India ink and wash on paper
51 x 36.5 cm
Collection of the Yad Vashem Art Museum, Jerusalem
Gift of the Prague Committee for Documentation, courtesy of Ze'ev and Alisa Shek,
Bedřich Fritta was a graphic designer and cartoonist in Prague. In December 1941, on the second transport of Jews, he was sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto along with engineers, artists, and physicians, who were then ordered to set up the ghetto. He was appointed director of the painting section of the Technical Department, providing graphic prints and propaganda material for the Germans. Fritta and his colleagues captured in clandestine paintings and drawings the horrors of ghetto life. Some of these works were smuggled out but were discovered by the Germans. In July 1944 Fritta, together with his wife and Tommy (Tomáš), their three-year-old son, was incarcerated in the Small Fortress in the ghetto. Three months later, Fritta was deported to Auschwitz where he died of exhaustion. His wife, Johanna, died in the ghetto of typhus; only Tommy survived. After the war, the child was adopted by Fritta's friend and colleague Leo Haas. After liberation, about two hundred of Fritta's artworks were discovered buried in the ghetto.