Rajzel Zychlinsky

Praised as one of the most original voices in modern Yiddish poetry, Rajzel Zychlinski used free verse and sparse language to capture the devastation of the Holocaust. Raised by her mother, who ran a tannery, Zychlinski published her first poems in the Yiddish newspaper Folksaytung in 1928. In the 1930s she worked in an orphanage, then moved to Warsaw, where she worked in a bank and published her first two collections, Poems in 1936 and The Rain Sings in 1939. She married Isaac Kanter in 1941 and spent the war hiding from the Nazis in Russia. She dedicated her third book, 1948’s To Bright Shores, to the family she had lost in the Holocaust. After three years in Paris, she immigrated to New York in 1951 and studied at City College and the New School, gaining the education that hadn’t been available to girls in her youth. She went on to publish four more books and was honored in 1975 with the Itzik Manger Prize, Israel’s highest award for Yiddish literature.

Topics: Holocaust, Poetry

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Rajzel Zychlinski in Brighton Beach, New York, in 1994.
Courtesy of Karina von Tippelskirch.
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Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rajzel Zychlinsky." (Viewed on May 6, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/zychlinsky-rajzel>.


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