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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Activist and the Valentine Typewriter

French-Jewish author and activist Marek Halter writing on his Olivetti Valentine portable typewriter in his studio in the Marais district of Paris on September 5, 1979, following the publication of his book The Uncertain Life of Marco Mahler (La vie incertaine de Marco Mahler).
Halter is best known for his historical novels, which have been translated into English, Polish, Hebrew and many other languages. He was born in Warsaw on January 27, 1936. During World War II, he and his parents escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and fled to the Soviet Union, spending the remainder of the war in Ukraine, Moscow and finally in Kokand, in Uzbekistan. In 1945 he was chosen to travel to Moscow to present flowers to Joseph Stalin. In 1946 the family returned to Poland and in 1950 they emigrated to France, taking up residence in Paris.
Halter studied pantomime under Marcel Marceau and was admitted to the École Nationale des beaux-arts to study painting. In 1954, he received the Deauville international prize, and was also awarded a prize at the Biennale d'Ancone. His first international exhibit was in 1955 in Buenos Aires, and he remained in there for two years, returning to France in 1957, where he engaged in political journalism and advocacy. In 1991 Halter organised the French College in Moscow.
In 1968 he and his wife Clara Halter founded the magazine Élements, which published works by Israeli, Palestinian and Arab writers. Halter's first book, the political autobiography Le Fou et les Rois (The Jester and the Kings), was awarded the Prix Aujourd'hui in 1976.
Halter's other novels include The Messiah, The Mysteries of Jerusalem, The Book of Abraham (1986) and its sequel The Children of Abraham (1990), The Wind of the Khazars (2003), Sarah (2004), Zipporah (2005), Lilah (2006), and Mary of Nazareth (2008). Non-fiction works include Stories of Deliverance: Speaking with Men And Women Who Rescued Jews from the Holocaust (1998).


Bill M said...

If one desires to be an activist, the tool of choice must be a typewriter.

Richard P said...

Today I got my own Valentine out to take some notes on a book, and it was a satisfying experience.