Beda’s life-story happens to be closely linked to the history of the Destruction of European Jewry. Thus I found myself inside a tragic history again, sitting at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem and studying the stories of the dangerous, often fateful “Aliya Beth”, dealing with illegal Immigration to Palestine under the restrictions of The White Paper of 1939. It turned out that the “Mauritius Odyssey” was meticulously chronicled in sketches, drawings, woodcuts of Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel. The works of the two artists seemed so similar. Also, the name Fritz is translated to Czech as Bedrich (Beda). At first I thought that the different signatures on them were part of Beda’s mystification and had no idea of Fritz Haendel’s existence. Why then had Beda not told me about him? Only later did I learn the reason for his silence.
In October 1998 I got an answer from Tomi Mayer, a “Mauritius friend in London”.
“You ask for recollections. I expect Beda has told you of Haendel’s suicide. He asked me to visit the cemetery occasionally. I did once. I left Mauritius about seven months after Beda. Beda felt like crying. “Yes, whatever we were doing Fritz was always the leader. He was a few years younger than me but I saw him as my guiding star. He was so brilliant, so practical, so positive, and so innovative! I never met anybody like him.”