TANAÏS: KYKLONIO & TANAÏS: TWO POEM CYCLES COMMEMORATING THE HOLOCAUST OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF CRETE. Bilingual Edition.
Red Heifer Press. ISBN 978-0-9855199-3-3. 128 Pages. US$14.95
Publication Date: March 25, 2015
Just over 70 years ago, on June 9, 1944, the German merchant vessel Tanaïs was torpedoed by a British submarine off the coast of the Greek Island of Crete. The freighter was carrying 900 captive men and women destined for the slave camps and crematoria of mainland Europe. All perished in the attack--among them, 299 Jews comprising virtually the entire Jewish Community of Crete.
Among the handful of Jews who had evaded capture was the family of a small child named Iossif Ventura. Iossif survived to become a distinguished poet. In 2001 and 2009, respectively, Ventura published two poem cycles, Tanaïs and Kyklonio, commemorating the Greek Holocaust—particularly the destruction of the Jewish Community that had been his home. These poems stand out among all the poetry of the Holocaust for their eloquent tone, tempered grief, and surrealistic imagery. They are sincere and beautiful poems, a worthy memorial to the small but ancient Community that for at least 2300 years played an integral role in the economic and cultural life of the Island.
Red Heifer Press does not usually publish Holocaust poetry. Poetry comes cheap to those who have not lived what they write. Iossif Ventura lives the echoing void left by friends, playmates, cousins, uncles and aunts, in a small town haunted by his uprooted Jewish Heritage.
In Tanaïs & Kyklonio, Ventura’s grief, personal and authentic, is sublimated in verses that speak to the entire world. We are very honored to be issuing a bilingual edition of Tanaïs & Kyklonio, in which the original Greek is accompanied by a powerful English translation that is the collaborative effort of several distinguished poets and scholars
Publication and Book Launch will be held, in Athens, Greece, and Tehachapi, California, on March 25, 2015.