Vihar, Bela

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VIHAR, BELA (1908–1978), Hungarian poet and teacher. Vihar, the son of a cantor, was born in Hajdunanas, Hungary, and received a traditional Jewish education. After completing his studies in the Jewish Teachers' Training College in Budapest he taught in various Jewish schools. During World War ii he served in the Jewish Forced Labor Battalion on the Russian Front. From 1945 to 1948 he was principal of a Jewish school in Budapest and in 1949 was appointed organizer of culture for national minorities in the Hungarian Ministry of Education. From 1959 onwards, however, he devoted himself solely to journalism.

In his poems, which are of a high standard and full of profound thought, the influence of the Bible and Ḥasidism, as well as of Walt Whitman and Marc Chagall, is evident. In addition to his poetry, he occupied himself with Jewish themes and, together with Aladar *Komlos, published a collection of tales for children entitled Kincsorzo fa ("Treasure-Guardian Tree," 1940). He also published the first documentary work on the Holocaust, Sarga konyv ("Yellow Book," 1945), and the theme recurs from time to time in his works.

The following collections of his poems have been published: Ut onmagadhoz ("Road to Yourself," 1933); Betuk bekessegeben ("In Peace of Letters," 1941); Onarckep ("Self Portrait," 1962); Negy felelet ("Four Responses," 1965); Kigyoenek ("Serpent Song," 1970).


Magyar Irodalmi Lexikon, 3 (1965).

[Baruch Yaron]