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Birthplace of Paul Celan
Birthplace of Paul Celan

Birthplace of Paul Celan

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Saksahans'koho St, 5
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The house, in front of which you are standing, for a long time used to be considered as a place of birth of Paul Celan – a well-known German language poet of Jewish origin. In 1992 on the initiative of the Austrian Literature Society the memorial plaque was placed on the façade of the building. However, in 2007 Edit Gubermann, a cousin of the poet, indicated the other, neighboring building. Until nowadays it is unclear where was the first place of residence of the future poet who would write the famous “Death fugue”. However, it is known for sure that on November 23, 1920 a boy named Paul Antschel was born in a flat on the ground floor of the building #5 in Wasilko Street. Later Paul would rearrange letters of his surname forming an anagram “Tschelan” or “Celan” as it is known in the history of the world literature.

Until 1935, the Antschels lived on Wasilko Street. It was from here that Paul was brought to the private German language kindergarten of Mrs. Meisler, considered to be an elite institution. Later, Paul walked to the primary school of “Safah Ivriah”, where he learned Hebrew, and then he attended a Romanian State Orthodox Gymnasium, playing with his peers and dreaming about the world behind the chestnut trees in the yard. Later these dreams would be mirrored in a poem «Drüben» (“On the Other Side”), which he probably wrote in 1940/41.

In the spring of 1935, the Antschels moved to a new flat on Masaryk Street 10 – today the street is called Bohomoltsya. In 1938 Paul moved to Paris where studied at the university. He returned in the summer of 1939 for holidays, but he had to stay because the war began. In October 1941, the Antschels were forced to move to the ghetto. They managed to escape the first wave of deportations to Transnistria, but in June 1942, the parents were deported to Transnistria where they perished. Paul avoided being deported by hiding, then he survived the Holocaust in a Romanian labor camp. After the war, he moved to Paris via Bucharest and Vienna. In 1970 he committed suicide in Paris.

Close to his birthplace, you can visit the Celan Literature Center and a Monument on Holovna Street that is dedicated to Chernivtsi’s famous son – one of the most influential poets in world literature.

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