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Drawing of a soldier liberating a prisoner by Ervin Abadi given to a US liberator

Object | Accession Number: 2016.248.3

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    Drawing of a soldier liberating a prisoner by Ervin Abadi given to a US liberator

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    Brief Narrative
    One of three color drawings by Ervin Abadi given to Private First Class Donald W. Rust after liberation near Magdeburg.
    Artwork Title
    creation:  approximately 1945 May-1945 May 26
    creation: Hillersleben (Germany)
    received: Hillersleben (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Christina Brown
    Artist: Ervin Abadi
    Subject: Ervin Abadi
    Ervin (Aaron) Abadi was born on April 9, 1918. When the war broke out with the invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939, Ervin was living in Budapest, Hungary, pursuing a career as a painter. Beginning in 1939/40, all Jewish males were subject to foced labor service. Hungary, a German ally, joined in the invasion of the Soviet Union launched in June 1941. Forced labor battalions were under the command of the Hungarian Army and Ervin's battalion was taken to the Soviet Union. He escaped but was captured in the Karpet Mountains. He was brutally mistreated upon his return and escaped again, but was recaptured and sent to Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany. In early April 1945, as Allied troops reached the area, the Germans began to evacuate some prisoners. Abadi was placed on a train with about 2000 other inmates, many very ill, as well as a large number of children. The bombing of rail lines throughout the area impeded travel and the train could not get to its intended destination, likely Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. After seven days, the German guards fled and abandoned the train near Farsleben and Madgeburg, Germany. On April 13, the train was discovered by American troops of the 30th Infantry Division. Abadi was extremely ill with typhus and was hospitalized at Hillersleben. While in the camp and after, Abadi made a number of ink drawings watercolors detaling his labor battalion and concentration camp experiences. He eventually returned to Budapest where he gave illustrated talks about his life as a forced laborer and an inmate of Bergen Belsen. The work was published in an edition of 500 with Hungarian and English captions in 1946. The foreword of the book says, in part, "Let these drawings serve as proof of my everlasting gratitude towards those to whom I owe my life. ... To the soldiers of the United States Army, particularly to our immediate liberators, those soldiers of the 9th regiment who first entered the village of Zilitz and gave us bread, milk, chocolate, and cigarettes...." Abadi became disillusioned by Communist Hungary and managed to leave for Israel in 1947 or 1948. He changed his name to Aharon (Aaron.) He wrote 15 books in both Hebrew and Hungarian. Aharon died in 1979 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    War in art (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Drawing in ink and watercolor on paper of a soldier and a woman liberated of her chains, with a fallen Nazi soldier in the foreground and a map of Europe in the background. The word Victory, is written in red uppercase letters at the bottom. It is signed and dated by the artist.
    overall: Height: 11.000 inches (27.94 cm) | Width: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, watercolor
    front, lower right corner : Hillersleben / Germany /Europa / 1945

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use. Copyright status unknown.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Abadi, Aaron.

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by Christina Brown, the granddaughter of Donald W. Rust.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-18 12:07:59
    This page:

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