Kramer Prize Goes Postumously To Austrian Exile Author Jakov Lind

On 5 February 2007 it was announced that the Theodor Kramer Prize 2007 would go to the Austrian exile author, painter and actor Jakov Lind, who celebrated his 80th birthday on 10 February 2007. The Prize was to be presented by Georg Stefan Troller to relatives of Lind due to his poor health at the Vienna Jewish Museum on 13 March 2007. An awards ceremony was to take place in Krems (Lower Austria) in late May. On 17 February 2007 Jakov Lind died in London, and his funeral was held only one day later.

Jakov Lind was born into an Eastern Jewish family in Vienna in 1927. In 1938 the pupil of the Jewish grammar school in Vienna and his younger sister escaped to Holland with the help of a refugee organisation. He found refuge with a family and prepared himself for a future life in Palestine. After the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Lind went underground with forged documents in Germany. As Jan Gerrit Overbeek he signed up on a Rhine towboat in 1943. He survived the war in Hamburg. After the war he held various jobs and tried to become an actor in Israel and Vienna. In 1954 he went to London. In 1962 he published his book “Soul of Wood“, which was enthusiastically acclaimed in the English-speaking countries, where he was compared to Kafka and Beckett. The German critics remained reserved, obviously not coming to terms with Lind’s perspective of an “almost boisterous joker“ (Marcel Reich-Ranicki) not assuming the victim’s role.

In 1966 he published the grotesque allegory “Eine bessere Welt“. “Ergo“, the stage adaptation of the book, was successfully premiered in New York in 1968. In 1997 the play was for the first time performed in German language at Vienna’s Volkstheater. In “The Trip to Jerusalem“ (1972) he criticised official Zionism. In 1997 Lind received the Golden Medal of Honour of the City of Vienna.

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