Joachim Neugroschel (January 13, 1938 – May 23, 2011) was a well-known literary translator from French, German, Italian, Russian, and Yiddish. He also published poetry and was a poetry magazine founder.


Joachim Neugroschel was born in Vienna on January 13, 1938. His father was Yiddish Galician poet Mendel (Max) Neugroschel. The family immigrated to Rio de Janeiro in 1939, and eventually arrived in New York City in 1941. He grew up in New York City and graduated from Bronx Science in 1954, and Columbia University in 1958 with a degree in English and Comparative Literature. He then moved to Paris and then Berlin. He returned to New York six years later and became a literary translator.

Neugroschel translated more than 200 books of numerous authors, including Sholem Aleichem, Bergelson, Chekhov, Dumas, Hesse, Kafka, Mann, Moliere, Maupassant, Proust, Schweitzer, Singer and modern writers such as Ernst Jünger, Elfriede Jelinek and Tahar Ben Jelloun. His Yiddish translations of The Dybbuk by S. Ansky, and God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, were produced and reached wide audience. He was the winner of three PEN Translation Awards, the 1994 French-American Translation Prize, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in German Literature (1998).[1] In 1996 he was also made a Chevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.[2]

Although his father was a native Yiddish speaker, Neugroschel did not speak the language and self-taught it in the 1970s. In a 2006 interview to Eclectica Magazine, he described his approach to translation as follows:

I never read a book before translating it. No reason to. I do not translate the words literally. Only a bad translator would translate literally.

Neugroschel died May 23, 2011 in Brooklyn, N.Y. at the age of 73. He is survived by his legal guardian and former partner, Aaron Mack Schloff.[3]