Sculptor Fritz (Fred) Kormis was born into a Jewish family to an Austrian father and German mother in Frankfurt, Germany in 1897. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a sculpture workshop. During the First World War, he was drafted into the Austrian army, and in 1915 was captured, wounded and imprisoned for five years in Siberia, an experience which profoundly shaped the rest of his life and career. After escaping in 1920 and procuring a Swiss passport in Vladivostok, he returned to Frankfurt, where he resumed his career, married, and held solo exhibitions in Berlin and Frankfurt. Following Hitler's rise to power in 1933, he moved first to Holland, where he held solo exhibitions in Amsterdam and the Hague and taught refugee children, then, in 1934 to England, where he held his first solo exhibition the same year at the Bloomsbury Gallery. He also exhibited (once) with the progressive London Group in 1936 and participated in the 1938 Exhibition of Twentieth Century German Art at the New Burlington Galleries in London. He settled in North London's 'Finchleystrasse' (later gaining British citizenship in 1947) and worked for the potteries during the war. Much of his major work was lost after his studio was bombed in 1940 but he also earned a living as a leading portrait medallist.
Kormis' memorial work was a major part of his oeuvre and includes the five-piece 'Prisoners of War and Concentration Camp Victims Memorial' in Gladstone Park, Dollis Hill, and a relief plaque, 'Marchers', outside King's College, London. He exhibited frequently at Ben Uri (from 1935 onwards) and with the Fieldbourne Gallery. He also served as a member of Ben Uri's Arts Committee in 1967–68. Fred Kormis died in London, England in 1986. A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Sternberg Centre in 1988. His work is represented in UK collections including the Coins and Medals department of the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, Leeds City Museum and Art Galleries, the Royal West of England Academy, and external locations including Nuffield College, Oxford, and Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, as well as collections in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and New York.