Ivan Ivanji

Born 1924 in Bečkerek, Yugoslavia (now Zrenjanin, Serbia)

Ivan Ivanji was born in the Banat region of south-eastern Europe. He was living with his uncle in Novi Sad in what is now Serbia when Germany invaded the country. At the end of April 1944, he was arrested on account of his Jewish heritage and deported via the camps in Subotica and Baja to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he arrived on 27 May 1944. In June 1944, he was sent from Auschwitz to Buchenwald, where he survived several different subcamps.

After the war ended, Ivan Ivanji returned to Yugoslavia in September 1945. He attended the technical school in Novi Sad and then worked as a teacher in Belgrade. He subsequently held various jobs in the cultural sector, including as an editor and writer. From the 1950s he worked as an interpreter for the Yugoslav government and accompanied Josip Broz Tito on his trips.

Ivan Ivanji has published numerous literary works in Serbian and German, as well as translations of Günther Grass, Bertolt Brecht, Max Frisch and Heinrich Böll. He has been a critical friend to the Buchenwald Memorial for years. In 2019, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Free State of Thuringia.

Find out more

Ivan Ivanji: Corona in Buchenwald, Wien 2021.

Deutsche Welle feature by Nemanja Rujevic: Ivan Ivanji: Prisoner of the Nazis, communist, author, from 07.06.2018