Halter, Marek

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HALTER, MAREK (1934– ), painter and writer. Halter was born in Warsaw but during World War ii was exiled to Uzbekistan. After returning to Poland in 1945, he decided to study art in Paris. After a short period at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he preferred to study alone and undertook a long series of journeys in Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, and the United States. Halter was a particularly gifted draftsman, working in a free, speedy manner, linking delicate linear definitions with heavy areas of black paint. He illustrated a number of publications, including Proverbs and Song of Songs issued by Oved, Tel Aviv, and the poems of Perl Halter, edited by Massada, Tel Aviv. Albums of his drawings and screenprints were published in Paris, where a film was also made about his work. Halter also worked for the theater, in France and Spain, and designed stained-glass windows for the Great Neck Synagogue, New York. In addition to these diverse talents, Halter paints principally in oils. Much of his life and art is motivated by political ideals, not of a revolutionary nature, but idealistic objectives of a moralistic and democratic nature. His first one-man exhibition was at the Galerie Cimaise, Paris (1953); he also held exhibitions throughout Europe, in Argentina, Canada, and the United States, and at both the Tchemerinski and Gordon galleries in Tel Aviv. In 1976, Halter published his first book, Le fou et les rois (The Jester and the Kings, 1989), an autobiography with a marked political dimension. Then began a rich literary career, mainly consisting of historical sagas combining reflections on the fate of the Jewish people with a humanistic outlook: La mémoire d'Abraham (1983; The Book of Abraham, 1986) and its contemporarily focused sequel Les fils d'Abraham (1989; The Children of Abraham, 1986); Le Messie (1996); Les mystères de Jérusalem (1999); and Le vent des Khazars (2001; The Wind of the Khazars, 2003). In 1994, he directed a documentary on the *Righteous Among the Nations, Tzedek, whose principal interviews were collected in his 1995 book La force du bien (Stories of Deliverance: Speaking with Men and Women Who Rescued Jews from the Holocaust, 1998).

In 2003 Halter began publishing a trilogy devoted to biblical women: La Bible au feminin: Sarah (tr. 2004), Tsippora (tr. 2005), and Lilah (tr. 2006).

Besides his artistic activities, Halter was very active in promoting human rights, the fight against racism, and peace in the Middle East. He was chairman of the Andrei Sakharov Institute and the International Institute for Jewish Culture, co-founder of the French anti-racist movement "S.O.S. racisme," and involved in the first encounters between Israelis and plo representatives.

[Charles Samuel Spencer /

Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]