Zelenka, František

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ZELENKA, FRANTIŠEK (1904–1944), Czech architect and stage designer. Zelenka was responsible for the design and decor of a great number of original productions in the Czechoslovak National Theater and the Municipal Theater of Prague. His wit found highly successful expression in modern versions of comedies by Molière and Shakespeare and brought him ultimately to the most popular satirical theater of Czechoslavakia, the Osvobozené Divadlo (Liberated Theater). Here he became permanent stage designer for the famous comedies of Voskovec and Werich. After the German occupation of Prague, Zelenka was deported to Theresienstadt, from where he was sent to Poland in 1944 but died on the way. While in Theresienstadt, he showed great resourcefulness in designing theatrical performances for the camp inmates, among them a Czech baroque folklore play about Queen Esther. Zelenka also helped to organize the Jewish Museum in Prague.


N. Frýd, Culture in the Anteroom to Hell (1965).

[Avigdor Dagan]