Portrait of the Author as a Historian: Imre Kertész

Struggling to make sense of the Holocaust, one Hungarian novelist came to the startling realisation that the 20th century’s darkest moment might not yield any lessons for posterity.

Imre Kertesz. (Getty Images)

In April 1945 Imre Kertész was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp. Not yet 16 years old, he had been transferred there after narrowly escaping death at Auschwitz the previous year and had endured months of cruel mistreatment at the Nazis’ hands. 

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