Claude Vigee

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Claude Vigée (born Claude Strauss on January 3, 1921 in Bischwiller , Alsace ; died on October 2, 2020 in Paris ) was a French poet who spoke French , Alsatian and West Yiddish . He described himself as “a Jew and an Alsatian, so twice an Alsatian and twice a Jew”.


Vigée came from an old family of Alsatian cloth merchants . He spent his youth in Bischwiller, then went to high school in Strasbourg . Expelled from Alsace in 1940 by the German invasion, he began studying medicine at the University of Toulouse before joining the Resistance . There he took the name Vigée (alluding to Vie, j'ai, meaning "I have life").

In 1942 he published his first poems in the underground magazine Poésie 42 . In 1943 he fled to the United States , where he received his doctorate in Romance studies in 1947 . He taught French language and literature successively at Ohio State University , Wellesley College, and Brandeis University . Since 1950 he has published his poems regularly in France. From 1960 to 2001 he lived in Israel , where he taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem until his retirement in 1983 . On March 18, 2000, the Claude Vigée cultural center was inaugurated in his hometown of Bischwiller .

Vigée last lived in Paris.

The subject of Vigée's poetry was, among other things, the examination of the suffering of the Jews, the Alsatians , the Alsatian Jews and the Jews in Alsace, but also the beauty and transience of the simple, rural heritage. The pursuit of peace and interpersonal unity is a recurring motif.

Vigée has won numerous prizes, including the Jacob Burckhardt Prize from the Basel Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Foundation (1977), the Johann Peter Hebel Prize (1984) and the Würth Prize for European Literature (2002) and the Elisabeth Langgässer Literature Prize (2003).

Works (selection)

  • La lutte avec l'ange (1950)
  • La corne du grand pardon (1954)
  • L'été india (1957)
  • Le poème du retour (1962)
  • Le passage du vivant
  • Dans le creuset du vent
  • Danser vers l'abîme
  • Dans le silence de l'Aleph (1992)
  • Les Puits d'eau vive (1993)
  • Treize inconnus de la Bible (1996)
  • Être poète pour que les hommes vivent (2006)

Web links and literature

  • Literature by and about Claude Vigée in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Claude Vigee. In: March 9, 2018(French, biography, bibliography, catalog raisonné, poems).;
  • Jürg-Peter Lienhard: Claude Vigée's hour. In: November 7, 2008 .;
  • Astrid Starck-Adler: Le yidich occidental (alsacien) dans l'œuvre de Claude Vigée. In: La Terre et le Souffle. Colloque Claude VIGEE. Cerisy-la-Salle, 1988. Albin Michel 1992.
  • Paul Assall: Vigée, Claude. In: Andreas B. Kilcher (Ed.): Metzler Lexicon of German-Jewish Literature. Jewish authors in the German language from the Enlightenment to the present. 2nd, updated and expanded edition. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02457-2 , p. 518 f.


  1. ^ Le poète est mort le 2 octobre: ​​Claude Vigée une vigie disparaît. In: . October 3, 2020, accessed October 3, 2020 (French).
  2. ^ Claude Vigée: Le Fond et la forme. In: July 28, 1972, accessed on October 3, 2020 (French, conversation with Claude Vigée).