Emanuel Litvinoff : biography
Emanuel Litvinoff (5 May 1915 – 24 September 2011) was a British writer and well-known figure in Anglo-Jewish literature, known for novels, short stories, poetry, plays and human rights campaigning.
During the 60s and 70s, Litvinoff wrote plays prolifically for television, in particular Armchair Theatre. His play The World In a Room tackled the subject of interracial marriage.
Campaign for Soviet Jewry
Although a successful poet and novelist, the majority of Litvinoff's career was spent spearheading a worldwide campaign for the liberation of Soviet Jewry. In the 1950s, on a rare Western visit to Russia with his first wife, Cherry Marshall, and her fashion show, Litvinoff became aware of the plight of persecuted Soviet Jews, and started a world campaign against this persecution. One of his methods was editing the newsletter Jews in Eastern Europehttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=riEgj4OJvhAC&pg=PA75&dq=%22emanuel+litvinoff%22+exodus&sig=GNme9aSpoI9ED8Wzuv46qrH91HE and also lobbying eminent figures of the twentieth century such as Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others to join the campaign. Due to Litvinoff's efforts, prominent Jewish groups in the United States became aware of the issue, and the well-being of Soviet Jews became a worldwide campaign, eventually leading to the mass migration of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel and the United States.http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vvfIq0aJ_1oC&pg=PA122&dq=%22emanuel+litvinoff%22&lr=&sig=Y2d9Ku__u2LyU4oOo00YpvS25xU For this he has been described by Meir Rosenne, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, as "one of the greatest unsung heroes of the twentieth century... who won in the fight against an evil empire" and that "thousands and thousands of Russian Jews owe him their freedom".http://www.ultraguest.com/view/1315652784/2
After the war, Litvinoff briefly worked as a ghostwriter for Louis Golding, writing most or all of The Bareknuckle Breed and To the Quayside, before going on to author his own novels. Litvinoff's novels explore the issue of Jewish identity across decades and in a variety of geographical contexts; Britain, Germany, Soviet Russia and Israel.
The Lost Europeans
Ten years after the war, Litvinoff went to live in Berlin. He described it as "a strangely exhilarating experience, like being under fire".Back cover, The Lost Europeans hardback first edition, Vanguard Press 1960. The Lost Europeans (1960) was Litvinoff's first novel and was born out of this experience. Set in post-war Berlin, it follows the return of two Jews to Berlin after the Holocaust. One returns for both symbolic and material restitution, the other for revenge on the man who betrayed him.
The Man Next Door
The Man Next Door (1968), described by the New York Times as "the British answer to Portnoy's complaint", tackles British suburban anti-semitism. Set in the fictional Home Counties town of Maidenford, it features a despondent middle-aged vacuum cleaner salesman who sees his new neighbours, wealthy self-made Jews, as the root of his problems, waging an escalating campaign of hatred against them.
Journey Through A Small Planet
Perhaps Litvinoff's best known work is Journey Through a Small Planet (1972), widely regarded today as a masterpiece of Anglo-Jewish literature. In the book Litvinoff chronicled his working class Jewish childhood and early years in the East End of London: a small cluster of streets right next to the city, but which had more in common with the cities of Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa. Litvinoff describes the overcrowded tenements of Brick Lane and Whitechapel, the smell of pickled herring and onion bread, the rattle of sewing machines and chatter in Yiddish. He also relates stories of his parents, who fled from Russia in 1914, his experiences at school and a brief flirtation with Communism.
The Faces of Terror Trilogy
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