NEW YORK (Aug. 2)
Aharon Appelfeld, renowned Hebrew short story writer and novelist, has been selected as the 1977 recipient of the Irving and Bertha Neuman Literary Prize awarded annually by New York University’s Institute of Hebrew Culture and Education. John C. Sawhill, NYU president, will make the presentation at a reception in Appelfeld’s honor Aug. 15, at the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem.
The prize, which consists of a citation and a cash award of $1000, was established in 1962 by Neuman, a New York realtor, and his wife, Bertha, to be given each year to an outstanding Hebrew author in recognition of his or her contribution to Hebrew letters.
Appelfeld, a resident of Jerusalem, was born in 1932 in Czernowitz, Bokivina, formerly in Rumania and now in the Soviet Union.
As a mere boy during World War II, he was deported to Transnistria between the Bug and Dniester Rivers, a territory set aside by agreement of the Rumanian and German military staffs for use as forced labor camps for the Bokivinian and other Jews. After his liberation at the age of 15, he migrated to Israel with the Youth Aliyah and later continued his studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Since 1959, Appelfeld’s work has appeared in many leading Hebrew journals. His first collection of short stories, “Smoke,” was published in 1962; “In the Fertile Valley,” 1964; “Frost on the Ground,” 1965; “Steps of the River,” 1971; and “Skin and Gown,” 1971. An English translation of some of his short stories, entitled “In the Wilderness,” appeared in 1963. The dominant theme of these writings is the impact of the Holocaust on its victims.
Appelfeld has already earned a number of literary prizes, including the Brenner, the Ussishkin, the Anne Frank awarded by the government of The Netherlands, the Tel Aviv, and the Prime Minister’s Awards. The chairman of the panel of judges for this year’s award is Dr. Abraham I. Katsh, former president of Dropsie University and former director of NYU’s institute of Hebrew Studies.