Though he was untrained in artwork, Mr. Terna started to attract at Theresienstadt and have become a part of a bunch of artists there who scrounged for good paper and any uncooked materials they may flip into ink. He buried his sketches of on a regular basis life there — like individuals lining up for soup — in a tin field underneath the barracks ground.
Earlier than being deported to Auschwitz in September 1944, Mr. Terna gave his drawings to a different prisoner, believing he would by no means see them once more. He had spent solely two months in Auschwitz when he was despatched to Kaufering, a subcamp of Dachau. After an unsuccessful escape try, he was liberated by American troops on April 27, 1945.
Sick and weighing solely 70 kilos, Mr. Terna convalesced at a hospital, the place he started portray scenes from Auschwitz, in addition to landscapes.
“A lot later, taking a look at my landscapes I observed that there have been partitions and fences in a lot of them,” he was quoted as saying by the Defiant Requiem Basis, which honors the prisoners of Theresienstadt. “It taught me that the reminiscence of the Shoah was part of me, and that it might not go away, and that I must stay with it.”
His father died in Auschwitz, and his brother died within the Treblinka extermination camp.
After returning to Prague, Mr. Terna reunited with Ms. Horner, his girlfriend. They married in 1946 and moved to Paris, the place he studied artwork and labored as a bookkeeper for the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish aid company. They left for Canada in 1951 and later moved to Manhattan. (They divorced in 1975.)
Mr. Terna was not a part of the Summary Expressionist motion that had taken maintain after the struggle, however he tailored it to his inventive imaginative and prescient, notably in his use of sand and pebbles to create texture in his canvases. Along with his Holocaust artwork, which he started within the Eighties, he painted circles as symbols of life’s continuity and representational items depicting angels and biblical tales like that of Abraham and Isaac.