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Hanna Krall (born 1935), is a Polish writer with a degree in journalism from the Warsaw University, specializing among other subjects in the history of the Holocaust in occupied Poland.[1]

Hanna Krall
Hanna Krall.jpg
Warsaw, Poland
Occupationnovelist, journalist,
Notable awardsHerder Prize, 2005


Krall is of Jewish origin, the daughter of Salomon Krall and Felicia Jadwiga née Reichold. She was born in Warsaw, Poland,[2] but her date of birth is contested between 20 May 1935 and 20 May 1937.[3] She was four years old, living in Lublin, when the World War II began with the Nazi German invasion of Poland. Krall lost most of her close relatives in the Holocaust. She survived deportations to death camps only because she was hidden from the Germans by the Polish rescuers.[1]


After Krall finished her studies in journalism, she started working for the Polish local paper Życie Warszawy ("Warsaw Life") in 1955. In 1966 she left the paper and began to write for the well known magazine Polityka ("Politics"). Shortly after, Wojciech Jaruzelski, then Prime Minister of the former People's Republic of Poland, declared martial law, Krall left Polityka and wrote articles for the Gazeta Wyborcza some time later.


During Krall's time working for Polityka, she published her first book named Na wschód od Arbatu ("Heading east from Arbat") in 1972, written after she spent several years as a correspondent in Moscow. The book depicted day-to-day life in Moscow during the 1960s.

Commercial success came with the publication of Zdążyć przed Panem Bogiem (engl. title: Shielding the Flame). The book is about a Polish Jewish cardiologist and social activist, Marek Edelman, who was one of the founders of Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (Jewish Combat Organization) and who took over its leadership after the head-commander Mordechai Anielewicz had perished. Edelman was at that time the only living leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 'Shielding the Flame can be seen as a model for most of Krall's works. Krall describes the relations between Jews, Poles and Germans during the Holocaust and the years thereafter.

Her most recent success Król kier znów na wylocie ("Chasing the King of Hearts") has been translated into 17 languages an earned many awards since its publication in 2006, including the German Würth Preis for European Literature 2012 and the Found in Translation Award 2014.[4]

Pawel Huelle, Hanna Krall and Dorota Nowak discussion at the Literaturomania in Gdańsk, 2009

Apart from the central Holocaust theme, Krall's writings also reflect her search for her own identity, as can be seen very clearly in Dowody na istnienie ("Evidence for Existence"). Another theme in this book is the often complicated destiny of the Polish people in history and the influence of the past on people's lives in the present. Krall was a friend of Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, and inspired Decalogue Number 8 in the series of films made by these two men.


  1. ^ a b "Hanna Krall". Miejsce dla 2014. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  2. ^ Współcześni polscy pisarze i badacze literatury. Słownik biobibliograficzny, pod red. Jadwigi Czachowskiej i Alicji Szałagan. Warszawa 1996. Tom 4. ISBN 83-02-05974-9, s. 363
  3. ^ "Hanna Krall | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  4. ^ "Books: Chasing the King of Hears". English Pen. Retrieved March 25, 2019.


  • Adamczyk-Garbowska, Monika. "Hanna Krall." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. August 22, 2009