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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Partisans in the Arts: Marko Behar, Bulgarian artist (1914-1973)

Marko Behar, a talented sketch artist and draftsman (among other mediums), provides us with a unique view into Bulgaria during World War II through his drawings. Behar served as the second commissar of a partisan battalion in the framework of Georgi Dimitrov, who was an international symbol of resistance to Nazism at the time. As such, Behar’s sketches, lithographs, and cartoons reflect partisan and underground life. While he drew moving glimpses of Jewish and partisan life at the time, he also featured caricatures of fascism, such as a cartoon aimed at pro-German authorities in Bulgaria.


Partisans in the Winter, 1948
Monotype
Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem

Behar lived out his days in Bulgaria: he was born in 1914 in Skalitsa, a southeastern town, and passed away in Sofia in 1973. His work has been featured in a number of international exhibitions and has been honored with the Ilia Beshkov prize for drawing. Along with renowned Bulgarian poet, Valeri Petrov, Behar was also one of the founding members and contributors to the popular Bulgarian newspaper Starshel (which translates to “The Hornet”), a weekly publication of humor and satire. His work continues to be exhibited in retrospectives and collections, including a recent (2009) exhibit at the National Gallery of Foreign Art in Sofia.

Clockwise from top left: Race Laws in Bulgaria, 1943, Sofia; A Young Member of the Underground Distributing Leaflets, 1943; Partisans, 1962 (lithograph); Wearing a Jewish Badge, 1943, Sofia.

All materials property of Ghetto Fighters' House, except "Partisans In The Winter", courtesy of the Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem.

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