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Drawing of Jewish Council member as circus ringmaster drawn by camp inmate

Object | Accession Number: 2003.361.4

Caricature drawn by Peter Kien for Moritz Henschel while both were imprisoned in Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp. It depicts Moritz as a circus ringmaster. Moritz was a member of the Jewish Council in the camp and Kien was an influential artist and playwright who also designed the camp currency. Kien was deported to Auschwitz in October 1944 and died soon after arrival. Moritz was an influential lawyer in Berlin when Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933. As the government persecution of Jews intensified, Moritz and Hildegard sent their daughters Marianne, 15, to Palestine and Lilly, 13, to England in 1939. Moritz was on the board of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, created by the Nazi government in February 1939 to organize Jewish affairs. The Association was eventually forced to assist with deportations. Moritz also became president of the Berlin Jewish Community. In January 1943, Moritz became president of the Reich Association, when Leo Baeck was deported. On June 10, 1943, the Reich Association was shut down and Moritz and Hildegard were deported to Theresienstadt on June 16. Moritz was elected to the Jewish Council and put in charge of the Freizeitgestaltung, which produced cultural materials and events. On May 9, 1945, the camp was liberated by Soviet forces. Moritz and Hildegard went to Deggendorf displaced persons camp, then emigrated to Palestine in 1946.

Artwork Title
Moritz as Circus Ringmaster, Theresienstadt
received:  after 1943 June-before 1944 October
received: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
creation: Theresienstadt (Concentration camp); Terezin (Ustecky kraj, Czech Republic)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Yoel Givol and Michal Lilli Kahani, in memory of their grandparents, Hildegard and Moritz Henschel
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 08:57:00
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