Sholem Asch, 1880 - 1957

portrait of Sholem Asch
Photo by Al Aumuller, World-Telegram staff (17 January 1940)

Born: 1 November 1880, Kutno, Kingdom of Prussia (now Poland)
Died: 10 July 1957, London, England, UK

Putno was part of the Prussian partition when he was born Szalom Asz, Putno has been in central Poland since the end of WW I. He received a traditional Jewish education at home, then put himself through school at Włocławek by writing letters for the illiterate. He then moved to Warsaw where he married. He initially wrote in Hebrew but switched to Yiddish for the bulk of his novels and plays. He visited Palestine in 1908 and the US in 1910, living at New York City through WW I and taking US citizenship in 1920. When his 1907 play "God of Vengeance", set in a brothel and featuring a lesbian relationship, was performed on Broadway in 1923 the entire cast was arrested and convicted on obscenity charges, despite the fact that it had already been translated and performed in seven European languages. He returned to Poland, lived for a while in France, visited Palestine in 1936, then returned to the US in 1938. A prolific writer known for his insights into Jewish life and history, he was a significant figure in Jewish literature until his three novels of New Testament figures (The Nazarene, The Apostle about St Paul, and Mary) which offended Jewish readers, or at least Jewish editors and publishers. He spent the last two years of his life at Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv. His extensive library of rare Yiddish books and his own manuscripts are held at Yale University.

Biography from Wikipedia

Sholem Asch quotes:

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