Name: Frederick Terna

Born: 1923 in Vienna to a Jewish family.

This man was the highlight of our walk. Little did we know back then that he was popular, not only among the people that were passing by, but nationwide was a historic figure. I was amazed by the way he spoke to us…with absolute kindness and willing interaction. The walk could not have gotten any better than this. He was on his daily one hour walk to the bread shop.

Insight: In 1941, he was taken to a concentration camp in Bohemia and was released in 1945 after his experience in various camps. He is an artist and his inspirations are driven from his experiences in the concentration camps. “Making art was an act of defiance,” he said.

He was waiting for a downpour to end. “We were standing under an overhang seeking shelter.”  He found a scrap of paper and a pencil stub in his pocket, and started drawing trees in the rain. From then on, with only a few interruptions, he kept drawing, and eventually, after the war, he started to paint. His art depicts the holocaust through abstractism.

His kindness and willingness to interact had moved me. I recently found out that he teaches art at The New School, where I will be attending next Fall. I do not know whether things happen because it’s a small world or  just coincidences. But meeting him and hearing his story has inspired my artistic self to mold the experiences of life and splatter them onto a canvas.


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