Mother and Child. A wood sculpture according to design by Josef Thorak in 1946
© Thorak-Archiv, Marco-VG
Berlin/Rosenheim (bpb) Erna Thorak, the widow of the Austrian sculptor Josej Thorak, has died in June 2004 in Germany at the age of 90 years. She was the last wife of the artist, who like the sculptor Arno Breker, George Kolbe, Richard Scheibe and Adolf Wamper belonged to the most active sculptors of the era between 1935 and 1945.
After the NS era, professor Josef Thorak Thorak married the 25 years younger Erna Hönig in September, 1949. As his last wife, she lived 52 years after his death. She was buried at a country cemetery in Chiemgau, Bavaria. Thorak himself, after he died in 1952, was burried in the special grave of his mother in Salzburg.
The Josef Thorak Archives in Berlin honored the deceased with a proclamation. "Erna Thorak was a courageous and strong woman. She has endured with honor and patience all attacks against Josef Thorak, who--after 1945 and until his death in 1952--became a target of evil defamations by the official art world and many politicians, due to his work as artist during the Third Reich for Adolf Hitler and his architect, Albert Speer. Instead of trying to defend the creative period of her husband during the NS era, with which he personally had nothing to do, Mrs. Thorak took care about the remaining artistic heritage of the sculptor, who lost all his rights in Germany and Austria after the war. So, the once joyful, young woman became a loyal, caring mother for the family. She lived and worked withdrawn from the public spotlight.
She herself avoided all public appearances in the media, and thus kept misfortune away from the family. All, who knew this conscious, self-willed and charming lady, will keep her in their fond memories. The Thorak Archive is aware of its mission after the departure of Erna Thorak--to keep alive an worthy remembrance about this significant artist of the 20th century.
Copyright 2004 West-Art, Prometheus 93/2004