“Fatelessness,” his most famous book, was based largely on his teenage experiences in Nazi death camps. Kertesz’s work frequently reflected on the fate of the individual in a totalitarian environment.
Writer Peter Esterhazy said the works of Kertesz needed to be read again and again.
Kertesz was “great Hungarian writer, even if his relationship with the nation was, to put it delicately, not without drama,” Esterhazy said.
Writer Gyorgy Spiro described Kertesz was “the freest man” he knew during the decades when Hungary was under communism.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German parliament speaker Norbert Lammert were among those paying their respects at the ceremony. Kertesz lived in Germany for many years before returning to Hungary a few years ago.
Born in Budapest on Nov. 9, 1929, Kertesz was 14 when he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland in June 1944. He later was transferred to the Buchenwald camp from where he was liberated in 1945.
Among his other books were “Fiasco” (1988) and “Kaddish for a Child Not Born” (1990) — which formed a trilogy with “Fatelessness” — “Someone Else” (1997), “The K File” (2006), an autobiographical novel, and “Europe’s Depressing Heritage” (2008).
Kertesz, 86, died at his Budapest home on March 31.
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