peoplepill id: malva-schalek
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Malva Schalek

Malva Schalek

Czech painter
Malva Schalek
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Czech painter
Was Painter
From Austria
Type Arts
Gender female
Birth 18 February 1882, Prague
Death 24 March 1945, Auschwitz concentration camp (aged 63 years)
Peoplepill ID malva-schalek
The details


Malva Schalek, aka Malvina Schalková (18 February 1882 – 24 March 1945), was a Czech-Jewish painter.


Malva Schalek was born in Prague to a German-speaking Jewish intellectual family active in the Czech national movement. She went to school in Prague, Vrchlabi (Hohenelbe), and studied art, first at the Frauenakademie in Munich and then privately in Vienna. She earned her living as a painter in Vienna, in her studio above the Theater an der Wien, until July 1938, when she was forced to flee from the Nazis, leaving her paintings behind. Only some 30 works from this period have been recovered; two were found in the Historisches Museum Wien. One of these, a nearly life-sized oil portrait of the actor Max Pallenberg, is currently being returned to the family by the restitution authority.

Schalek was deported to the Terezin (Theresienstadt) ghetto in February 1942, where she produced more than 100 drawings and watercolors portraying fellow inmates and their life there. Because of her refusal to portray a collaborationist doctor, she was deported to Auschwitz on 18 May 1944, where she perished.


Interior, 2d january, 1920.

Her work, especially her drawings of the camp at Theresienstadt, is characterized by a sober realism. These drawings have been described by Tom L. Freudenheim, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, as "perhaps the finest and most complete artistic oeuvre to survive the Holocaust." Recovered after the liberation, most are in the art collection of the Ghetto Fighters' House museum at kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot in Israel.

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