Menachem Kaiser named winner of Sami Rohr literature prize for 2022

The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature is given in association with the National Library of Israel.

 Menachem Kaiser documents his journey in “Plunder." (photo credit: BEOWULF SHEEHAN/HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT VIA JTA)
Menachem Kaiser documents his journey in “Plunder."
(photo credit: BEOWULF SHEEHAN/HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT VIA JTA)

Menachem Kaiser, author of Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure, was named on Tuesday as the 2022 winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature is given in association with the National Library of Israel.

Kaiser’s book tells the story of his Holocaust-survivor grandfather’s former battle to reclaim the family’s apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland. Plunder is a deeply immersive adventure story and a daring interrogation of inheritance — material, spiritual, familial and emotional.

The $100,000 prize is granted annually, for non-fiction and fiction in alternating years, to an emerging writer who demonstrates the potential for continued contribution to the world of Jewish literature.

"Our family is thrilled to honor Menachem Kaiser together with Ayala Fader, Danny Abebe and Eylon Levy, for their important contributions to Jewish literature, culture and community," said George Rohr. "Each of their books expresses the spirit of the Sami Rohr Prize by focusing on central issues facing the Jewish people.”

 Sami Rohr (credit: Courtesy of Sami Rohr Prize) Sami Rohr (credit: Courtesy of Sami Rohr Prize)

“What an extraordinary honor!” Kaiser said. “The Sami Rohr Prize represents a deep and continuing commitment to Jewish literature, and I'm beyond humbled and gratified to have been selected as this year's recipient.” 

This year’s finalists included: Ayala Fader, author of Hidden Heretics: Jewish Doubt in the Digital Age, Danny Adeno Abebe, author of From Africa to Zion and Eylon Levy, translator of From Africa to Zion.

“We welcome this year’s authors to the SRP family, and we proudly extend the reach of the Prize to include achievement in the art of translation," said Debra Goldberg, Director of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. “Recognizing this important link in the chain of literary craftsmanship will contribute to making meaningful Jewish literary work accessible to a broader audience.”