Obituary: Alex Page, Professor Emeritus of English

Alex R. Page, 94, of Amherst, professor emeritus of English, died May 4.

Born in Košice, Czechoslovakia, in 1923, his family moved to Berlin, where his father worked in real estate. Alex and his younger brother, Walter, attended public schools, studying in German, their native language. When the Nazi regime began persecuting Jews after 1933, they were forced to attend the Goldschmidt School, with an English curriculum to prepare students for emigration.

Alex and his family moved to London in 1937, where his father renovated townhouses and built bomb shelters. Alex and his brother attended a boarding school outside of London. As Czech citizens, his family was able to obtain the right to emigrate to the U.S. and moved to Cleveland in 1940. He first helped support his family and attended night school. Then, in late 1944, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the counterintelligence corps in Shanghai, China.

With support of the GI Bill, he graduated with a B.A. from the University of Vermont and then attended Harvard University, graduating with a Ph.D. in English in 1953. He taught at Rutgers University’s Newark campus and then came to UMass Amherst in 1956, where he taught in the English department until retiring in 1986.

His area of scholarship was 18th century English literature, especially Jane Austen, the modern novel and comparative literature.

Among his publications, he translated works by Barlach, Goethe and the Czech dissident Pavel Kohout from German. He also wrote several radio plays that were produced in the U.S. and U.K., including “The Cancelled Sky” about his relatives’ last train ride to Auschwitz. With his wife, Anita, he translated German plays for children.

He was a longtime participant in the Amherst Common Peace Vigil against the war in Vietnam.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Anita Kumove; his sons Sasha and Max, a professor of architecture at UMass Amherst; and his sister-in-law Hedy.

Contributions can be made in his name to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, 211 Congress St., Boston 02110,, or the Pioneer Valley Worker Center, 20 Hampton Ave. #200, Northampton 01060 or