From the New Arrivals in the Department of Collections of the Terezín Memorial for 2017

Leo Haas: Vilém Cantor at the filing cabinet, 1943, © David Haas, Daniel Haas, Ronny Haas, Michal Haas Foell.

A major addition to the collections of the Terezín Memorial is a set of 39 drawings and paintings on paper, created in the Terezín Ghetto. In 2017, the collection was donated to the Terezín Memorial by Mrs. Věra Pešinová. These are works of art from the estate of her parents: Vilém Cantor (1907-1981) and Greta Cantor (1912-2001), incarcerated in Terezín from the winter of 1941/42 until the camp´s liberation. Vilém Cantor worked in the Ghetto as head of its Transport Department, which formed part of the Central Secretariat.

The set comprises varied works of art in terms of their subjects – portraits, views of Terezín and of the individual Ghetto objects (gates, ramparts, ditches, barracks), drawings depicting interiors (kitchen, boiler room, prayer rooms), drawings of meetings organized by officials of the Jewish Self-administration etc. These are works by Leo Haas (1901-1983), Bedřich Fritta (1906-1944), Otto Ungar (1901-1945), Karel Fleischmann (1897-1944), Rudolf Saudek (1880-1965), Malvína Schalková (1882-1944), and Otto Samisch (1905-1944). In terms of artistic quality, it is definitely worth to highlight Ungar´s impressive painting of a man and a woman with their luggage, sitting in a transport train taking them to the Terezín Ghetto. The rest of the artworks are unsigned but in view of their art value they were doubtlessly created by the leading artists of the Terezín Ghetto. Many of these works are also noted for their major documentary value.

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