nobel Prize 1966' Scott number 2399b

Background from {[https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/sachs-nelly-leonie]}
In 1966, Nelly Sachs was recognized as the only German-speaking woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, an honor she shared with the Galician-born Israeli novelist Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888–1970). She was lauded for being the “bearer of a message of solace to all those who despair of the fate of man” and for “her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel’s destiny with touching strength” (website of the Nobel Foundation). For Sachs, a German-Jewish writer exiled to Sweden during World War II, Israel was a community bound by collective suffering and the memory of those murdered in the Shoah, which had become a possible homeland for those displaced by war and exile, a “zenith of longing,” where “wonder is heaped/like a storm upon your head,/breaks in your time’s mountains of pain” (O the Chimneys, 1967).
The first lines of the poem from her volume of poetry by the same name, O die Schornsteine (O the Chimneys), describe the future of Israel as having been eradicated by genocide and use images she witnessed in the media and learned from personal accounts: “O the chimneys/On the ingeniously devised habitations of death/When Israel’s body drifted as smoke/Through the air.”
Although barely recognized as a writer during her almost fifty years of living in her German homeland, Sachs would bear witness to the victims of the Holocaust and become a voice for those figures whom she described in her poems during her twenty-year exile in Sweden—the “rescued,” the “onlookers,” and also the “murderers.” Writing in a letter that death had been her teacher, Sachs attributed her survival in exile to her writing. She described the “metaphors” in her poetry as “wounds” and transformed the language of mourning and memory into poetic testimonials to the dead as well as to the living.
The recurring images found in Sachs’s poetry, such as fingers, hands, butterflies, stars and birds, form brilliant constellations that dare to imagine the unthinkable and the unspeakable. Like the works of Gertrud Kolmar and Rose Ausländer, Sachs’s poetry is a lyrical form of communication that monumentalizes both the possibility of atrocities committed by humankind and the beauty of humanity. Sachs’s poetry mourns yet does not despair of humankind.
Nelly Leonie Sachs was born on December 10, 1891 in Berlin, the only child of the inventor and industrialist William Sachs (d. 1930) and Margareta (Karger) Sachs (d. 1950). The family belonged to the Jewish community in Berlin but did not attend synagogue nor celebrate Jewish holidays. Although Sachs received a private education at her comfortable bourgeois home and at a private girl’s school in Berlin, it was her father who instilled in her a love of music, dance and literature. Her first ambition was to be a dancer, a passion that would lend a fluid rhythmic quality to her writing. As a young girl Sachs wrote puppet plays and poetry inspired by the German Romantic writers she cherished. She was not influenced by the Expressionist poetry popular in Berlin at this time and therefore was not widely recognized for her first book of stories, Legenden und Erzählungen (Legends and Tales, 1921) and for the poems she published in a variety of publications. The author Stefan Zweig (1881–1942), however, did recognize the young poet’s talents and arranged for one of Sachs’s poems to be published. When she was fifteen years old she was inspired by Gösta Berling (1891), the saga by the Swedish novelist and Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940), with whom she initiated a thirty-five-year correspondence. Sachs’s first published poem appeared in the October 1929 issue of the newspaper Vossische Zeitung. Although little is known of Sachs’s love at seventeen for a young man who would later be transported to a death camp, her feelings of loss and loneliness were chronicled in the poetry she wrote during and after this time (Bahti and Fries, 1995).
After her father’s death in 1930 she lived with her mother and became an active member of the Berlin Jüdischer Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural Society) where she gave poetry readings and kept company with the poet Gertrud Kolmar. During this time antisemitism was taking on more violent forms. Sachs was traumatized and unable to speak for five days after being interrogated by the Gestapo and after she and her mother witnessed their apartment being plundered by the Gestapo and their wives. In the one prose text, “Leben unter Bedrohung” (Life under Threat), which Sachs published during her lifetime, in the journal Ariel (1956), she wrote that her “voice fled, because it didn’t know an answer anymore” (Bower, 2000). In Sachs’s poem Als der große Schrecken kam (When the Great Terror Came) the narrator is silenced by horror like a fish, a “fish with its deathly side/turned upward” (O The Chimneys).
In 1940 Sachs and her mother were able to secure one of the last flights to Stockholm with the help of German friends, Prince Eugen of the Swedish Royal House (1865–1947) and Selma Lagerlöf, who died before Sachs’s arrival. Sachs’s remaining family was murdered in the extermination camps. Once in Sweden, Sachs mastered the Swedish language and was able to support herself and her aging mother in the one-room apartment they shared for the first seven years by writing poetry and translating into German the works of Swedish poets Gunnar Ekelöf (1907–1968), Erik Lindegren (1918–1996) and Johannes Edfelt (1904–1997).
Although she had not gone to synagogue nor taken part in Jewish ceremonies in Germany, Sachs had been deeply influenced by the Hasidic stories of Martin Buber (1878–1965). In Sweden she became fascinated with Kabbalistic mysticism and the writings of Gershom Scholem (1897–1982) on Jewish mysticism and the Zohar. For Sachs writing was linked to the mystical and became what biographer Kathrin Bower described as “momentary manifestations of Divine Presence in the world [that] indicate a path to transcendence” (Bower, 11).
Sachs’s 1947 poetry collection In den Wohnungen des Todes (In the Dwellings of Death) are early testimonial poems that focus on the suffering of the people of Israel and on the metamorphosis of humankind. The death of Sachs’s mother on February 7, 1950 heightened the feelings of isolation and depression from which she had suffered for much of her life. Sachs had been treated for persecution paranoia between 1959 and 1962 at the Beckomberga sanatorium (Ruth Dineson quoted in Bahti and Fries). Her 1951 tragedy Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels (Eli: A Mystery Play of the Suffering of Israel) makes reference to motifs from Hasidic books and tells of an eight-year old Polish boy and the search for his murderer (Ruth Dineson quoted in Bahti and Fries). Eli became an acclaimed radio play in Germany after Sachs’s Swedish friends had made it public by sponsoring a private edition of two hundred copies. Sachs viewed her time in exile as one in which it was her duty to bear witness to the voiceless victims murdered in the Shoah. Her use of the German language to write poetry became her only tie to her former homeland. In her 1959 collection Flucht und Verwandlung (Flight and Metamorphosis) she writes of her poetry as a spiritual entity that transcends nationality and geography: “I hold instead of a homeland/the metamorphoses of the world” and of herself: “The sick butterfly/will soon learn again of the sea” (O the Chimneys). It is in exile that Sachs confronted her relationship with Judaism and reassessed her identity as a Jew and as a German writer. Sachs did not view exile as a solution; instead she referred to herself in her poem Chor der Wandernden (Choir of Wanderers) as one of many “wanderers” who carry the burden of their exile like luggage to the new country. Sachs describes those in exile as having exposed roots that wilt on the new paths that will never lead to a homeland (Weissenberger, 1976). The 1962 volume of poetry, Zeichen im Sand (Signs in the Sand), reveals the further development of Sachs’s themes of flight, exile and metamorphosis.
Before gaining international fame with her Nobel Prize, Sachs won numerous awards including the Prize of the Club of Swedish Poets in 1958, the Droste-Hülshoff Prize in 1960, the Literature Prize of the City of Dortmund in 1961, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1965. The City of Berlin named Sachs an honorary citizen in 1967.
Throughout her life she maintained friendships and correspondences with other internationally acclaimed German-speaking authors such as Ingeborg Bachmann (1926–1973) and Paul Celan (1920–1970), who confronted the Holocaust in their poetry and prose. Bachmann, who had not experienced the Holocaust personally but who was deeply affected and transformed by it, wrote about her reactions to the atrocities committed in Austria and against fascism in her poetry and novels. Bachmann, who met Sachs during a reading tour to Zurich and Meeresburg in 1960, had been greatly moved by her work from the time at which she had first read it, in the 1950s. The Bukovinian Jewish German-speaking writer Paul Celan from Czernowitz had experienced the horrors of Auschwitz and had survived physically but not psychically, and confronted his encounter with horror in his writing. Sachs and Celan admired each other’s writing and were friends for over sixteen years until her death, a literary relationship chronicled in a book of their exchange of letters, Briefwechsel: Paul Celan–Nelly Sachs, published in 1996. Celan wrote a poem in Sachs’s honor, “For Nelly Sachs,” after meeting her in person for the first time in 1960. Sachs died of cancer on May 12, 1970, only a few days after her friend Celan committed suicide in Paris.
Sachs had made evident in her drama Eli that the future could not be built on the ruins of hatred and revenge; instead she hoped that her poetry would be an agent of healing and a source of renewal. Her belief that remembrance provides strength for a more peaceful future permeates her work and demonstrates the relevance of her poetry for the present.

Legenden und Erzählungen. Berlin: 1921; In den Wohnungen des Todes. 1947; Sternverdunkelung. Amsterdam: 1949; Von Welle und Granit (translated from Swedish). 1947; Aber auch diese Sonne ist heimatlos. 1957; Der Schattenfischer. 1959; Nelly Sachs zu Ehren. Gedichte, Prosa, Beiträge. 1961; Fahrt ins Staublose. Die Gedichte der Nelly Sachs. Frankfurt am Main: 1961; Zeichen im Sand. Die szenischen Dichtungen der Nelly Sachs. Frankfurt am Main: 1962; Poesie, 1962; Ausgewählte Gedichte. 1963; Glühende Rätsel. 1964; Späte Gedichte. 1965; Die Suchende. 1966; O die Schornsteine. 1967; O the Chimneys. New York: 1967; The Seeker and Other Poems. 1970; Teile Dich Nacht. 1971; Suche Nach Lebenden. Frankfurt am Main: 1971; Selected Poems. 1971; Briefe der Nelly Sachs. Frankfurt am Main: 1984; Briefwechsel: Paul Celan–Nelly Sachs. 1996; Nelly Sachs. Edition Text + Kritik. München: 1979.

Bahr, Ehrhard. Nelly Sachs. Munich: 1980; Bahti, Timothy and Marilyn Sibley Fries, eds. Jewish Writers, German Literature: The Uneasy Examples of Nelly Sachs and Walter Benjamin. Ann Arbor: 1995; Beil, Claudia. Sprache als Heimat: Jüdische Tradition und Exilerfahrung in der Lyrik von Nelly Sachs und Rose Ausländer. Munich: 1991; Berendsohn, Walter. Nelly Sachs: Einführung in das Werk der Dichterin jüdischen Schicksals. Darmstadt: 1974; Blumenthal, Ilse Weiss. Begegnungen mit Else Lasker-Schüler, Nelly Sachs, Leo Baeck, Martin Buber. New York, 1977; Bower, Kathrin M. Ethics and Remembrance in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs and Rose Ausländer. Rochester, NY: 2000; Dinesen, Ruth. Nelly Sachs: Eine Biographie. Frankfurt am Main: 1992; Falkenstein, Henning. Nelly Sachs. Berlin: 1984; Foot, Robert. The Phenomenon of Speechlessness in the Poetry of Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Günter Eich, Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan. Bonn: 1982; Fritsch-Vivié, Gabriele. Nelly Sachs. Reinbek bei Hamburg: 1993; Fuchs, Esther. Women and the Holocaust: Narrative and Representation. Lanham, MD: 1999; Holmqvist, Bengt, ed. Das Buch der Nelly Sachs. Frankfurt am Main: 1977; Kersten, Paul. Nelly Sachs. Hamburg: 1969; Kessler, Michael and Jürgen Wertheimer, eds. Nelly Sachs: Neue Interpretationen. Tübingen: 1994; Kranz-Löber, Ruth. In der Tiefe des Hohlwegs: Die Shoah in der Lyrik von Nelly Sachs. Würzburg: 2001; Krieg, Matthias. Schmetterlingsweisheit: Die Todesbilder der Nelly Sachs. Berlin: 1983; Lehmann, Annette Jael. Im Zeichen der Shoah: Aspekte der Dichtungs- und Sprachkrise bei Rose Ausländer und Nelly Sachs. Tübingen: 1999; Lermen, Birgit and Michael Braun. Nelly Sachs ‘an letzter Atemspitze des Lebens.’ Bonn: 1998; Rudnick, Ursula. Post-Shoah Religious Metaphors: The Image of God in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs. Frankfurt am Main: 1995; Schwedhelm, Karl. Nelly Sachs: Briefwechsel und Dokumente. Aachen: 1998; Sowa-Bettecken, Beate. Sprache der Hinterlassenschaft: Jüdisch-christliche Überlieferung in der Lyrik von Nelly Sachs und Paul Celan. Frankfurt am Main: 1992; Spalek, John M. Exile, The Writer’s Experience. Riverdale-on-Hudson: 1995; Weissenberger, Klaus. Zwischen Stein und Stern. Mystische Formgebung in der Dichtung von Else Lasker-Schüler, Nelly Sachs und Paul Celan. Bern: 1976."

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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
1 mo
Verse by Nellie Leonie Sachs
James McColley Eilers reading his translation of a verse by Nellie Leonie Sachs, video on November 17, 2010

1. Nelly Leonie Sachs 1938
2. Nelly Sachs 'If I could not have written, I could not survive'
3. Nelly Sachs 1.53 Euro German Postage Stamp
4. Nelly Sachs 'Instead of a homeland I hold the metamorphoses of the world.'

Background from {[https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Nelly_Sachs]}
Nelly Sachs
Nelly Sachs, (December 10, 1891 – May 12, 1970) was a German poet and dramatist, whose Nazi experience transformed her into a poignant spokesperson for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jews. Her best-known play is Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels, which translates to Eli: A Mystery Play of the Sufferings of Isreal, which was written in 1951, and included in the O Chimneys collection of her works. Other works include the poems "Zeichen im Sand" (1962), "Verzauberung" (1970), and the collections of poetry, In den Wohnungen des Todes (1947), Flucht und Verwandlung (1959), Fahrt ins Staublose (1961), and Suche nach Lebenden (1971). In 1965, she was awarded the German Publishers Peace Prize and in 1966, she received the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. Sachs' fusion of grief with subtly romantic elements is in keeping with the imagery of the kabbalah, or Jewish mystical tradition, where the Shekhinah represents God's presence on earth and mourns for the separation of God from His people in their suffering. Thus Sachs' Romanticism allowed her to develop self-consciously from a German to a Jewish writer, with a corresponding change in her language. This was always flowery and conventional but in some of poetry on the Holocaust, it becomes ever more compressed and surreal, returning to a series of the same images and tropes (dust, stars, breath, stones and jewels, blood, dancers, fish suffering out of water, madness, and the ever-frustrated love) in ways that are sometimes comprehensible only to her readers, but always moving and disturbing. Nelly Sachs continued her Jewish activist work throughout the remainder of her life, and died of cancer on May 12, 1970.


Early life
Nelly Sachs was born as Leonie Sachs in Schöneberg, Berlin, in 1891, to Margareta (Karger) Sachs and William Sachs, a prosperous manufacturer and inventor. Sachs grew up in Tiergarten, a fashionable section of town, with her parents. She was educated at home due to her frail health at a young age. Sachs studied music, literature, and dance during her private lessons, and then later in school. She showed early signs of talent as a dancer, but her protective parents did not encourage her to pursue the profession. She grew up as a very sheltered, introverted young woman, and never married.
At the age of fifteen, she began an extensive correspondence with Selma Lagerlöf, a famous Swedish author at the time, which lasted over thirty five years. As the Nazis took power, she became increasingly terrified. She suffered from health issues because of this fear, at one point even losing the power of speech, as she would remember in verse: "When the great terror came/I fell dumb"[1]. During the 1920s and 1930s, Sachs' lyrical works appeared in newspapers and magazines, but she never became a visible part of the literary scene in Berlin. The Nazis seized power in 1933, and Sachs' life became even more recluse.
After her father died in 1930, she lived with her mother, and fled with her aged mother to Sweden in 1940. Her friendship with Lagerlöf had saved her life and that of her mother when shortly before her own death, Lagerlöf intervened with the Swedish royal family to secure their release from Germany. Sachs and her mother finally escaped on the last airplane flight to leave Nazi Germany for Sweden, a week before Sachs was scheduled to report to a concentration camp. It was not until 1960, when she visited Germany again. Living in a tiny two-room apartment in Stockholm, Sachs cared alone for her mother for many years, and supported their existence by performing translations between Swedish and German.

After the war
After her mother's death in 1950, Sachs suffered several nervous breakdowns characterized by hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions of persecution by Nazis, which caused her to spend a number of years in a mental institution. She continued to write even while hospitalized. She eventually recovered well enough to live on her own again, though her stability would always be fragile. Her worst breakdown was ostensibly precipitated by hearing German speech during a trip to Switzerland to accept a literary prize. However, she maintained a forgiving attitude toward a younger generation of Germans, and corresponded with many German-speaking writers of the postwar period, including Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Ingeborg Bachmann. Sachs became a Swedish citizen in 1953, and felt her allegiance more powerfully to Sweden than Germany.
In the context of the Shoah, her deep friendship with "brother" poet Paul Celan is often noted today. Their bond was described in one of Celan's most famous poems, "Zurich, zum Storchen." Sachs and Celan shared their concern of the Holocaust, the fate of the Jews throughout history, their interest in Jewish and Christian mysticism, and their literary models; their imagery was often remarkably similar even though it was developed independently. However, their friendship had the unfortunate side effect of intensifying each other's paranoia. Celan also suffered from fears of persecution (he blamed Yvan Goll's accusations of plagiarism on anti-Semitism) and frustration over the reception of his work. When Sachs met Celan she was embroiled in a long dispute with Finnish-Jewish composer Moses Pergament's musical adaptation of her stage play Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels. Her relationship to Pergament became entangled with her paranoia, with Sachs repeatedly accusing Pergament of not believing her delusions of persecution. In Celan, she found someone who appeared to believe her, which was a comfort to her. However, the two friends' effect on each other, such as Sachs was first institutionalization shortly after her only visit to Celan, was detrimental to both of their health.
In 1961, Sachs became the inaugural winner of the Nelly Sachs Prize, a literary prize awarded biennially by the city of Dortmund, and named in her honor. When, with Shmuel Yosef Agnon, she was awarded the 1966 Nobel Prize for Literature, she observed that Agnon represented Israel whereas "I represent the tragedy of the Jewish people."[2]
Following her death from intestinal cancer in 1970, Nelly Sachs was interred in the Norra begravningsplatsen in Stockholm.


Sachs' poetry is intensely lyrical and shows some influence by German Romanticism, especially her early work. The poetry she wrote as a young woman in Berlin is more inspired by Christianity than Judaism, and makes use of traditional Romantic imagery and themes. Much of it concerns an unhappy love affair Sachs suffered in her teens, with a non-Jewish man who would eventually be killed in a concentration camp. After Sachs learned of her only love interest's death, she bound up his fate with that of her people, to write many love lyrics ending not only in the beloved's death, but in the catastrophe of the Holocaust. Sachs herself mourned no longer as a jilted lover, but as a personification of the Jewish people in their vexed relationship to history and God. Sachs' fusion of grief with subtly romantic elements is in keeping with the imagery of the kabbalah, where the Shekhinah represents God's presence on earth and mourns for the separation of God from His people in their suffering. Thus Sachs' Romanticism allowed her to develop self-consciously from a German to a Jewish writer, with a corresponding change in her language: Still flowery and conventional in some of her first poetry on the Holocaust, it becomes ever more compressed and surreal, returning to a series of the same images and tropes (dust, stars, breath, stones and jewels, blood, dancers, fish suffering out of water, madness, and the ever-frustrated love) in ways that are sometimes comprehensible only to her readers, but always moving and disturbing. Though Sachs does not resemble many authors, she appears to have been influenced by Gertrud Kolmar and Else Lasker-Schuler in addition to Paul Celan. Her poetry did not instill hatred of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, but plumbed the depth of the human depravity that could act so inhumanely, and cause such suffering while she yet affirmed that ultimately humaneness cannot be vanquished, since there will be no end to humanity. Harmony and forgiveness loomed large in her poetry.

Nobel Prize
Sachs was award the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1966, for her outstanding work as an author and contributions to Jewish Literature. When presented with the award in her home country, Germany, Nelly was honored with Shumel Yosef Agnon, a fellow author. The presentation speech to them included:
This year's Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to two outstanding Jewish authors—Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Nelly Sachs—each of whom represents Israel's message to our time. Agnon's home is in Jerusalem, and Miss Sachs has been an immigrant in Sweden since 1940, and is now a Swedish subject. The purpose of combining these two prizewinners is to do justice to the individual achievements of each, and the sharing of the prize has its special justification: To honor two writers who, although they write in different languages, are united in a spiritual kinship and complement each other in a superb effort to present the cultural heritage of the Jewish people through the written word. Their common source of inspiration has been, for both of them, a vital power.

After receiving the award, Nelly Sachs stated that, "In spite of all the horrors past, I believe you," in the theme of forgiveness presented in most of her poems.

After death
A memorial plaque commemorates her birthplace, Maaßenstraße 12, in Schöneberg, Berlin, where there is also a memorial park, in Dennewitzstraße, named after her. Sachs' works are now translated into numerous languages, and continue to grow respect and remembrance for the Jewish suffers during the Holocaust. She is still praised today for her efforts in writing and for her activism.

1. ↑ Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, John Felstiner, Barbara Wiedemann, and translated by Christopher Clark: Nelly Sachs: Correspondence (Sheep Meadow, 1998). ISBN [login to see]
2. ↑ Horst Frenz, ed. Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967 (Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1969). ISBN [login to see]

• Frenz, Horst, ed. Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Company, 1969. ISBN [login to see]
• Rudnick, Ursula. Post-Shoa Religious Metaphors: The Image of God in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs. Peter Lang Publishing, 1995. ISBN [login to see]
• Sachs, Nelly. Collected Poems I, 1944-1949. Germany: Green Integer, 2007. ISBN [login to see]
• Sachs, Nelly. The Seeker, and Other Poems. Germany: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970. ISBN [login to see]

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LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
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SGT (Join to see) excellent read/share.
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Great writer!

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