Ernst Degasperi was born in Merano, Italy in 1927 and initially trained as a mechanic in Vienna, afterwards remaining to study graphics under Prof. Paul Kirnig at the Academy of Applied Arts. From 1952 he worked as a graphic artist, becoming president of the artists' group The Spiral and a member of the Austrian Writers' Associaton, The Circle. In 1985, he founded a private initiative to rescue 200 children from a Philippine leper station. From 1963 onwards Degasperi created more than 30 cycles with more than 550 images and exhibited on every continent. A number of his works made reference to the Holocaust. In 2003, he was named an honorary citizen of the University of Vienna for his efforts to bring people together and to contribute artistically to an understanding of the world's monotheistic religions.