Memorial plaque to Leja Goldberg in Kaunas


Famous Hebrew poet Leja Goldberg sometimes is called as Princess Leja between her fans. This princess of Hebrew poems found her talent when she was still a schoolgirl in interwar Kaunas. Although today Leja is mostly remembered as a melancholic poet, her love for a written word spread through novels, plays, and children’s stories as well.


Leja Goldberg was born in 1911 in Königsberg,  but in early childhood, she moved with her family to her parent’s hometown – Kaunas. Kaunas was the first city Leja remembered later. She went to the Jewish gymnasium in Kaunas, and after the gymnasium, she enrolled in Semitic and German languages studies at Lithuanian university in Kaunas. The talented girl continued her studies at Bona university, in 1934 she got her Ph.D. After her studies, Leja returned to Lithuania and tried working as a Hebrew language and literature teacher in Tarbut gymnasium in Raseniai, but soon she realized that this will never be enough for her.

Leja Goldberg chose an academic career path, but she never forgot her writing aspirations. Her first writing attempts dated back to middle school and she continued writing while studying in university as well. In 1935 young woman decided to emigrate to Palestine and later there she was recognized as a poet with extraordinary talent. She wrote poems, worked in the theater as a playwriter, and continued her academic career at Jerusalem university.


In 2010 in Kaunas, a memorial plaque to scholar and poet Leja Goldberg has been hanged on the wall of previous Jewish gymnasium building (Mindaugas pr. 11). This memorial plaque by Balys Gudas reminds us in Lithuanian, English and Hebrew languages of this extraordinary woman and its relation with Kaunas.


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