István Vas was born in Budapest in 1910. Excluded from university because of his Jewish origin, he attended a college of commerce in Vienna. During the Second World War he was drafted into a forced labour brigade and only survived the later stages of the war by going into hiding. He was a member of the third generation of Hungarian poets to be influenced by the literary magazine Nyugat (The West), whose traditions of craftsmanship and restraint are preserved and developed in his writings. He died in Budapest in 1991.