Ilya Ehrenburg

Ilya Grigorevich Ehrenburg

1891 (Kiev) – 1967 (Moscow)

Picasso, Léger, Apollinaire and Modigliani became friends in Paris before WWI (he organised Picasso’s first show in Russia). He travelled to Georgia together with his friend Mandelstam; other Moscow friends included Mayakovsky, Tsvetaeva and Pasternak (whose work he later criticised.) He met Neruda in Chile, Hemingway — whom he desribed as thin — in Spain and Steinbeck in the U.S. He persuaded Malraux to go to the USSR, and worked with Grossman to document the oppression of Soviet Jews. An early supporter of Akhmatova’s poetry, he tried to get her son freed from political imprisonment in Siberia.