Blog Archives

‘Write, though all is broken, on the sky’: Miklós Radnóti, a twentieth century Hungarian poet-hero

In this special guest blog post, Kim Sherwood writes about the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti

When I turn onto Radnóti Miklós utca, I am not expecting it. I did not know the poet Miklós Radnóti, who died in a mass grave in 1944, had been given a street name in Budapest. I stand under this act of remembrance with the shrill delight of children ringing from a nearby playground, and cry.

I hadn’t expected Miklós Radnóti in my novel, Testament, either. Testament is about the impact of the Holocaust on three generations of a family, and stretches from 1944 in Hungary to the present day. The novel explores identity, memory, and the role of art in survival.

I had been drawn to write about the Hungarian forced labour service, a system unique to Hungary, in which Jews, Communists and others worked in slave labour units attached to the German and Hungarian military and paramilitary across Europe, clearing minefields with their bare hands, digging trenches, laying railroad. Read the rest of this entry