Bedřich Fritta

Drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Bedřich Fritta: Drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto

Previously, the artworks that the Czech-Jewish artist and caricaturist Bedřich Fritta (1906–1944) created at the "Theresianstadt Ghetto" concentration camp from 1942 to 1944 have been regarded mainly as historical documents. In contrast, this exhibition focused on the artistic methods by which Fritta's drawings interpret and comment on day-to-day life in the camp. It explored the diversity of his visual language and the artistic quality of his drawings.

Past exhibition
Gebäudeplan mit Markierung des Libeskindbaus

Libeskind Building, ground level, Eric F. Ross Gallery

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

On December 4, 1941, Fritta was deported to Theresienstadt, where the SS guards at the camp assigned him to supervise the drawing studio of the "Jewish self-administration." There, as many as twenty artists detained in Theresienstadt were made to produce propaganda to reinforce the camp's public image as a smoothly functioning "ghetto."

Secretly, the artists also recorded everyday ghetto life. In October 1944, Fritta was deported to Auschwitz, where he died of an illness shortly thereafter.

The majority of his unofficial works, numbering more than one hundred, survived in hiding and later passed into the hands of his son Tomáš Fritta-Haas (1944–2015). This exhibition publicly presented the assemblage of large ink drawings and smaller sketches in its full scope for the first time ever.

You can still view many of the drawings that were exhibited on the exhibition's website (

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When

    17 May – 29 September 2013 and 28 February – 4 May 2014 (as part of the special program on the Terezín Ghetto)

  • Where

    Libeskind Building, ground level, Eric F. Ross Gallery
    Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin See Location on Map

Gebäudeplan mit Markierung des Libeskindbaus

Libeskind Building, ground level, Eric F. Ross Gallery

Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

Events Accompanying Defiant Requiem (6) Terezín Remembrance Week Show all

Terezín Remembrance Week

With Defiant Requiem, performed internationally every year since 2002, the American conductor Murry Sidlin commemorates the performances of Verdi’s Requiem at the Terezín (Theresienstadt) ghetto. The dramatized concert consists of an unabridged performance of Verdi’s requiem mass interspersed with readings of eyewitness accounts and extracts from a Nazi propaganda film about Terezín. The concert had its German premiere on 4 March 2014 at the Konzerthaus Berlin. The concert was accompanied by numerous events related to Terezín.

Cultural Trip to Prague and Terezín

31 January – 2 February 2014
To go along with the performance of the Verdi Requiem, staged as a dramatic concert titled Defiant Requiem, we are organizing a study trip to Prague and Theresienstadt.

Art and Culture in the Terezín Ghetto

2 March 2014, 11 am – 6 pm
In four lectures, the symposium explores the history of Theresienstadt, the “ghetto of exceptions,” from four different angles.

Verdi’s "Messa da Requiem" at the Theresienstadt Ghetto

4 March 2014, 8 pm
The dramatic concert Defiant Requiem is dedicated to the Czech conductor and pianist Rafael Schächter, who performed the Verdi Requiem with hundreds of Theresienstadt Ghetto prisoners approximately seventy years ago.

"As if it were a Life"

27 February 2014, 7.30 pm
Reading from the “Tatsachenbericht” by Philipp Manes from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1942–44

Transport from paradise

1 March 2014, 7.30 pm
Zbyněk Brynych, Czechoslovakia 1963, 98 min.

Defiant Requiem Documentary Film

3 March 2014, 7:30 pm
The documentary film tells the story of the Czech conductor and pianist Rafael Schächter and his performance of the Verdi Requiem in Theresienstadt.

Art/Fine Arts

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