HOLOCAUST survivor Henri Korn will be the subject of a portrait by O’Callaghan’s Mills man, Thomas Delohery, which will be submitted for the prestigious Archibald Prize and judged by the trustees of the New South Wales Gallery in Australia, where both men now live.
Henri was born in Germany and was barely nine years old when he witnessed the murder of his friend, Leo Troski and Leo’s parents during Kristallnacht. He survived World War II on false papers, living in hiding and working with a group of young men in the shadows, whose task it was to relay information about German troop movements to the Allies.
Thomas is a creative artist and painter and has long held an interest in the Holocaust, while he is acutely aware of the suffering of the victims at the hands of the Nazis.
His portrait of Henri will not be a conventional one. Now aged 85, Henri is uncomfortable with the label ‘child’ Holocaust survivor, so Thomas has drawn and painted him between the two eras, from the child survivor of the 1930s and ’40s to the vibrant 85-year-old gentleman he is now. The painting’s title is Like Forgotten Photographs.
“Henri is, in many respects, an Australian success story. He reflects – even epitomises – the fortitude and resilience, which is so much a characteristic of this country. It is a privilege to paint his portrait,” said Thomas.
Henri arrived in Melbourne in mid-1950 and 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.
Henri 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.
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait entry of an individual who has achieved distinction in art, literature, science or politics, painted by an artist resident in Australasia.
The prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing it, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture, as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years, some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.