Vale Irit Amiel z”l (1931-2021)

February 24, 2021
Source: Alon Goldman

It was with great sadness that the World Society learned of the passing of writer and poet Irit Amiel Z”l, who has passed away at the age of ninety. Irit was born in Częstochowa, as Irena Librowicz, on May 5, 1931, to a modern Jewish family. Częstochowa is where she spent her childhood.

In 1941, she and her family were moved into the local ghetto. Just prior to its liquidation, in September 1942, her parents managed to extract her from the ghetto. Irit’s parents, Leon and Natalia Librowicz, died in the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942.

Under a false identity and using false documents. Irit hid in the village of Pocieszna Górka near Piotrków Trybunalski. At the end of World War II, she returned to her hometown where, for a short time, she studied attended high school. With the help of the “Ha’Bricha” organisation, she left for Israel in late 1945. Together with a group of young people, she managed to reach Israel in December 1947, having passed through displaced persons camps in Germany (Biberach an der Riss), Italy (Turin) and Cyprus.

At the beginning of her career in Israel, she lived in Kibbutz Beit Hashita and, from 1949, in Kibbutz Palmachim. It was there that she met Chozi Amiel, whom she married in 1953.

In the late 1970’s, Irit Amiel studied philology, history and literary history at the Open University of Israel. Between 1981 and 1985, she undertook translation studies at Beit Berl and began translating literary texts from Hebrew to Polish and from Polish to Hebrew.

She made her literary debut in 1994 with an anthologyn of Hebrew poems in a book about the Holocaust. A Polish-language edition of the same book was published in that same year. Other literary works followed, all of which were also published in Poland. These include poetry entitled “I Could Not” (1998), “Test in the Holocaust” (1994, 1998), “Here and There” (1999), “Breathe Deeply” (2002) and prose entitled “Burned” (1999), “Dual Display” (2008 ) And “Life – a Temporary Title” (2014). She has twice been nominated for a Nike Literary Award.

Her works have also been published in English, German, Italian and Hungarian.

In May 2014, as part of the “Aleja tu się dziejie” Festival, for the last time, Irit visited Częstochowa with her daughter and took this opportunity to walk with her through her childhood areass. This visit was filmed and a doumentary was made entitled “And Yet I Won – To jednak ja zwyciężyłam”. To view the video, click HERE.

On 29th August 2014, the City of Częstochowa conferred on Irit Amiel an Honorary Award for her cultural activities. The award was presented to her, at her home in Ramat Hen, by our World Society Vice-President Alon Goldman, on behalf of the Mayor of Częstochowa.

We wish her family long life – may her memory be a blessing to her family and to all who knew her.