Henry Tylbor, 79, Child Survivor of Ghetto Uprising

Obituary

By Lana Gersten

Published March 11, 2009, issue of March 20, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Henry Tylbor, one of the youngest survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and a survivor of Budzyn and other camps, died February 24 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

After the Uprising: Tylbor traveled, translated books and taught sociology and linguistics.
WENDY GITTLER
After the Uprising: Tylbor traveled, translated books and taught sociology and linguistics.

According to his wife, Wendy Gittler, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 15 years ago.

Born in Warsaw, Tylbor was 13 years old in April 1943, when residents of the Warsaw Ghetto staged an armed revolt against Nazi troops, the largest single revolt by Jews against the Nazis during WorId War II. During the uprising, Tylbor stayed in underground bunkers for nine days. He survived, only to be transported to Auschwitz and satellite camps of the Majdanek concentration camp. Eventually, the French liberated him and his father.

After the war, he separated from his father, with whom he was never close, and resettled in New York, taking odd jobs to make a living. Having spent his teenage years as a peripatetic, having been moved around Europe to different concentration camps, he had a penchant for languages and spoke about 7 fluently. He became interested in linguistics after sitting in on classes of the influential Russian linguist Roman Jakobson at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was persuaded to study linguistics with Professor A.J. Greimas at the University of Paris.

“He was a polymath,” said Gittler, who added that he took an interest in neuropsychology and was fascinated in particular with problems of aphasia and memory loss.

Tylbor traveled to Europe many more times in the course of his work as a book reviewer, combing bookstores everywhere from France to Turkey in search of foreign books to review for the American publishing companies Basic Books, HarperTorch and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. He also translated books, taught sociology and linguistics, and lectured about his Holocaust experiences at universities around the country, including Duke University, Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania. He co-authored an important article on language and culture in the book “Dialogic Emergence of Culture.”

“He had a restless spirit of constant movement, and in that, the desire for constant knowledge. His only real world was his books, because everything else was perishable,” Gittler said. “When we took our trips to Europe, he took an enormous duffel case with him and it was filled with books.”

He is survived by his wife, whom he met in 1976. The couple has no children.






Find us on Facebook!
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.