Celan was born Paul Antschel in 1920 in Chernivtsi, now in the Ukraine but then in Romania. At home his Jewish family spoke German, the language in which he would write as a poet. During the Second World War, Celan’s parents were deported and both died in the camps: Celan himself was imprisoned in a forced labour camp but survived. After the war he emigrated to Paris, where he killed himself in 1970. Follow this link to YouTube to hear him read “Todesfüge”, his great poem written around 1944-45 about the Holocaust, accompanied by an English translation.
This poet page is dedicated to the memory of Dinah Cannell.