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Biographical/Historical Information

Rahel Szalit-Marcus (1894– August 1942) was a Jewish painter and illustrator. She was born in Telz (in the Kovno region of Lithuania), and she grew up in Lodz, Poland. Though her family was poor, her parents recognized her artistic talents, and Rahel was allowed to study at the art academy in Munich in 1911. Rahel met her husband, the actor Julius Szalit, in Germany, though their marriage dissolved and Julius committed suicide in 1916. Szalit-Marcus was devastated and soon after moved to Berlin. She became part of progressive circles in Berlin, exhibiting with the Berlin Secession and joining the Novembergruppe (November Group) in the 1920s. She became friends with the well-known Yiddish author, Sholem Aleicheim. Szalit-Marcus provided book illustrations for many Jewish authors, including Aleicheim, Martin Buber, Mendele Mocher Sforim, and Israel Zangwill. She also illustrated translations of works by Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Szalit-Marcus fled to France, but was interned at Drancy and deported to Auschwitz where she was murdered in 1942. Most of her paintings and watercolors left behind in her studio were destroyed, though many of her prints survived.

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Szalit-Marcus, Rahel: [Girl with a headscarf], Leo Baeck Institute, 78.582.