PAUL CELAN

Monument to Paul Celan in the tiny public garden at the corner of Holovna and Paul Celan Streets

Paul Celan (Ancel) was a prominent Germanic poet and translator born in Chernivtsi in 1920.

 

The young man demonstrated his talents throughout his school studies, however, due to Jewish quotas in Romania and the Anschluß of Austria he had no chance to study at Bucharest or Vienna universities. So, Paul left for Paris, entered the university there and returned home for a short while before leaving for France for long. But it was 1939 and his plans to obtain French education failed as soon as the World War II started.

 

Instead, Paul entered the Chernivtsi University, welcomed the Soviets in 1940, quickly fell into disenchantment with the actual socialism but learned Russian and worked as a translator. The family decided not to leave the city in 1941, and that was a fatal mistake as Nazis felt no mercy to people of Jewish origin. Paul's parents were sent to a concentration camp in Transnistria, and he was deported to another camp near Buzău (Romania) where he was reported of his parents' death, and that was another shock for him.

 

In 1944 the poet returned to his parents' apartment in Chernivtsi but soon resettled to Bucharest making translations and writing his own works.

 

In 1947, finally disappointed with Socialism, Paul illegally crossed several borders and settled in Vienna, and in 1948 moved to Paris where he was staying till his suicide in 1970, most probably instigated by harassment from colleagues making false claims of plagiarism.

 

The bronze monument to P. Celan was installed in 1992 in a garden in Holovna St, sculpted by I. Salevych. The monument was gifted to the city by Austria during the Days of Austrian Culture in Ukraine.

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