Hungarian Wins Nobel Prize, But With Mixed Feelings

there is no reason for his home country to celebrate.

Kertesz told BosNewsLife he wants the $1 million dollar Prize to "encourage Hungary" to recognize its controversial role during World War Two.

The Swedish Nobel Academy said it awarded the Nobel Prize to Kertesz, to honour his "writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history."

HORRIFIC EXPERIENCES

Most of his writings were inspired by his own horrific experiences throughout the 20th century, especially during the Second World War, when as a Jews he suffered under Nazi persecution.

Speaking by telephone from his residence in Berlin, the now 72-year old Kertesz said that Hungary most recognize its involvement in World War Two, when it was for the most part a close ally to Nazi Germany.

"Hungary has still not dealt with the Holocaust in a proper way," he told BosNewsLife. "I hope that through my Nobel Prize, the society will finally recognize the trauma that 600-thousand Hungarians Jews were massacred in the gas chambers."

CHURCHES START DIALOGUE

Since the collapse of Communism, several Hungarian churches have begun a religious dialogue with the Jewish Community, however Kertesz seemed to suggest that more has to be done to deal with the past.

Born in 1929, Kertesz was a teenager in 1944 when he was deported to the death camp at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. From there, he was sent to the concentration camp of Buchenwald, before it was liberated a year later.

But after Kertesz returned to Hungary, he was only briefly allowed to work as a writer and journalist in relative freedom. In 1951, Kertesz was dismissed when his news paper adopted the Communist party line.

BOOKS TRANSLATED

Still, he managed to publish books that were translated into German, and he translated himself some of the greatest thinkers in the German language, including Wittgenstein, Freud and Nietzche.

Kertesz's first novel was Fateless in 1975 about a man taken to a concentration camp who conforms and survives, based on his own experiences at Auschwitz.

He became also well known for the 1990-novel Kaddish for a Child Not Born. Kaddish is the Jewish prayer for the dead which in that novel is said for a child he refuses to have in a world that allowed Auschwitz to exist.

BOOK IN MOVIE

Kertesz hopes to publish books in the United States at a time when his first novel is expected to appear as a movie. Although several Hungarians have won Nobel awards, Kertesz is the first Hungarian to win the Nobel Literature Prize.

Kertesz stressed he is still "very surprised" that he received it. He said that "when hearing the news" he joked to his wife that "she should go and pick up the Prize" in Oslo, in December.

Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy congratulated the writer on behalf of the Government, saying there is "once again a reason to be proud to be Hungarian."

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