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December 11, 1987 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Among them: praying Kol
Nidre services at the Kotel,
where tradition states that
one can feel the intensity of
every Jew's prayers from
around the world; spending
the Succot holiday in a succah
in the Sinai Desert where the
first holiday began; and
witnessing in person the ar-
rival of former Prisoner of

ICD‘z

Zion Ida Nudel to Israel as
thousands of young Israelis
break out into a moving
chorus of Am Yisrael Chai.
Those are the moments
dreams are made of. Thank
you for making this dream
possible.

THE JEWISH NEWS

Best wishes,
Ethan A. Gilan

Kovner Remembered
As Poet And Partisan

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SubacTri - Orlon OO Td87 L 'CDTM

_FLANU KA il
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BPI

S24.00 for the first one-year
subscription. (your own or gift)

DVORA WAYSMAN

A

bba Kovner, the
Israeli poet whose
life was a symbol of
our time, died on Rosh
HaShana at the age of 69,
leaving behind a rich legacy
of poetry, renowned for its vi-
sion, its colloquial idiom, its
irony and subtle humor.
Born in Sevestopol, Russsia,
in 1918, Kovner grew up in
Vilna, Poland, where he at-
tended a modern Hebrew
gymnasium and later studied
at a Polish university. As a
young man, he was very ac-
tive in the Hashomer Hazair
Zionist youth movement and
was a talented sculptor as
well as a poet.
The outbreak of World War
II prevented him from
emigrating to Isrel, so he re-
mained in Vilna during the
German occupation, at first
under the protection of nuns
in a convent. In 1943, he took
command of the partisans in
the Vilna ghetto, helping to
organize armed revolt. When
the ghetto fell, he continued
to fight the Germans as
leader of Jewish partisan
groups in the Vilan forests.
After the war, Kovner was
one of those responsible for
bringing hundreds of
thousands of Jews to Eretz
Yisrael through the Briha
movement, but was caught by
the British secret police while
attempting to return to
Europe to continue his rescue
mission, and imprisoned in
Egypt. After his release, he
returned to Israel and joined
Kibbutz Ein HaHoresh. In
the War of Independence he
enlisted in the Givati Brigade
and once again took up arms.
His early poems grew out of
his experiences as a partisan
in Nazi-occupied Poland, and
later Israel's wars provided
the background. The Key
Drowned, which he wrote in
1951, gives symbolic expres-
sion to the tragedy of the

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Abba Kovner: Partisan of Vilna

ghetto fighters who knew
that they — and all their peo-
ple — were doomed:
In the final account
We were all defeated.
The Dead and the Living.
Kovner was one of the few
modern Israeli poets who pro-
duced long narrative poems,
characteristic of the age of
Bialik. Perhaps Kovner's best
known of these poems is My
Little Sister, dramatic verse
set in the convent where he
hid for three months disguis-
ed as a nun before he return-
ed to the ghetto. In it he asks
the question:
City
City
How mourn a city
whose people are dead,
. whose dead are alive
in the heart?
Abba Kovner was not
Israeli born, but he reflected
both the language and the
landscape of Israel, although
he could never fully release
the burden of his memories of
the Vilna ghetto. As one of
the initiators of the Beit
Hatefutsot Diaspora Museum
in Aviv, he devoted his last
years to helping the museum
recreate the ghetto.

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THE JEWISH NEWS

20300 CIVIC CENTER DRIVE
SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN 48076
354-6060

World Zionist Press Service

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

45

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