Israeli puppeteer, puppet designer and builder, scenic designer, playwright and composer. Paul Loewy served in the Austrian army as an artillery officer during World War I, then studied law in Prague. A renowned lawyer in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), in 1926 he started carving wooden puppets. In 1934, he founded the Wooden Troupe (Die Hölzerne Truppe), and performed in Karlovy Vary and in Prague. Loewy carved and manipulated the figures, performed the puppet voices, built the scenery and sets, wrote some of the plays, composed the music and sometimes played the instruments. For his puppets (70 centimetres high, and from 11 to 15 strings) he developed new techniques of construction and manipulation.

In 1938, Paul Loewy was appointed to represent Czechoslovakia at the World’s Fair in New York with the Czech Philharmonic, which allowed him to escape the German invasion. Some of his shows were filmed and projected in cinemas.

In 1939, Loewy emigrated to Israel with his puppet theatre. The Wooden Troupe played to audiences of all ages in the towns and kibbutzim throughout the country (Like Us, Like You, Three Masks, The Magic Swing See-Saw?, All is Possible, The Story in the Lake, and The Caliph and the Stork); he continued his performances through the early 1950s. Paul Loewy’s puppets were also filmed: Baalam’s Story, a puppet opera that he produced with Helmar Lerski in 1946, was inserted into Joseph Krumgold’s film, Mi’klalah le’brachah (Out of Evil), which represented Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1950. A number of photographs of his creations are kept at the Folkwang Museum in Essen (North Rhine-Westphalia).

Paul Loewy created sets for the theatres Habima, Cameri (of which he is one of the founders), Haohel, Hamatateh and for the Israeli Opera, and took part in the training of the actors. His paintings have been exhibited in 1953 at the Jerusalem Artists House, in 1956 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and in 1979 in Italy. From 1958, he taught art history on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts of Tel Aviv.

A composer, Paul Loewy played the viola, violin, organ, guitar and other instruments and was part of chamber music circles in Tel Aviv. Passionate about mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, history and art history, he has published numerous articles on these subjects, especially in the daily Haaretz (lit. “Land” of Israel) and in various journals, including Keshet (Rainbow).

(See Israel.)