Tuesday, February 23, 2010

End credits: Who are these people?

Isaac Asimov was born on or about January 2, 1920 in the Russian shtetl of Petrovichi. When he was three his family emigrated to Brooklyn, and he grew up there, spending much of his childhood and teens working behind the counter of their candy store. He later applied the discipline of that experience to his writing, publishing over 500 books. For the last fifteen years of his life, he was editorial director of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. In 1983 he contracted AIDS from tainted blood during a heart-bypass operation, and died of complications nine years later, on April 6, 1992.

Juliusz Żuławski was born on October 10, 1910 in the Polish city of Zakopane. Son of the poet, novelist, translator, and literary critic Jerzy Żuławski, he followed in his father's footsteps, publishing lyric poetry, psychological prose, biographical stories, and translations of English poetry. He died in Warsaw on January 10, 1999.

Chava Rosenfarb was born on February 9, 1923 in the Polish city of Łódź. She began writing poetry during the Nazi occupation of Poland. After surviving four years in the Łódź ghetto, and stays in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, she crossed illegally into Belgium, where she met and married fellow Holocaust survivor Henry Morgentaler. After emigrating to Canada in 1950, she began writing poetry, plays, and finally a trilogy of novels called Der boim fun lebn (The Tree of Life). She currently lives in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Simcha Simchovitch was born in 1921 in Otwock, a suburb of Warsaw. He fled the city in 1939, during the Nazi invasion of Poland, taking refuge in the Soviet Union. He returned after the war, only to discover that the Nazis had murdered the entire Jewish population, including his family and friends, in 1942. In 1949 he moved to Canada, where he has published fifteen books in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English, including a novel, seven poetry collections, and the memoir Stepchild on the Vistula. He currently lives in Toronto.

Samuel Asimov was the younger brother of Isaac Asimov's father, Judah Asimov. He was born around the turn of the 20th century in Petrovichi, and served as an officer in the Soviet Army during World War II. His daughter Serafina Asimov corresponded with her cousin Isaac in the 1980s.

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