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Self-portrait of a young woman looking sideways by a Jewish teenager in hiding

Object | Accession Number: 2007.521.10

Self portrait in pencil drawn by Ava Hegedish when, from age 15 to 18, she lived in hiding at the farm of a Serbian Christian peasant family near Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia.) In April 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis partners partitioned Yugoslavia. Belgrade was under German control. Ava's father Leo decided the family's best chance of survival was to separate and go into hiding. He returned to Novy Sad; her mother and her sister Susanna remained in Belgrade. Susanna's Greek Orthodox husband had Serbian relatives with a farm near Belgrade and they agreed to take in Ava, then 15. She did farm labor and lived in this shed. To avoid suspicion and because she did not speak the local Serbian dialect, Ava pretended to be deaf and mute. She sometimes got scraps of paper and made drawings to hold onto her sense of self and her memories of her family. The region was liberated in October 1944. Ava searched for family in Belgrade. She learned that her sister was killed and her father murdered in Auschwitz. She was reunited with her mother and they settled in Belgrade where Ava attended art school.

Artwork Title
Ava, a self-portrait, ca. 1941-1944
creation:  approximately 1941-approximately 1944
creation: in hiding; Serbia
Object Type
Self-portraits (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Ava Kadishson Schieber
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:07:56
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