Polish literature

photo: Ela Lempp

Wilhelm Dichter

Born in Boryslaw (now in the Ukraine) in 1935, Wilhelm Dichter has lived in Tewkesbury, Massachusetts since 1968.

As a child, he survived the nightmare of the Nazi Occupation by hiding along with his parents in a box in an acquaintance's attic and, later, in a well. His father died before the war ended and Dichter moved to southern Poland with his mother before finally settling in Warsaw. He left Poland during the anti-Semitic campaign of 1968 and has worked in the US as a computer specialist. Only in his sixties did he begin writing his life's story; God's Horse, published in Krakow in 1996, became a literary sensation and was nominated the following year for the Nike Prize, the top Polish literary award. Dichter is not just another memoirist; rather, he builds his story like a novel, reconstructing the consciousness of the boy narrator of so many years ago, painting suggestive images and chiseling his language down to a spare literary instrument that effectively portrays the atmosphere of the 1940s. Few books tell us so much about the consciousness of Poles of Jewish origins, both in the times of the worst repression and in the periods when they held high official positions and constituted a privileged caste. Dichter is currently writing the next volume of his memoirs, which will cover the post-war years in Poland.


  • Koń Pana Boga, Kraków: Znak, 1996.
  • Szkoła bezbożników, Kraków: Znak, 1999.
  • Lekcja angielskiego, Kraków: Znak, 2010.



  • Kun Pana Boha, Votobia 1997.


  • Paard van God, Querido Uitgeverij 1998.


  • God's horse and the atheists' school [Koń Pana Boga. Szkoła bezbożników], trans. Madeline G. Levine, Evanston: Northwestern University Press 2012


  • La cheval du Bon Dieu, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1998.


  • Das Pferd Gottes, Berlin: Rowohlt, 1998.
  • Rosenthals Vermächtnis, Berlin: Rowohlt, 2000.


  • Herrans häst, trans. Irena Grönberg, Stockholm: Tranan, 2003.