Holocaust survivor Henri Korn will be the subject of a portrait to be submitted for the annual prestigious Archibald Prize, to be judged by the trustees of the NSW Art Gallery.
Korn, who was born in Germany, was barely 9 years old when he witnessed the murder of his young friend, Leo Troski, and Leo’s parents, during Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass) – the widespread destruction of hundreds of synagogues in Germany and Austria, the murder of almost 100 Jews and attacks on Jewish property in November 1938.
Like countless others, Korn survived the Second World War on false papers, living in hiding and working with a group of young men in the underground whose task it was to relay information about German troop movements to the Allies.
Celebrated Irish-born creative artist and international painter, Thomas Delohery, has had an abiding interest in the Holocaust and is acutely aware of the suffering of the victims at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.
Delohery will paint Henri Korn’s portrait and submit it as an entry for the Archibald Prize.
Delohery has focused on the Holocaust in his painting for the last 18 years and in 2011 exhibited some of his works on the Holocaust in Melbourne. He sees Henri Korn’s journey from war-torn Europe and from the ashes of the Holocaust as a genuine success story.
Korn, who arrived in Melbourne in mid-1950, soon developed a passion for Australia and a love for Australian culture. He served on the 1956 Olympiad Organising Committee, opened a business, ‘Kangaroo Gifts’, specialising in Australian-made products and for several years was a member of a committee seeking to make Melbourne a ‘brighter city’.
He also served for eight years on the board of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, in his capacity as president of the Child Survivors of the Holocaust.
Korn continues to serve as a Holocaust survivor guide at the Jewish Holocaust Centre on a weekly basis and to work as a volunteer at Jewish Care in Melbourne, where he was awarded the title of ‘2012 Volunteer of the Year.’
Delohery sees in Henri Korn’s enthusiasm a person with boundless energy and a zest for life, despite the trauma of his teenage years, and the fact that he is in his eighty-fifth year.
“Henri is in many respects an Australian success story,” says Delohery. “He reflects – indeed epitomises – the fortitude and resilience which is so much a characteristic of this country.”
“It is a privilege to paint his portrait.”