The writer Ludovic (Joseph-Leib, Arye) Bruckstein was born on the 27th of July 1920, in Munkacs, then in Czechoslovakia, now in Ukraine. He grew up in Sighet, a small town in the district of Maramures, in the Northern region of Transylvania, a town well known for its flourishing pre-war Jewish community and Hassidic tradition. In Sighet, before the Second World War, Ludovic Bruckstein’s father, Mordechai, owned a small factory producing walking canes that were exported to various European countries. The family business also exported medicinal plants that grow in Maramures, and were collected by the peasants in villages around Sighet.
Bruckstein’s works, novels, stories and plays, deal with the sometimes cruel, sometimes comic, but mostly indifferent fate of simple people whose lives are under the control of highly unpredictable forces. He describes their lives with understanding, compassion and forgiveness, smiling to the petty worries and the often meaningless and pointless activities people take so seriously, while unaware or disregarding very real, existential dangers. He belongs to a generation so well described by the writer Czeslaw Milosz, in his book “The Captive Mind”: “Not many inhabitants of the Baltic States, of Poland or Czechoslovakia, of Hungaria or Romania, could summarize in a few words the story of their existence. Their lives have been complicated by the course of historic events”. However, in spite of the complications and tragedies, the many disappointments and missed opportunities of his own life, Ludovic Bruckstein looked at the world with humor and optimism, and a great capacity to understand and smile at it.
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