Fredrick Terna was born in 1923 in Vienna. His family returned to Prague, their hometown, soon thereafter. He lived and attended school there until the Germans occupied the city in 1939. Beginning in October 1941, Mr. Terna was interned in a number of camps, including Terezin, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Kaufering, a sub-camp of Dachau. He was liberated near Landsberg in Bavaria on April 27, 1945. He was the only remaining member of his family. After liberation, Mr. Terna was hospitalized in Bavaria for a few months, then sent back to Prague for further recuperation. He left Prague late in 1946, settling in Paris for several years. In 1952, he arrived in New York. As an artist and painter, he served as president of the Jewish Visual Artists Association from 1978-1981. Besides speaking about his wartime experiences, he lectures extensively on the history of Jewish art, and taught a course on the subject for some years at the New School in New York. Mr. Terna is a member of the Speakers Bureau of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Fred Terna spoke at the Museum’s February 2020 Stories Survive Speaker Series event. Watch his program below.