Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: March 2018

László Salamon, Romania (Hungarian mother tongue), biography

from Part I - Camp Life: The Reality 1933–1945


László Salamon was born in 1891 in Oradea, Romania. He began writing his first poems in his mother tongue, Hungarian, while he was a grammar school pupil. He was seriously injured in the First World War, where he served as an officer. After the war, during the time of the declaration of the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic, among other independent socialist or anarchist republics (or soviets) across parts of central and eastern Europe, he worked closely alongside the philosopher György Lukács as a professor of Hungarian, Latin, and philosophy and was sentenced to four years imprisonment by the Court of the Counterrevolution. After his release, he was the founder of several socialist journals, such as Auróra and A Másik Ut. He also worked as editor of the culture section of the journal Új Kelet until it was banned in 1940, as well as on numerous Hungarian and foreign journals. Over twenty volumes of his poems and essays have appeared in Hungarian.

His wife, Ella Salamon, tells of his detention and deportation: “When the Gestapo came to Cluj-Napoca … he was immediately arrested and taken to prison. Then he was taken to the ghetto and from there deported to Auschwitz, and later to other concentration camps including Dachau and its external camp of Kaufering near Landsberg, where he created some of his poems. It's worth mentioning that the Gestapo only learnt after his deportation that he was the author and publisher of a 1933 satirical epic about Adolf Hitler. The Gestapo then tried in vain to reach the train, but it had already left….”

In spite of the most adverse circumstances, Salamon witnessed the liberation of Dachau from the external camp of Allach and then returned to his homeland.

His wife offered the following explication of his poems, which she presented for this collection: “The bitter tone of many of his poems, which he wrote in Kaufering, is explained by the fact that he had been told that his loved ones—including his wife—had been killed….”

Fortunately, on his return he found his spouse, whom he had presumed dead, alive. He lived with her and their daughter in Cluj-Napoca until his death in 1983.