Eugen Relgis

Philosopher, Author

1895 – 1987

86

Who was Eugen Relgis?

Eugen D. Relgis was a Romanian writer, pacifist philosopher and anarchist militant, known as a theorist of humanitarianism. His internationalist dogma, with distinct echoes from Judaism and Jewish ethics, was first shaped during World War I, when Relgis was a conscientious objector. Infused with anarcho-pacifism and socialism, it provided Relgis with an international profile, and earned him the support of pacifists such as Romain Rolland, Stefan Zweig and Albert Einstein. Another, more controversial, aspect of Relgis' philosophy was his support for eugenics, which centered on the compulsory sterilization of "degenerates". The latter proposal was voiced by several of Relgis' essays and sociological tracts.

After an early debut with Romania's Symbolist movement, Relgis promoted modernist literature and the poetry of Tudor Arghezi, signing his name to a succession of literary and political magazines. His work in fiction and poetry alternates the extremes of Expressionism and didactic art, giving artistic representation to his activism, his pacifist vision, or his struggle with a hearing impairment. He was a member of several modernist circles, formed around Romanian magazines such as Sburătorul, Contimporanul or Şantier, but also close to the more mainstream journal Viaţa Românească. His political and literary choices made Relgis an enemy of both fascism and communism: persecuted during World War II, he eventually took refuge in Uruguay. From 1947 to the moment of his death, Relgis earned the respect of South American circles as an anarchist commentator and proponent of solutions to world peace, as well as a promoter of Latin American culture.

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Born
Mar 22, 1895
Iași
Also known as
  • Eugen D. Relgis
  • Siegler
  • Siegler Watchel
  • Eugenio Relgis
  • Eugène Relgis
  • Eugene Relgis
  • Eisig D. Sigler
  • Eugen Sigler
Nationality
  • Romania
Profession
Died
May 24, 1987
Montevideo

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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