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Avigdor Hameiri

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Hameiri in 1936

Avigdor Hameiri (Hebrew: אביגדור המאירי; September 16, 1890 – April 3, 1970) was a Hungarian-Israeli author.



Hameiri was born as Avigdor Menachem Feuerstein in 1890, in the village of Odavidhaza (near Munkatsch), Carpathian Ruthenia in Austria Hungary. Growing up with his grandfather instilled in him a love for the Hebrew language. Even though the bulk of Hungarian Jewry was still anti-Zionist, he had already developed an admiration for Zionism when he moved to Budapest.

He served in the Austro-Hungarian army along the Eastern front of World War I. Taken prisoner by the Russians during the Brusilov Offensive in 1916, he joined a group of Hebrew writers in Odessa after his release. With their support, he emigrated to Palestine in 1921, and fought in the 1948 War of Independence.

He recorded the events of his war service in his memoirs, The Great Madness (1929)[1] and Hell on Earth (1932).[2] Alon Rachamimov writes that Hameiri's war stories "reveal the degree to which Jewish identification processes could be contextual, angst-ridden, and laden with contradictory tendencies. The extent to which Hameiri was aware of his struggles regarding notions of 'loyalty,' 'fatherland,' and 'patriotism'...illuminate the complexities of collective identification among Habsburg Jews."[3] Gershon Shaked argues that Hameiri's anti-war stance is rooted in his Judaism.[4]

His first book of poetry was published around 1912, while he was still living in Budapest. He published the Israeli State's first independent newspaper and helped to organize the worker's bank. Hameiri was the first poet to whom the title Israel's Poet Laureate was awarded. His books have been published in 12 languages.[5]

He died in Israel on April 3, 1970.



See also



  1. ^ "Itamar's Bookstore: The Great Madness / Avigdor Hameiri". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  2. ^ The Limits of Loyalty. Cole, Laurence, et al., 2007, p. 185.
  3. ^ The Limits of Loyalty. Cole, Laurence, et al., 2007, p. 181.
  4. ^ Shaked, Gershon (2000). Modern Hebrew Fiction. Indiana University Press. pp. 106. ISBN 9780253337115. Hameiri.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2011-01-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Israel Prize Official Site - Recipients in 1968 (in Hebrew)".