About the Book Boarding Pass to Paradise

The publication of book/catalogue ‘Boarding Pass to Paradise. Peretz Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel’ is an integral part of a traveling exhibit/book project. Started in 2004 by Elena Makarova and her group, working under the auspices of non-profit organization Solidarity (Jerusalem), the project obtained support by charity funds. Besides, administration of the Terezin Ghetto/KZ Monument offered the first venue for the exhibit, to open at its premises on 9 May 2005.

The main hero of both the exhibit and the book is an Israeli, Moravia-born artist Peretz Bedrich (Beda) Mayer, who during his almost century-long life (1906 2002) became a real embodiment of contemporary history and art. Mayer lost his beloved senior brother in the Holocaust, while himself narrowly escaped from the Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia in 1940. Instead of the Holy Land, the refugees were deported by the British to a detainee camp at Mauritius Island, where they spent the wartime in hard conditions. Back in Palestine in 1945, Mayer struggled through numerous life hardships, but continued to paint.
The second central character is Beda’s close friend, multi-talented Fritz Haendel, who tragically perished on Mauritius in 1945. ‘Boarding Pass to Paradise’ familiarizes the broad public with the unparalleled ‘Mauritius aliya.’ It also introduces great characters of Peretz Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel and their remarkable art.
The book shows Holocaust and Zionism from a personal artistic perspective. In the same time, ‘Boarding Pass to Paradise’ highlights a significant part of European and Israeli culture in the years between the 1930's and the end of the century. And, last but not least, it sends a message of tolerance, dispelling an image of ‘alien, demoniac Jew and Israeli’ which unfortunately pervades many European minds and nurtures anti-Semitism.

Book Description

‘Boarding Pass to Paradise,’ currently published in English, is also to be issued in Hebrew (April 2006). In this edition, a fascinating historical material is amply illustrated by drawings, caricatures, woodcuts and watercolors, both by Peretz Beda Mayer, and Fritz Haendel. The story is brightly told by Elena Makarova, renowned author and Holocaust researcher.*
The book’s first part a historical background and describes the heroes' life in Austro-Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia before and during the Nazi regime, their SS Atlantic travel and their life on Mauritius. It also dwells upon Beda's brother Leo's fate including his incarceration in KZ Theresienstadt (his letters, memories and other documents are published for the first time).
The second part of the book is dedicated in more detail to Peretz Beda Mayer's life and art in postwar time in Palestine-Israel, from 1945 till 2002, including a first ever thorough analysis of his art made by Makarova in a special article. The book includes 125 color reproductions of Mayer’s paintings and a number of black and white drawings and document facsimiles. The 240 pp. 27.5 x 25.5 cm edition is designed by a notable Israeli designer, Galina Bleikh.

*Also by this author:
Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. Vienna 1898 – Auschwitz 1944, Tallfellow/Every Picture Press, Los Angeles, 2001, 240pp. (German, Czech, French and Japanese editions are published),
University Over the Abyss. The Story Behind 520 Lecturers and 2,430 Lectures In KZ Theresienstadt, 1942—1944, Verba Publishers, Jerusalem, 2000, 560pp., 2004, and other publications.

Boarding Pass to Paradise is available from Terezin Memorial bookstore or may be ordered directly from the author, Elena Makarova (lmarak@012.net.il).
The list price is US$ 25 plus postage.

The Hebrew edition of Boarding Pass to Paradise
(ëřčéń ňěééä ěâď ňăď) has been printed!
(Verba Publishers, Jerusalem, 2007).

The text, format and volume are the same as in the English version, but the whole of the book is now in color, so the illustrations, both graphic works and paintings, look stunning. Beda’s and Fritz’s admirers receive another brilliant present.

      Boarding Pass to Paradise. Artists Peretz Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel.  © Elena Makarova, 2005. For Contacts: Elena Makarova