Komlóa (Originally Kredens), Aladár

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KOMLÓS (originally Kredens), ALADÁR

KOMLÓS (originally Kredens ), ALADÁR (1892–1980), Hungarian poet, author, and literary scholar. Komlós was born at Alsósztregova. After the 1918–19 revolution he went to Vienna and for a time was on the editorial boards of the radical newspapers Bécsi Magyar Ujság and Jövő. Between the world wars, Komlós taught at the Jewish high school in Budapest. In World War ii he was saved from arrest by the Gestapo by joining the group associated with Rudolf *Kasztner. He was in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, from where he was sent to Switzerland, and then returned to Hungary. After the war he became a lecturer at Budapest University, but was removed from his post in 1950. The university later appointed him a professor, and he was also chairman of the Hungarian Literary Society. Komlós' first book of verse was Voltam poéta én is ("I too was a poet," 1921), and this was followed by two other volumes, A néma őrült arca ("The Face ofthe Silent Madman," 1931) and Himnusz a mosolyhoz ("Hymn to the Smile," 1941). He was mainly distinguished, however, as a literary scholar and critic, particularly as the author of a monumental work on modern poetry, Az új magyar lira ("The New Hungarian Lyrics," 1928). His essays, which appeared in important periodicals, are delicate and systematic analyses of contemporary works, and masterpieces of scholarship. Most noteworthy are his books Irók és elvek ("Authors and Principles," 1937) and Táguló irodalom ("Expanding Literature," 1967). In addition to his work as a scholar, Komlós continued to write prose. He published two novels of an exceptionally high standard: Római kaland ("Adventure in Rome," 1933), and Néro és a viia ("Nero and the Seventh Grade," 1935). Komlós never concealed his opinions on general and Jewish matters. During the Hungarian "White Terror," his book Zsidók a válaszuton ("Jews at the Crossroads," 1920) attacked assimilationist Jewish leaders. In his essays, Komlós analyzes with keen perception the works and attitude to Judaism of Jewish authors such as Sándor *Bródy, M. Földi, and Béla *Zsolt. In his penetrating and logical investigation of the Jewish soul, A zsidó lélek (1927) – or the Jewish joke – A zsidó vicc (1934) – he claimed that the Jew must equate himself with the world and his surroundings, but foremost with himself. Several of his poems are on Jewish themes. He also edited an anthology of Jewish poetry and the Hungarian Jewish yearbook, Ararat (1939–44). He began writing a history of Hungarian-Jewish literature, but only excerpts have been published.

[Baruch Yaron]