The Lifelong Peace Advocate: A Portrait of Marek Thee (1918–1999) by Marta Bivand Erdal

“The story of Marek Thee’s life, including his engagement with PRIO for two decades, underscores the importance of which stories we choose to tell – and, in turn, which stories we choose to forget. By choosing to tell – and to share – Marek Thee’s story, PRIO is choosing to foreground the story of a remarkable life, of an astounding character and human being. In doing so, PRIO also seeks to actively narrate a past that was not only idealist in its peace activism, but that was (or sought to be) international and welcoming to outsiders.”

I am so grateful for having been given the chance to get to know the story of Marek Thee. A Polish-Jewish boy from small-town Poland, his family’s sole survivor of the Holocaust, a Polish diplomat in Palestine-then-Israel, an academic, again a diplomat in Indochina, an academic again, and eventually, exiled from Poland and arriving in Oslo in 1968. A 20th century life story to read, to grieve with, to reflect upon, and an impressive, yet very human dedication to peace and a better future, to be inspired by.

Thank you to Halina Thee (Marek Thee’s younger daughter) for willingly, with patience and humour, sharing his story with me. Thank you Stein Tønnesson and Nils Petter Gleditsch for asking me to try to help share this important lifestory, and thanks for the support in making that happen. All the #PRIOstories are worth a read, definitely don’t miss this one!