Peretz Beda Mayer's Biography
5.3.1906. Bedrich (Beda, Peretz) Mayer was born in Hodonin, Southern Moravia, to Julius and Amalie Mayer (nee Redlich), who had an inn near the railroad station.
1912. Attends Hodonin German high school where art teacher Livora spots his talent in drawing.
1918. Aged 12, Beda joins the Maccabi Jewish youth organization, later becomes a secretary of the local branch; creates a puppet theater and puts on amateur plays; organizes fund-raising drives for the Jewish National Fund.
1920. Julius Mayer dies.
1924. Studies at the Prague Academy of Art.
1925 – 1939. Drafted to the Czech army, but released about eight months later. Returns to Hodonin and helps his mother with the business. Takes art lessons with Prof. Livora; learns etching and gets assignments for illustrating periodicals and books published in Prague, mostly in Synek Publishing House, where his etchings are published in small octavo editions of classical literature. About a hundred such publications appear with his signed illustrations.
March 15th 1939. The German army enters Hodonin. Beda leaves for Prague, by now under the German “Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia”, where efforts are being made to organize emigration of Jews. Meanwhile he resides with his architect brother Leo Mayer and works as an apprentice in a zincographic works.
November 1939. Meeting with Fritz Haendel at Prague Central Railway Station. With a Zionist youth group they travel by rail to Bratislava to await their departure for Palestine.
November 1939 – September 1940. Waiting in Bratislava. Beda meets Hanna Beer.
5. 9. 1940. – 26.12.1940. Voyage of the refugees to Haifa, interception by the British navy, and deportation by the British from Haifa to Mauritius.
December 26, 1940 . The refugees reach the island of Mauritius.
1941 – 1945. British detention camp near Beau Bassin. Beda and Fritz work together, they produce wooden toys from used crates – hand-painted carved wooden giraffes, elephants, etc. on wheels, for sale by Chinese tradesmen in their shops. They make wood-placers, shoe-shapes and suitcases out of local raw materials. They also engage in art: drawings, cartoons, paintings and woodcuts, portraits and copies. They teach art, make puppets and put on a show.
The “Camp News” of June 27, 1941, reports: Archi Mayer with his serious realistic cycle reminded us of our life aboard the “Atlantic”; he also showed a couple of highly elaborate portraits, as well as a beautiful pen drawing “Mother”. Fritz Haendel demonstrated along with a sketch-portrait of Comrade Kessler, drawn with great vigor and inspiration, also a strong leaning and talent for humorous and satirical descriptions.
June, 5-8, 1942. Art Exhibit. “Under the auspices of Mrs. Patricia Rountree, Mr. Frank Wilson and Mr. Tommy Mayer, three painters from the camp, Anna Frank, Beda Mayer and Fritz Haendel, exhibited their work at the Hotel de Ville in Curepipe. This brought them many orders, and Mesdemoiselles de Mazerieux hired Mrs. Frank to teach art at their school at Curepipe Road.”
Spring 1945. Beda and Leo’s artworks are destroyed in their Hodonin home during the Soviet bombardment of the town towards the end of the War.
August 26 1945. The Jewish refugees return to Palestine as legal immigrants.
1945 – 1981. After landing in Haifa Beda and Hanna spend a short period working at Sha’ar Hefer agricultural settlement. Later they move to Herzliya, where Beda works for a while at a zincographic works, and as a toy maker. They buy a house in Nof Yam, have a small allotment and open a home kindergarten. For 13 years Beda works as house painter, after which, for the next 15 years, he has a paint and hardware store in the neighborhood shopping center.
October 1945. Exhibit of graphics at Kathe Sauer gallery in Tel Aviv. Beda and Hanna get married.
1974. Exhibit of paintings, LIM Gallery, Tel Aviv.
1981. Exhibit of paintings, Herzliya Museum, Herzliya. Retires. “After 50 years of longing I have finally got the chance to do what I always wanted to do at the age of 18”.
1982. Exhibit of paintings, Amalia Arbel Art Gallery, Tel Aviv.
1983. Exhibit of paintings, Discount Bank, Ahad Ha-am St., Herzliya.
1993 – 2002. Moves with Hanna to retirement home in Herzliya. Paints and teaches art to residents.
1996. Beda meets his nephew Leo Kramar, his brother Leo’s son; their first meeting since 1939.
1999. Exhibit in Jerusalem Theater for Performing Arts, Jerusalem
2002. Exibit Jerusalem Technology House.
2002. Dies in August, 14, 2002 , at the age of 96.