Sunday 24 June 2018


ROKHL (RACHEL) ERTEL (b. July 13, 1939)
            She was born in Slonim, Poland, the daughter of Moyshe Valdman.  She and her mother were exiled in Kazakhstan during WWII.  She returned to Poland in 1946 and moved to Paris in 1948.  She later became a professor of American literature at Paris 7.  In addition to being a translator, she has published numerous essays in French journals on Yiddish literature: H. Leivick, Avrom Sutzkever, and Elie Wiesel, among others.  She also placed work in Encyclopédie Clarté (1975) and Encyclopédie Universalis (1979).  In book form, she has written about the Jewish American novel—Le Roman juif américain, une écriture minoritaire (The American Jewish novel, a minority piece) (Paris: Payot, 1980), 389 pp.—and the shtetl—such as in Le Monde perdu du Shtetl (The lost world of the shtetl) (Paris, 1984).  She has translated a series of books from Yiddish into French, such as: Mendl Man, Bay der vaysl (On the vistula) as Sur la Vistule (Paris, 1979), 319 pp.; Eli Shekhtman, Erev (On the eve) as À la Veille de (Paris, 1964), 317 pp.; H. Leivick, poète de notre siècle (H. Leivick, poet of our century), including fragments of his dramatic works (Paris, 1967); Shaye Shpigl, Flamen fun der erd (Flames from the earth) as Les Flammes de la terre (Paris: Gallimard, 1973), 202 pp.; Shpigl, Shtign tsum himl (Climbing to heaven) as Une échelle vers le ciel (Paris: Gallimard, 1979), 254 pp.; and Menukhe Ram,[1] Vintn (Winds) as Le vent qui passe (Paris: Juilliand, 1974), 234 pp.  She lives in Paris.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 419-20.

[1] Translator’s note.  This was a pen name of her mother Rivke Valdman. (JAF)

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