Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld has been awarded the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his Holocaust survival story, Blooms of Darkness.

The novel is loosely based on the 80-year-old Appelfeld’s childhood during the Second World War.

Blooms of Darkness tells the story of a young Jewish boy hidden from the Nazis by a prostitute.

Judges praised his book for combining “deep sensuality … alongside unfathomable brutality.”

“I wanted to explore the darkest places of human behavior and to show that even there, generosity and love can survive; that humanity and love can overcome cruelty and brutality,” Appelfeld said.

Appelfeld was deported to a Nazi concentration camp when he was seven years old. He escaped and spent three years in hiding before joining the Russian army and then making his way to Palestine at age 14 in 1946.

His fiction on the Holocaust has received worldwide acclaim and his other works have been published in 26 languages.

Appelfeld’s win this year made him the oldest author to take home the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.