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Lajos Biró (Blau)


BIRÓ (Blau), LAJOS (1880–1948), Hungarian author and playwright. Biró was born in Vienna. He studied in Hungary, and became a journalist working for the liberal Budapesti Napló and the radical Vil g. In 1906, for political reasons, he went with his family to Berlin, but returned to Budapest in 1909. During the October Revolution of 1918, Biró was appointed secretary of state at the Foreign Ministry. However, he left Hungary and finally settled in Great Britain, where together with Sir Alexander *Korda he founded the London Film Production Company, of which he remained a director until his death. Biró's Hungarian writing covered short stories and drama. The former included Huszonegy novella ("Twenty one short stories," 1908) and Kunsz ll si emberek ("People of Kunszállás," 1912), and among his plays were Sárga liliom ("Yellow Lily," 1912) and Hotel Imperial (1917). In his later years he turned to writing film scripts, of which the most famous were The Way of All Flesh and The Private Life of Henry VIII. In 1921, when living in Vienna, he published A bazini zsidók ("The Jews of Bazin"), a story about a blood libel in 1529, when the entire Jewish community of a village near Pressburg was tortured and burned to death. In this vivid description, Biró depicts the fate of the Jew in the Diaspora. In his essay, A zsidók útja (1921, "The Way of the Jews") he rejected both assimilation and Jewish nationalism, defining the Jewish question as unanswerable, but enthusiastically accepting the existence and continuity of the Jewish people.


Magyar Zsidó Lexikon (1929), 126; Magyar Irodalmi Lexikon (1963), 165–6.

[Baruch Yaron]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.