Markas Petuchauskas


Markas Petuchauskas was born in 1931 in Šiauliai, Lithuania. His distinguished father, Samuelis Petuchauskas, was a holder of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, and for two decades of the inter-war period was Vice-Burgomaster of Šiauliai. In 1940, the family moved to Vilnius. At the beginning of the Nazi occupation, the author’s father was executed by shooting in Paneriai.

As a young boy, Markas was a prisoner of the Vilnius Ghetto from 1941 to 1943). He managed to escape just before the ghetto was liquidated and went into hiding in Samogitia.

From 1947 to 1949, the author studied at the First Gymnasium for Lithuanian boys in Vilnius and took the Preparatory Courses at Vilnius University, where in 1954 he later graduated from the Faculty of Law.

Upon graduation he was prevented from receiving an appointment within the legal profession, as his biography was considered ‘inappropriate’ during the Soviet period. There was now alternative, but to undertake other career path. In 1953 he became employed as a translator for the Radio Committee and from 1957 to 1960, worked as the Editor of the Radio Theatre of the Department of Literature and Drama, completed the postgraduate program in theatre studies at the State Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS) in Moscow, worked for the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Lithuania from 1960 to 1981.

Petuchauskas organized the first Lithuanian research center of art history – the Department of Art Research, and was its Head from 1967 until 1981, at which time he held the position of Head of the Theatre Department of the Lithuanian Institute for the Advancement of Cultural Workers until 1991.

Holding the highest academic scholarly qualification of Habilitated Doctor of Art History, Professor, he is noted author of books on theatre art and has co-authored collective monographs in Lithuanian, Russian, Estonian, Czech and German on theatre arts and playwriting. Additionally, he has published over 400 articles in the Lithuanian and foreign press spanning the topics of theatre, playwriting, the Vilnius Ghetto theatre and cultural ties that exist between Lithuanians and Jews. As a scriptwriter, he has created and produced two documentaries on this subject.

During the period of 1994 to 2008, he founded and led the Jewish Cultural Club of Lithuania – a Lithuanian public association which became a unique and recognized authority on the revival of dialogue among ethnic cultures and the cultural exploration of the Jerusalem of Lithuania and Jewish artistic memory. He has organized over 140 art programs and international cultural projects involving eminent artists from Lithuania, Germany, France, Russia, Poland, USA, Australia, Israel, as well as other countries.

Markas Petuchauskas remains an active and prolific writer, who is frequently called upon by television and radio to speak on the development of Litvak art and interaction between national cultures.