Esther Hautzig

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Esther R. Hautzig (Hebrew : אסתר האוציג, born October 18, 1930 – died November 1, 2009 in America) was an American writer, best known for her award-winning book The Endless Steppe (1968).


Esther Hautzig (previously known as Esther Rudomin) was born in Wilno, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania). Her childhood was gravely interrupted by the beginning of World War II and the conquest in 1941 of eastern Poland by Soviet troops. Her family was uprooted and deported to Rubtsovsk, Siberia, where Esther spent the next five years in harsh exile. Her award-winning novel The Endless Steppe is an autobiographical account of those years in Siberia. After the war, when she was 15, she and her family moved back to Poland, although in her heart, Esther wanted to stay. Hautzig reportedly wrote The Endless Steppe at the prompting of Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, to whom she had written after reading his articles about his visit to Rubtsovsk.

Personal life and death

Rudomin met Walter Hautzig, a concert pianist, while en route to America on a student visa in 1947. They married in 1950, and had two children, Deborah, a children's author, and David. She died on November 1, 2009, aged 79, from a combination of congestive heart failure and complications from Alzheimers disease. [1]

Hautzig helped to discover and eventually publish the master's thesis in mathematics [2] written by her uncle Ela-Chaim Cunzer (1914-1943/44) at the University of Wilno in 1937. Cunzer was taught, among others, by Antoni Zygmund. Cunzer died in a concentration camp.


Many of Hautzig's works are books about everyday life for pre-adolescent and early adolescent children. They encourage exploration and activity. Her Four languages books are written in English, Spanish, French, and Russian.

She maintained deep connections with the expatriate Yiddish literary community. She corresponded with Chaim Potok [3] and wrote the introduction for a new edition of Israel Cohen's cultural history of Vilna (Vilnius) [4] . Hautzig's book The Endless Steppe has appeared in dozens of editions and has been translated into many languages, including Catalan, Dutch, Danish, English (Braille), French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Japanese, Sinhalese, and Swedish. [5]

Everyday life

Culture and history

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  1. "Esther Hautzig, Author of Wartime Survival Tale, Dies at 79", Joseph Berger, New York Times, November 3, 2009.
  2. Cunzer, Ela-Chaim (1937). Wlordarski, Krzysztof (translator) (ed.). On convex and subharmonic functions (Catalog entry for translated manuscript). Spencertown, NY: E. R. Hauztig. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  3. Chaim Potok papers, folder 889. 1993–2000.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  4. Cohen, Israel. Vilna (1992 ed.). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
  5. "All editions for Endless Steppe". Worldcat.