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Bedřich Fritta

Drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto

The exhibition shows drawings of the Czech-Jewish artist and cartoonist Bedřich Fritta, which were produced in the Theresienstadt ghetto between 1942 and 1944. Deported to Theresienstadt on 4 December 1941, Fritta was appointed head of a Jewish-governed drawing studio. Up to twenty artists worked there on behalf of the SS. They were forced to draw building plans, illustrated diagrams, and statistics that would support the official image of the ghetto's smooth functioning. But in secret, the artists captured the reality of daily life. In October 1944, Fritta was deported to Auschwitz, where he died of illness on November 5. The majority of his unofficial works survived in hiding, around one hundred pictures in total, and is now in the possession of the artist's son. The collection, which includes large ink drawings as well as small sketches, will be on display for the first time in this scale.

Ink drawings by Bedrich Fritta portraying music-hall theater in the Theresienstadt ghetto.

Bedřich Fritta, music-hall theater, ink wash, Theresienstadt 1943-1944
© Thomas Fritta-Haas, long-term loan to the Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe


17 May - 25 August 2013


Eric F. Ross Gallery in the permanent exhibition

Special website


Up to now, Fritta's drawings have been regarded mainly as historical documents. This exhibition, by contrast, focuses on the artful means by which Fritta comments on and interprets daily life in the ghetto, his complex use of imagery, and the artistic quality of his drawings.

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