With an Unopened Umbrella

With an Unopened Umbrella
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By Ludovic Bruckstein

Transalted by Alistair Ian Blythe

Erased from the national literature when he moved to Israel, Romanian writer Ludovic Bruckstien’s work has remained undiscovered for many years. His writing is centered on the multicultural Carpathian region during the years proceeding, and including, World War II


The stories in this collection are stories of the lives and struggles of a wonderful variety of characters living in the Maramures region, in the years leading up to a war that will suddenly and irretrievably destroy the pattern of their existence. The eerily shocking ending of many of these stories is the moment their protagonists climb on the cattle trains to be transported to Auschwitz; while leaving the tale of their often tragic fate unstated.

Bruckstein’s works, novels, stories and plays, deal with the sometimes cruel, sometimes comic, lives of simple people whose fate is controlled by highly unpredictable forces. These he describes with understanding, compassion and forgiveness; smiling at the petty worries and trivialities that people take so seriously, while often remaining unaware of very real and existential dangers. He belongs to a generation so well described by the writer Czeslaw Milosz, in his book, The Captive Mind: “Few inhabitants of the Baltic States, Poland or Czechoslovakia, of Hungary or Romania, could summarize in a few words the story of their existence. Their lives have been complicated by the course of historic events”.