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Langfus, Anna

LANGFUS, ANNA

LANGFUS, ANNA (1920–1966), French novelist. Born in Lublin, Poland, Langfus first published stories in Polish literary magazines at the age of 15. Her experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland left scars that were to mark her later writing. As a member of the Resistance, she was several times arrested by the Gestapo and was finally imprisoned in Plock until the liberation. In 1946 she immigrated to France. Acquiring a remarkable command of the French language, Anna Langfus began writing plays, her drama Les Lépreux being published in 1956. She then wrote three powerful novels about the Holocaust and its Jewish victims. The first, Le Sel et le soufre (1960; The Whole Land Brimstone, 1962), is the story of a young Polish Jewess whose comfortable middle-class existence is suddenly disrupted by the Nazi invaders, who murder first her parents, then her husband. Les Bagages de Sable (1962; The Lost Shore, 1963), which was awarded the Prix Goncourt, is a work of autobiographical character that tells a similar story. Her last novel, Saute Barbara (1965), describes how another victim of the Nazis abducts a young German girl who bears a striking resemblance to his lost daughter. Anna Langfus' works present individual destinies illustrating a common fate. In the midst of persecution and atrocities, her tragic heroes never lose their human dignity or moral outlook.

[Lionel Cohen]

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