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Relgis (Sigler), Eugen


RELGIS (Sigler), EUGEN (1895– ), Romanian author and journalist. Born in Jassy, Relgis showed an early inclination toward humanitarianism and pacifism. He wrote his first book, Triumful Nefiinţei (1913), before embarking on his main journalistic and literary career. He contributed to leading Romanian periodicals and to the Jewish journals Adam, the official Zionist Sţiri din lumea evreeascaˇ, Renașterea Noastraˇ. For a time, he was on the editorial staff of the Zionist periodical Mântuirea. After 1920, he edited Umanitatea and Cugetul liber ("Free Thinking").

During the 1920s, Relgis was mainly concerned with his idealistic conception of humanitarianism – ultimately, the struggle to improve the human soul. His fundamental work was Principiile umanitariste ("Humanitarian Principles", 1922), which was translated into 17 languages and made Relgis one of the best-known figures in the intellectual world between the world wars. He developed his ideas in Umanitarismul şi internaţionala intelectualilor ("Humanitarianism and the Intellectuals' Internationale", 1922), Umanitarismul şi socialismul ("Humanitarianism and Socialism", 1925), Umanitarismul biblic ("Biblical Humanitarianism", 1926) and similar works. Some of his books contained prefaces by such celebrities as Albert Einstein and Romain Rolland who declared Relgis to be his most worthy successor. During this period he wrote Petre Arbore (3 vols., 1924), Glasuri în Surdin ("Voices in a Low Key", 1927), and Prieteniile lui Miron ("The Friendships of Miron", 1934).

In the years immediately preceding World War ii Relgis was active in the Jewish cultural institute attached to the Bucharest Choral Temple. In 1947, he left Romania and settled in Montevideo, Uruguay, lecturing at universities there and in Argentina and Brazil. He then republished his main works in Spanish. His articles on the values of Judaism, which he identified with modern humanitarianism, originally published in Romania as Esseuri despre judaism ("Essays on Judaism", 1936), appeared in an elaborated form in the volumes Profetas y Poetas (1955) and Testigo de mi tiempo (1961). Another collection of articles and lectures on Romanian-Jewish subjects, Maˇrturii de ieri şi de azi ("Testimonies of Yesterday and Today"), was published in Israel in 1962.


E. Lovinescu, Istoria literaturii române contemporane, 3 (1927), 207–9; G. Câlinescu, Istoria literaturii romîne… (1941), 851; Quaderni degli amici di Eugen Relgis (1962– ); Homenaje a Eugen Relgis en su 60.° aniversario (1955).

[Dora Litani-Littman and

Abraham Feller]

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