Isaac Bashevis Singer

Called ‘the last great writer of the Yiddish language’, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1978.

He was born on 21 November 1902 in Leoncin as Icek Hersz-Zynger. His father was a Hasidic rabbi. When he was six, his family moved to a flat on Krochmalna Street, which became the topic of Singer’s many novels and short stories. His other works are about Biłgoraj near Lublin, where the Singers moved to in 1917. Singer did not finish the Tachkemoni Rabbinical Seminary. Even though it is Isaac who is best known today, his sister Esther Kreitman and his brother Israel Joshua Singer were also well-known writers. At the invitation of the latter, Isaac emigrated to New York in 1935.

His books, including the best-known ones: The Magician of Lublin and The Estate, tell about the life of Jews and the conflicts between Hassidic and assimilated Jews. In 1978, he received the Nobel Prize for ‘his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, he brings universal human conditions to life’.

The annual Warsaw festival of Jewish culture was named after him. He died on 24 July 1991 in Miami.