Robert Shvarc was born on December 10, 1932 in Sarajevo. His father was born in a family of Jewish origin from Vienna and his mother was from Albanian origin, from the city of Elbasan.
He was only 6 years old when he had to leave Sarajevo with his family and settle in Albania. At that time he could speak neither Albanian nor German. He took the first lessons in the Albanian language.
The 1950s are associated with Shvarc’s first efforts to write poetry and prose. Among his poems we mention “I”, which was published in 1956, as well as “The Sonnets of the Narrative ‘’ published in December 1959”. In the 60’s he retired from the literary work and devoted himself to the translation. In 1991, when most of the Jew families fled Albania, Shvarc was one of the few who remained in Albania.
In his work, Robert Shvarc distinguished himself in particular in the field of translation of the masterpieces of German literature, which he masterfully translated into Albanian. Unforgettable translations are such authors as Haine, Goethe, Schiller, Brecht, Zweig, Fallada, Remarque, Feuchtwagner, Walser, Ende, Bell, Traven and many others. The name of Robert Shvarc has been a symbol of the German language in Albania for years. Very important and meaningful for his contribution was the year 1995, when Shvarc was awarded the prize: “The German Cross of Merit by the German Federal President at the Embassy in Tirana. Schwartz is the first Albanian cultural personality to have received this medal.
Thanks to his systematic and determined years of work, Robert Shvarc brought Albanian masterpieces of German and world literature to the Albanian readers, such as “The Toledo Jewess”, “The Arch of Triumph “, “Where were you Adam”, “The Return Home”, “Nothing News from the West “,” Franzisco Goya “,” Arturo Ui “and much more. He also wrote many student papers.
Robert Shvarc worked for 40 years to spread the word about Albanian culture in the world. He has translated some of the works of well-known Albanian poets and writers into German, such as Ismail Kadare, Drito Agolli, Fatos Arapi and Xhevahir Spahiu, and has thereby contributed to the integration of Albanian art and culture into the European culture. The theater and the film industry are two other areas where Robert Shvarc gave his contribution.
For many years, Robert Shvarc has worked on Radio Tirana and has made a valuable contribution as a translator of Radio Tirana’s German-language programs, although he often disliked the content of these programs. He has also worked successfully in the book publisher “Enciklopedia” for some years, where he has again translated some German authors into Albanian.
Amik Kasoruho, translator and one of Shvarc’s close friends, once said, “Living close to such people as Robert Shvarc is beautiful because you can discover the values that are otherwise unknown and that give life itself a precious turning point , Such people give us the feeling of the beautiful, the will to enrich life, the ability to distinguish the natural from the whitewashing.
In 2003, Robert Shvarc was honored with the title “Honorary Citizen of Tirana”. In the same year he left us, but he left a valuable treasure in the linguistic and translation area.
Robert Shvarc was one of the protagonists of literary and cultural relations between Albania and the German-speaking world after the fifties and until his death. Since November 2004, there is an Albanian-German cultural society in Tirana called “Robert Shvarc”, which is funded by the Goethe-Institut. The aim of this cultural society is to cultivate German-Albanian friendship and cooperation, in particular through the promotion and dissemination of German culture and language in Albania.