26 Facts About Paul Celan


Paul Celan was a Romanian-born German-language poet and translator.


Paul Celan was born as Paul Antschel to a Jewish family in Cernauti, in the then Kingdom of Romania, and adopted the pseudonym "Paul Celan".


Paul Celan became one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era.


Paul Celan's father, Leo Antschel, was a Zionist who advocated his son's education in Hebrew at the Jewish school Safah Ivriah.


Paul Celan's mother, Fritzi, was an avid reader of German literature who insisted German be the language of the house.


Paul Celan's earliest known poem is titled Mother's Day 1938.


Paul Celan attended the Liceul Ortodox de Baieti No 1 from 1930 until 1935, Liceul de Baieti No 2 in Cernauti from 1935 to 1936, followed by the Liceul Marele Voievod Mihai, where he studied from 1936 until graduating in 1938.


In 1938 Paul Celan traveled to Tours, France, to study medicine.


Paul Celan returned to Cernauti in 1939 to study literature and Romance languages.


Paul Celan hoped to convince his parents to leave the country so as to escape certain persecution.


Later that year, after being taken to a labour camp in Romania, Paul Celan would receive reports of his parents' deaths.


Paul Celan remained imprisoned in a work-camp until February 1944, when the Red Army's advance forced the Romanians to abandon the camps, whereupon he returned to Cernauti shortly before the Soviets returned.


Friends from this period recall Paul Celan expressing immense guilt over his separation from his parents, whom he had tried to convince to go into hiding prior to the deportations, shortly before their deaths.


Paul Celan was active in the Jewish literary community as both a translator of Russian literature into Romanian, and as a poet, publishing his work under a variety of pseudonyms.


Paul Celan visited Celan twice in Paris between 1949 and 1951.


In 1952, Paul Celan's writing began to gain recognition when he read his poetry on his first reading trip to Germany where he was invited to read at the semiannual meetings of Group 47.


When Ingeborg Bachmann, with whom Paul Celan had an affair, won the group's prize for her collection, Paul Celan said "After the meeting, only six people remembered my name".


Paul Celan did not attend any other meeting of the group.


Paul Celan sent her many love letters, influenced by Franz Kafka's correspondence with Milena Jesenska and Felice Bauer.


Paul Celan made his living as a translator and lecturer in German at the Ecole normale superieure.


Paul Celan was a close friend of Nelly Sachs, who later won the Nobel Prize for literature.


Paul Celan became a French citizen in 1955 and lived in Paris.


Paul Celan was awarded the Bremen Literature Prize in 1958 and the Georg Buchner Prize in 1960.


Paul Celan drowned himself in the river Seine in Paris around 20 April 1970.


Paul Celan increased his use of German neologisms, especially in his later works Fadensonnen and Lichtzwang.


Paul Celan's poetry has been translated into English, with many of the volumes being bilingual.