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Virtual Opening Preview of To Paint is to Live

Date(s) - Thursday, February 18th
7:00 pm CST - 8:15 pm CST


dsc0801-version-2To Paint is to Live: The Artwork of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly

The paintings and drawings clandestinely created by Erich Lichtblau-Leskly while imprisoned in Theresienstadt Ghetto document the horrors he encountered infused with satire in an attempt to make sense of the atrocity and absurdity that surrounded him. The cartoonish illustrations, paired with larger, more detailed pieces reworked in the decades following WWII while living in Israel with his family, capture the complications and reflected ironies of ghetto life.

Join JMM in exploring Leskly’s life, work and legacy with his daughter, Mira Oren, through a virtual presentation from her home in London and celebrate the culture of Leskly’s native Czechoslovakia with a musical performance highlighting the country’s rich classical composing traditions. Be the first to experience the exhibit with a special tour.

Register to get access to the Zoom session. 
Museum Members $10 | Nonmembers $18 | VIP Donors $72*
*VIP Donors get an exclusive copy of “They Shall Be Counted: The Theresienstadt Ghetto Art Of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly,” by Vladimir Melamed, a comprehensive catalogue of Leskly’s works. 


To Paint is to Live: The Artwork of Erich Lichtblau-Leskly is on display at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, February 18 –  May 30, 2021. This exhibit is on loan from the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles.  Image: Erich Litchblau-LesklyGhettoized: Placards from the Ghetto Theresienstadt. Israeli period, 1970 – early 1980s. Collection of Holocaust Museum LA. 

About Mira Oren
A writer, journalist and translator, mother of three sons and grandmother of nine, Mira was born in Czechoslovakia and grew up in Israel. She has lived in London for the past six years and plans to return to Israel soon.

About the Music
Variations on a Slovakian Theme for Cello & Piano by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů will be performed by local pianist Stefanie Jacob and cellist Scott Tisdel. Stefanie Jacob teaches at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, where she is a founding member of the school’s resident Prometheus Trio. Scott Tisdel serves as associate principal cellist of the Milwaukee Symphony and principal cellist of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.

About the Book
As a prisoner during the Holocaust, artist Erich Lichtblau-Leskly created stunning and sardonic colored-pencil drawings, dripping with gallows humor, that depict day-to-day life in Theresienstadt, the Nazi’s ‘show’ ghetto. “They Shall Be Counted” stands as the first and most comprehensive catalogue of Lichtblau-Leskly’s works and comprises three periods: the Theresienstadt period of 1942 – 1945; the postwar period of 1945 – 1948, when Lichtblau-Leskly and his wife returned to their native Czechoslovakia; and, the Israeli period, which began in early 1950s after their emigration and continued through the 20th century. 

“They Shall Be Counted” includes articles that, together with the high-quality reproductions of Lichtblau-Leskly’s works, present the phenomenon of the Theresienstadt ghetto through the prism of a ghetto-pictorial diary or concise encyclopedia of mundane ghetto-life created by one of its prisoners. This catalogue chronicles both the particular and general predicament of ghetto prisoners as imposed by both petty Nazi officials and German-appointed Jewish leadership and captures the importance of humor as a vehicle for endurance during the Holocaust. Furthermore, the illuminating articles included with the artwork add meaningfully to our understanding of Theresienstadt.

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