Google Doodle honors Nobel laureate who fled Nazis

Jewish writer Nelly Sachs, who penned works about the Holocaust, is celebrated on her birthday.

December 10, 2018 17:49
1 minute read.
Google Doodle in honor of Nelly Sachs

Google Doodle in honor of Nelly Sachs. (photo credit: GOOGLE/DANIEL STOLLE)


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Monday’s Google Doodle – the little drawing adorning the Google homepage – was dedicated to the late Jewish writer Nelly Sachs.

The doodle – which is displayed to users in the US, Israel, the UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria – depicts a typewriter at the center, and a plane fleeing a burning Germany for the safety of Sweden. It was drawn by German/Finnish artist Daniel Stolle, and released on what would have been Sachs’s 127th birthday. She died in 1970 in Stockholm.

Sachs, who was born in Berlin in 1891, grew up in a Jewish family and studied dance and literature. At the start of World War II, Sachs and her mother fled to Sweden with the aid of her friend, fellow writer Selma Lagerlöf. Sachs reached safety shortly before she was due to report to a concentration camp.

Sachs worked as a writer and translator, and wrote powerful plays about the Holocaust and her family members who were murdered. In 1947, she penned one of her bestknown poems, “O die Schornsteine,” (O the Chimneys), about the Auschwitz death camp. In 1967, the poem was translated into English and chosen as the title work for a collection of Sachs’s poetry.

Sachs’s most famous play was 1951’s Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels (Eli: A Mystery Play of the Sufferings of Israel). The play focuses on the murder of a young Jewish boy in Poland. Eli was killed by a soldier who hit him with his rifle butt while deporting his parents to a death camp. Sachs explores themes of mysticism, guilt and redemption in the unforgettable tale.

In 1966, Sachs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature along with Israel’s S.Y. Agnon. Accepting the prize, Sachs noted that Agnon represented Israel, whereas “I represent the tragedy of the Jewish people.”

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