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Nelly Sachs

Nelly SachsAKA Leonie Nelly Sachs

Born: 10-Dec-1891
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: 12-May-1970
Location of death: Stockholm, Sweden
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Buried, Norra Begravningsplatsen, Stockholm, Sweden

Gender: Female
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Poet, Playwright

Nationality: Sweden
Executive summary: O the Chimneys

In childhood, Nelly Sachs wrote a fan letter to poet Selma Lagerlöf, and the two poets were pen pals for several years before Lagerlöf won the Nobel Prize, and for decades afterward. Sachs was born and raised in Germany, where her first serious boyfriend was killed in a concentration camp. To escape the Nazi regime she fled to Sweden, where Lagerlöf had offered her refuge, but her mentor died while Sachs was in transit. So small and frail that she was housed in a Swedish orphanage, she supported herself by translating Swedish poets into German. Her own poems had been published as early as her 20s, but Sachs was almost 50 years of age before gaining any noteworthy success, after her German-language poems were translated into Swedish. Sachs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, sharing the honor with Israeli writer Shmuel Agnon.

Some of her early poems were described as joyous, but after the Holocaust she wrote extensively about that catastrophe, and asked that her earlier, happier works not be republished. Sachs is best-known internationally for her heart-wrenching "O the Chimneys", in which the nation of Israel itself wafts away in the smoky winds over Nazi extermination camps. Also a playwright, her best known stage work is Eli: A Mystery Play of the Suffering of Israel.

Father: William Sachs (industrialist, d. 1930)
Mother: Margareta Karger Sachs (d. 1950)

    High School: Berlin High School for Girls, Berlin, Germany

    Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels 1965
    Nobel Prize for Literature 1966 (with Shmuel Agnon)
    Naturalized Swedish Citizen 1952
    German Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Depression

Author of books:
Legends and Stories (1921)
In den Wohnungen des Todes (In the Houses of Death) (1947, collected poems)
Sternverdunkelung (Blackout of the Stars) (1949, collected poems)
Und niemand weiss weiter (And No One Knows Where to Go) (1957, collected poems)
Flucht und Verwandlung (Flight and Metamorphosis) (1959, collected poems)
Eli (1950, play )
Fahrt ins Staublose (Journey to the Beyond) (1961, collected poems)
Zeichen im Sand (Signs in the Sand) (1961, play)
O the Chimneys and Other Poems (1967, collected poems)



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