Jakov Lind


Jakov Lind (1927-2007) was born Heinz Jakov Landwirth into an educated Jewish family in Vienna. After the 1938 Anschluss, Lind and one of his sisters were sent for safety to Holland, from where they were join their parents in Palestine; this proved impossible, and following the occupation of Holland, Lind, who was already fluent in Dutch, had no choice but to go into hiding. Taking the name of Jan Gerrit Overbeek—”sailing under a false self,” as he would later describe it—he worked on a barge traveling up and down the Rhine. When the Allies began to bomb the industrial cities of the Rhine, Lind/Overbeek moved to Germany, where he was employed by a Nazi government ministry in Berlin. The end of the war allowed Lind to join his family in Palestine, but it was not long before he returned to Europe, studying drama in Vienna and, in 1954, settling in London, where he began work on the stories that were published in 1962 as Soul of Wood. Lind’s other books in German include the novels Landscape in Concrete and Ergo and, in English, four volumes of autobiography, two novels, and numerous stories. Lind was also a playwright and film director, as well as a talented visual artist. In a eulogy delivered at Lind’s funeral, Anthony Rudolf described Lind as “A coyote, a trickster…. A wicked smile played around his mouth, while witty aphorisms and deep insights tripped off his lips. He emanated inner strength—and an electric intelligence that we all wanted to emulate.”

Books
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    Soul of Wood

    Lind’s stories of the Second World War and its repercussions deal masterfully with a world of horror through fantasy, paradox, and sardonic distortion and bring to life the agonies of twentieth-century Europe. “It is amazing that he is witty; it is not at all surprising that he is profound.” —The New York Times