«Jewish Observer»
LITERARY REVIEW
12/31
June 2002
5762 Tammuz

UP TO 120!
BORIS DORFMAN
Main page To print

Joseph Burg was born in a Hassid family in the small town of Vizhnitsa in Austria-Hungary on the eve of WWI. His father floated timber on rafts along Carpathian rivers. Joseph went to heder, yeshiva, gymnasium. He described the events of 1939 - annexation of Austria by Germany and situation with Jew at that period - in Hebrew in the book "Poison".

He is an eyewitness of all the events of the XX century. He writes in Yiddish and Hebrew. During first post-war years and later, in the times of "campaigns against cosmopolites" Jewish scripts were confiscated and printing houses were closed down. But J. Burg could not but write. Much of what he was writing about was "shelved".

As early as 1941 on the recommendation of Ivan Le and Yitsik Fefer he became a member of Union of writers, but he had to wait 46 years to receive his membership ticket in 1987.

Owing to the magazine "Sowetisch Geimland" issued in the years of a "thaw", he got an opportunity to publish many of his works in Yiddish. They also were translated into other languages. One of the themes of his creative activity is Catastrophe of European Jewry which took away his nearest and dearest.

J. Burg has created and heads the Society of Jewish culture named after Eliezer Steinbarg. He is also the editor of the newspaper "Chernovitsen Bleter" which consists of two parts: one publishes chronicles and materials on a cultural life in Russian, the other - in Yiddish. This is the only in Ukraine newspaper containing materials in Yiddish.

J. Burg is a winner of international literary prizes, participant of many congresses, seminars, conventions. In 1998 he organized a jubilee international meeting dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the Chernovtsy conference, which had recognized Yiddish a national language of Jews. In 1997 residents of Chernovtsy elected him an Honorable citizen of the city. Joseph Burg has spent practically all his life in Chernovtsy - the city being a unique combination of Ukrainian, Jewish, German and Romanian cultures. For already nine decades he is faithful not only to his native tongue, but to his native Bukovina as well. Readers from other countries will once discover Chernovtsy after the writer's works.

May 30 Joseph Burg became 90. He is the last writer in Ukraine creating in Yiddish.

June 6 the city public congratulated their Honorable citizen, Merited worker of culture of Ukraine Joseph Burg with his 90th anniversary. The event was held at the O.Kobylyanskaya Chernovstsy music drama theatre.

We wish him to live up to 120 years, new creative successes!

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