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The most diligent of all

By Anna Majchrowska

Because of his difficult financial condition, Perec Opoczyński couldn’t fully dedicate himself to literature. „I have always felt that need, but never had material possibilities to devote myself to it”, he wrote. Before the war, he was a writer and a journalist; in the Warsaw Ghetto, he managed to find a job as a postman. His daily wanderings through the walled district and observing the nightmare of daily existence there inspired a series of detailed reportages, which he contributed to the Ringelblum Archive. He was most likely killed in a manhunt in January 1943. 15 October marks 127th anniversary of Perec Opoczyński’s birth.

Perec Opoczyński was born on 15 October 1892 in Lutomiersk near Łódź, in a poor, religious family. Perec’s father, Simcha Eliezer, linked Hassidic piety with interest in secular literature and culture. Because his mother’s wish was for him to become a rabbi, after his father’s death he enrolled in a yeshiva in Łask, and later in a progressive Talmudic school in Kossovo in Lithuania, where he learned Polish and Russian.

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