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            Panait Istrati


            Panait Istrate was born in the Danube port Braila in Romania, on 11 August 1884 to Joita Istrate, an unmarried house cleaner. It seams that a Greek smuggler named Valsamis, partner to Joita's father, was his father. At age of 12 leaves home, drifts and works in Braila port, living with his grandmother in Lacul Sarat (Salt Lake). In March 1916 leaves Romania and starts a long trip through Mediterranean area, living in Suisse, Greece, France, Italy, and passing through Egypt, Lebanon, Syria. On 4 January 1921 tried suicide; by chance his situation coming to attention of French writer Romaine Rolland, they start a long relationship and a productive letter exchange. He start publishing some short stories and novels, written in French, which were appreciated by the critics, which start calling him "Gorky of Balkan". Coming from a working class background, he was very supportive of new social system experience in Russia, (probable influenced by his communist friend Romaine Rolland), but later, after the real situation of repressions in Russia became generally known, he start being very critical of Stalin and communism. His life is described in one of his novels by the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis. Died in 1935.