Jerzy Kosinski

Jerzy Kosiński was a Polish-American author who wrote primarily in English and was two-time president of the American Chapter of P.E.N. His most notable works are Being There (1970) and "The Painted Bird" (1965), both were adapted as films in 1979 and 2019, respectively.

Kosiński's novels made the New York Times bestseller list and have been translated into more than 30 languages, with total sales in 1991 estimated at 70 million copies.

Józef Lewinkopf, who later adopted the name Jerzy Kosiński, was born into a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland. His early years were marked by the harsh realities of World War II, during which he and his family lived under false identities to evade Nazi persecution.

Thanks to the assistance of courageous individuals, including a Catholic priest named Eugeniusz Okoń and members of an underground network, the Lewinkopf family survived the Holocaust in central Poland.

After the war, Kosiński and his parents relocated to Jelenia Góra. Demonstrating academic prowess, he earned advanced degrees in history and sociology from the University of Łódź by the age of 22. Kosiński went on to work as a teaching assistant at the Polish Academy of Sciences and served as a sharpshooter in the Polish Army.

In 1957, Jerzy Kosiński embarked on a journey to the United States, employing a fabricated foundation as his supposed sponsor. He later admitted to forging letters from influential communist authorities to secure his departure from Poland, as per the country's requirements at the time.

Upon arriving in the U.S., Kosiński initially held various odd jobs, including truck driving, while pursuing his education. He eventually obtained a degree from Columbia University and attained American citizenship in 1965. Kosiński's literary endeavors were supported by prestigious grants such as the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967 and the Ford Foundation in 1968.

In 1970, he received the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Letters award for literature, which opened doors for him to become a lecturer at renowned institutions such as Yale, Princeton, Davenport, and Wesleyan Universities.

Beyond his writing, Kosiński explored photography, showcasing his works in exhibitions in Warsaw and New York.

In his personal life, he had two marriages, including a union with American steel heiress Mary Hayward Weir in 1962, which ended in divorce four years later. Kosiński's second marriage was to Katherina "Kiki" von Fraunhofer, a marketing consultant and descendant of Bavarian nobility.

In the latter part of his life, Jerzy Kosiński faced several challenges, including debilitating health issues and accusations of plagiarism from journalists. Struggling with an irregular heartbeat, he tragically took his own life on May 3, 1991, by consuming a lethal combination of alcohol and drugs, suffocating himself with a plastic bag.

In his suicide note, Kosiński expressed his intent to find eternal peace. His remains were cremated and scattered his ashes in the waters at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic.
vida del autor: 14 Junio 1933 3 Mayo 1991


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