It is with sadness that the UCLA Department of French & Francophone Studies notes the passing of Emeritus Distinguished Professor Peter Haidu. The following obituary was published in the New York Times on February 10, 2017:
HAIDU--Peter (Pierre Hajdu) died on Tuesday, February 7th, his children Noah and Rachel Haidu close by. Peter was a professor of French medieval literature, noted especially for his books The Subject Medieval/Modern and The Subject of Violence: The Song of Roland and the Birth of the State. He was a professor of French literature for twenty years at UCLA, and before that at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, the University of Virginia Charlottesville, and Yale University. Peter first arrived in this country in New York, after a difficult escape from Nazi-occupied France with his mother, Henia Hajdu. His father, Paul Hajdu, died as a prisoner of war, having enlisted in the French army. After high school in California and finishing his Bachelor's at the University of Chicago and the City College of New York Peter made his home in New York as a poet, living among dancers and artists downtown, and was drafted into the Korean War, during which he served as a reporter based in Germany. At Columbia, as a graduate student, he met his second wife, Marilene Edrei, with whom he had two children; later in life he became a grandfather to Isadora Haidu Moon and Tessa Sohn Haidu. His last years were devoted to the preparation of two manuscripts, one of which argues questions of (Jewish) identity through the texts of Chretien de Troyes; many readers have also noted his work on the representability of the Shoah. He is deeply, sorrowfully missed by his children and grandchildren, and others who knew him as a man of conviction, tenderness, and deeply political intellect. Peter's son Noah, a jazz pianist, will perform a memorial concert at Birdland Jazz Club at 6:00pm on Sunday, April 16, 2017.