Skip to main content

Bryks, Rachmil


BRYKS, RACHMIL (1912–1974), Yiddish poet and novelist. Bryks was born in Skarzysko, a Polish townlet in the district of Kielce which he commemorated in his Di Vos Zeinen Nisht Geblibn ("Those Who Didn't Survive," 1972).

Bryks began his literary career in Lodz in 1937 with a poem in the local Yiddish literary journal Inzl (Island) and then with a volume of lyrics entitled Yung-Grin-Mai ("Young Green May," 1939). Three months after its publication, however, Lodz was occupied by the Germans, and Bryks experienced the horrors of its ghetto until 1944. In that year, after reading his long poem Geto Fabrik 76 ("Ghetto Factory 76") before a ghetto audience, he was deported to Auschwitz, but was saved when the camp was liberated in 1945. (The manuscript of the poem was later discovered in the ruins of the Lodz ghetto and published in 1967, with an English translation, and as a cantata, with music by William Gunther.) After recuperating in Sweden, Bryks settled in New York in 1949.

All Bryks' subsequent works are based on his ghetto experiences. The first, Oif Kiddush Ha-Shem ("For the Sanctification of God's Name," 1952; Heb. 1970) deals with the degradation of man by his fellow men, and also the ability to surmount all pressures and to sanctify the name of God in the hour of death. His grotesque A Katz in Geto ("A Cat in the Ghetto," 1959) met with considerable success. It was translated into English in 1954 with a foreword by Eleanor Roosevelt, into Hebrew in 1966, and was filmed in 1970.

His Der Kaiser in Geto ("The King in the Ghetto," 1961) and its sequel Di Papierne Kroyn ("The Paper Crown," 1969) center on Chaim Mordechai *Rumkowski, the head of the Lodz Judenrat. The compassionate novelist portrayed Rumkowski at the summit of his power, sending tens of thousands of Jews to their death, and then, crushed by the weight of conscience, adding his own name to the list of deportees.

His last completed novel Antloifers ("Escapees"), portions of which appeared in 1974, deals with the plight of Jews from the outbreak of the war until the sealing of the Lodz Ghetto; it is largely autobiographical.


S. Liptzin, History of Yiddish Literature (1972), 435–6.

[Sol Liptzin]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bryks, Rachmil." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 14 Aug. 2018 <>.

"Bryks, Rachmil." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (August 14, 2018).

"Bryks, Rachmil." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved August 14, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.