Translator's notes


By Tuvia Ruebner

The disasters of the twentieth century swept poet Tuvia Ruebner from Europe to Israel, from German to Hebrew, from the familiar to the strange. Chance and seemingly insignificant choices were responsible for his survival. The losses he suffered and the destruction he survived could have transformed him into a fervent ideologue; he took, instead, a different path. Ruebner is a devotee of no movement or ideology, stating clearly in his memoir and in interviews alike, that he has ‘no talent for ideology’ as ideology ‘ … demands loyalty from its followers and I am capable of being loyal only to people.’ Indeed, Tuvia Ruebner’s poetry spreads a wide-armed embrace that encompasses all and insists on shared humanity, across border lines or established camps. He and his poetry "…exist in order to say" ("Testimony" 1961), that these are the losses we've lived, that the dead need our words, that victims have been known to be victimizers, and that each human breath is a wonder and gift. Tuvia Ruebner’s voice – of the scorched twentieth century, into the unknown twenty-first century – is a voice of compassion, grace and truth; his is a voice we need.

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