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Baranga, Aurel

BARANGA, AUREL

BARANGA, AUREL (Leibovici ; 1913–1979), Romanian playwright and poet. Born in Bucharest, Baranga qualified as a physician and first published poems in the avant-garde review Unu (1928–32). In 1930–31 he edited Alge, a journal that cultivated the absurd. Later he wrote for the left-wing press. After World War ii Baranga devoted himself entirely to writing: he became a reporter and wrote poems. When Romanian Nazis were put on trial in Bucharest in 1945, he was among the first to make the Romanian public aware of the full extent of Nazi crimes. His articles on the deportation of Romanian Jews to the Transnistria concentration camps were collected in Ninge peste Ucraina (Snow Falls over the Ukraine, 1945, 1946)

It was, however, in the theater that Baranga increasingly displayed his creative talents. From 1947 he wrote many stage successes, some of which were translated into English, French, Russian, and Chinese. Among them are Iarba rea (The Ill Weed, 1949), Mielul turbat (The Rabid Lamb, 1953), Reteta fericirii (Recipe for Happiness, 1957), Sfantul Mitica Blajinul (Saint Demeter the Kind-Hearted, 1965), Opinia publica (Public Opinion, 1967), Simfonia patetica (The Pathetic Symhony, 1969), Travesti (The Mask, 1968) and Farsa infernala (The Infernal Farce, 1969). These advocate a society based on the author's ethic of humanistic socialism and satirize Romanian inertia, bureaucracy, old-fashioned ideas, and insincerity. Opinia publica, which ran for a year in Bucharest, satirized "socialist realism" and parodied the Communist political trial, though it is evident that his satiric plays were written, performed, and published with the consent of the Communist Party, since Baranga was a privileged person. Nevertheless, his plays were popular with Romanian youth. Twice the winner of Romania's state prize for literature, Baranga was assistant director of the Bucharest National Theater, and coeditor of the periodical Viata Romaneasca (Romanian Life). In 1968 he published the verse collection Poezii. Some plays and verses contain "Jewish" allusions: a character speaks Yiddish, a poem is called Kadis (Kaddish), a play contains an allusion to the Six-Day War favorable to Israel.

bibliography:

Teatrul romanesc in contemporaneitate (1964); D. Sararu, Teatrul romanesc si interpreti contemporani (1966); H. Kamm, in: New York Times (May 3, 1968). add. bibliography: A. Mirodan, Dictionar neconventional, 1 (1986), 116–26; A.B. Yoffe, Bisdot Zarim (1996), 270, 440.

[Dora Litany-Littman /

Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

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