Erich Fried


Erich Fried (1921-1988), one of the foremost German poets in the post-War era, was born into a Jewish family in Vienna. After killing of his father by Gestapo, he had to flee from Austria and took refuge in England where he spent rest of his life sticking to and writing in his mother tongue; German.


I am the ashes
of my flames
whose firewood
I became
which knocked me to pieces
as I was an ax
by my hands
which burned me
untill I searched
in my ashes


( Ashes)



Erich Fried had been associated with BBC as a political commentator.  He translated from English into German; rendered Shakespeare into German, he wrote essays, but he is primarily known by his poems that are terse, epigrammatic and have a certain playfulness of language about them.


Don't doubt of

the one

who's saying

he has fear

but be fear


who's saying

he's without a doubt


(Fear & Doubt)



Erich Fried tried his hand at composing poetry in English too, but such efforts leave a lot to be desired.

In the closing years of his life he regained his Austrian nationality, but also retained his British citizenship and continued to live in England.  He died in Baden-Baden, Germany and was buried in England.


A literary prize is named after him in his country of origin – Austria.



 Dr. Aftab Husain