In May 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the repressive facilities in Terezín and Litoměřice, the Museum in the Small Fortress of the Terezín Memorial opened a new permanent exhibition of works selected from the Terezin Memorial art collections.
The exhibition presents works by Czech artists devoted to the topic of the fight against Nazism and war, and pays a tribute to artists who were among the first ones in the 1930s to recognize the danger of the emerging Nazi regime and joined the local resistance in their work. Many of them were active abroad too, and many paid for their activities with their lives.
The exhibition starts with cartoons of the 1930s, which, in an impressive and straightforward manner, depict the aforementioned historical events. Another hot topic of that era was the civil war in Spain. Among others, the events also influenced the production of Emil Filla and Josef Capek, whose works are also represented in the exhibition. The end of an uneasy decade brought a new stage to the history of our state, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939. Through displayed paintings visitors get familiar with the oppressive atmosphere of the Protectorate and, at the same time, with the way the art reflected the new political situation, changes which occurred in terms of applied painting techniques, themes, etc. Subsequently, we plunge into the imaginary environment of the Terezín repressive facilities, into jails and concentration camps where many excellent artists, painters and amateurs were imprisoned and where, in spite of inhuman conditions, they created a number of works illustrating the prisoner’s life, psyche, and the atmosphere of the environment. The final exhibition halls focus on the work of the postwar generation, which began to get formed in the normalization times. This generation deals as well, in its own way, with the motives of violence, threats of technological civilization, etc.
The author of the exhibition script, which is unique in the Czech Republic as to its content, is an art historian, journalist, and a member of the Scientific Council of the Terezín Memorial Dr. Blanka Stehlíková.