MORITZ MUELLER:
LIFE IN THERESIENSTADT GHETTO

 

FROM THE COLLECTION OF EVA BECKMANN

 

Illnesses, medical care, infirmaries, doctor-inmates – these are only a few but very significant aspects of routine existence in the Theresienstadt Ghetto. The inmate’s existence in this marginal situation is recorded in literary and fine art narratives. Here, we exhibit an artistic narrative of the Urological Ward of a medical facility in the Theresienstadt Ghetto.

Moritz Mueller was born on January 11, 1887 in Liptovký Mikuláš, Czechoslovakia.

The Mueller family lived in Prague, then Austria–Hungary. Mueller started his art education by taking private lessons and he completed professional training in the visual arts by attending the Prague Academy of Fine Arts.

Mueller opened a private school for drawing in Prague, enrolled in the Mánes Artists Association, and after the First World War he established an auction hall for the arts. He became popular and well-liked among both Czech and German art collectors as well as the artistic community. After the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, his auction hall was robbed and closed.

Mueller then worked for the Prague Jewish Community appraising art objects from German-confiscated Jewish properties. In July of 1943, he was deported from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Despite being an artist, Mueller worked as a nurse in the Urology Department, directed by Dr. Kurt Weiner. He primarily treated the elderly, most of whom came from Austria and Germany, who suffered from chronic illnesses. Mueller drew portraits and documented the dedicated work of the nurses in the department.

During his first few months at Theresienstadt, Mueller drew at least one picture a day, often more. Many of Mueller’s 500 works were portraits of the ill. As his internment continued, however, he drew less, each picture taking more time. He dated every picture he made.

On October 1, 1944, as “passenger” 535 on Transport Em, Moritz Mueller was deported to Auschwitz, where he died on October 3, 1944.