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Yad Vashem The Story of the Jewish Community of Plonsk

Karel Fleischmann

"[…] I tried to occasionally pick up a pencil and a pad. I would pause for a moment, in the middle of the chaos all around me, either in a corner of the yard, or in the sick room, to quickly sketch something, in order to remember." Karel Fleischmann, “I am Looking at Terezin”, From: Artists, Yad Vashem Archives, O.64/74
  • Portrait of a Man, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Dr. Erich Munk, from the Illustrated Poem 'Autumn, 1943', Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1943
  • Dr. Erich Munk from the Back, from the Illustrated Poem 'Autumn, 1943', Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1943
  • Rabbi Leopold Neuhaus, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Dr. František (Franz) Weidmann, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Prof. Alfred Philippsohn, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Ing. Otto Zucker, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944
  • Rabbi Dr. Benjamin Murmelstein from the Back, Theresienstadt Ghetto, 1944

Born in Klatovy, Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1897. Murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.

Fleischmann studied medicine in Prague, simultaneously broadening his arts education. One of the founders of the "Linie" (The Line) avant-garde artists association, Fleischmann also wrote for and edited a newspaper by that name. Books of his poetry and prose were published, and his graphic works were exhibited. Following the outbreak of the war, he opted to remain in Czechoslovakia, despite having an exit visa. In April 1942, he was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. There, he served as Assistant Director of the Health Department, and was in charge of welfare for the elderly inmates. Fleischmann secretly documented life in the ghetto, in drawings and writings. He participated in the cultural life of the ghetto by giving lectures on medicine and art. In October, 1944, he was sent on transport Et to Auschwitz, where he was murdered.

His paintings, drawings and writings were hidden in the ghetto, and were found after the war. In addition to documenting daily life in the ghetto, Fleischmann painted portraits in confident and concise lines, providing a critical and ironic view of ghetto functionaries. He expressed his admiration for Dr. Erich Munk, Director of the Health Department in Theresienstadt, in an illustrated poem, which he dedicated to him.

Yad Vashem holds 18 of the artist's portraits in its collection.