Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt was born Jürgen Arthur Goldschmidt in Reinbek near Hamburg in 1928. Because of their Jewish roots, the family, although converts to Protestantism in the 19th century, was persecuted by the Nazis. In 1938, Goldschmidt’s parents sent him and his older brother first to Italy and later to France. Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt attended a boarding school in the French Alps and was kept in hiding on a farm during the German occupation. After the war, he took French citizenship. He studied German at the Sorbonne and worked as a high school teacher until his retirement. Since the 1960s, he has also appeared as a writer, literary critic, and translator.
In his autobiographical works such as »Die Absonderung« (1991; tr: The Seperation), »Die Aussetzung« (1996; tr: The Suspension) and »Die Befreiung« (2007; tr: The Liberation), he repeatedly examined the experiences of his childhood and youth. In a 2018 interview with »ZEITmagazin«, Goldschmidt claimed that »It was writing that redeemed me. I’m over ninety now and yet I keep coming back to those years, it won’t let me go. It’s the time in my life when I began to understand the world and at the same time everything was taken away from me. Compared to that, my life after that is a calm flow.« His most recent publication is »Vom Nachexil« (2020; tr: From Post-Exile), in which Goldschmidt turns again to the most formative of all his experiences. »Once you have been driven into exile, you can’t get away from it for the rest of your life«, is the first sentence of the book, in which he recounts his memories in a linguistically precise and laconic manner, interspersed with reflective passages. »An entire era of German-Jewish life is contained in this slim but magnificent volume«, was the verdict of Deutschlandfunk Kultur. »A touching, stirring – a simply wonderful book.«
As a translator, Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt has translated works by Georg Büchner, Walter Benjamin, and Peter Handke, among others, into French. In his work writing literary essays, he has devoted himself to many themes including the literature of Franz Kafka and the analysis of the German language against the background of psychoanalysis. Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt has received many awards for his work, such as the Joseph Breitbach Prize in 2005. The jury’s testimony stated that Goldschmidt is »A literary border crosser who has transformed life and writing in two countries and languages into a poetic landscape of his own.« In 2015, he received the Sigmund Freud Culture Prize; in 2017, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern. Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt lives in Paris.