Yosl Bergner (1920-2017) was born in Vienna and grew up in Warsaw. In 1937, he joined his family that had immigrated to Australia two years earlier. His father, writer and poet Melech Ravitz, was involved in the Kimberly Plan – a little-known futile attempt to create a Jewish homeland in Australia. Yosl studied at the National Gallery School of Melbourne, but cut his studies short with the outbreak of World War II. After serving in the Australian army for four-and-a-half years, he resumed his studies. His years of wandering ended with Yosl and his wife, Audrey, a painter in her own right, coming to Israel in 1950. In 1980, Bergner was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his works of art.
Bergner’s paintings all depict Jewish and Israeli themes. One of his trademarks is the grater, as well as other kitchen utensils, which he uses as symbols for the endangered Jewish world. “I love the grater,” he once said, “because it is like a Jew whose pain can be seen by all.” He added that a grater is also like a Jew whose wounds...
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