Esther Hautzig

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Esther R. Hautzig (Hebrew: אסתר האוציג‎‎, born October 18, 1930 – died November 1, 2009) was an American writer, best known for her award-winning book The Endless Steppe (1968).

Esther Rudomin was born in Wilno, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania). Her childhood was interrupted by the beginning of World War II and the conquest in 1941 of eastern Poland by Soviet troops. Her family was uprooted and deported to Rubtsovsk, Siberia, where Esther spent the next five years in harsh exile. Her award winning novel The Endless Steppe is an autobiographical account of those years in Siberia. After the war, she and her family moved back to Poland when she was 15. Hautzig reportedly wrote The Endless Steppe at the prompting of Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, to whom she had written after reading his articles about his visit to Rubtsovsk.

Personal life and death[edit]

Rudomin met Walter Hautzig, a concert pianist, while en route to America on a student visa in 1947. They married in 1950, and had two children, Deborah, a children's author, and David. She died on November 1, 2009, aged 79, from a combination of congestive heart failure and complications from Alzheimers disease.[1]

Hautzig helped to discover and eventually publish the master's thesis in mathematics written by her uncle Ela-Chaim Cunzer (1914-1943/44) at the University of Wilno in 1937. Cunzer was taught, among others, by Antoni Zygmund. Cunzer died in a concentration camp.


  1. ^ "Esther Hautzig, Author of Wartime Survival Tale, Dies at 79", Joseph Berger, New York Times, November 3, 2009.