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Much loved teddy bear given to a Hungarian Jewish girl after her return from Theresienstadt

Object | Accession Number: 2013.104.2

Much loved, golden brown plush teddy bear given to Éva Erszébet Kiss, around age 4, after she and her mother returned to Pecs, Hungary, from Theresienstadt ghetto-labor camp in May 1945. The bear resembles Steiff bears of the period, with the center stomach seam and the mohair-like plush, but its origins are unknown. When Éva was born to Istvan and Lilian in Pecs in 1941, Hungary was controlled by a fascist regime with anti-Jewish legislation like that of their ally, Nazi Germany. Her father was conscripted into the Hungarian labor service in 1940, leaving her mother to run their wooden blind manufacturing business in Szeged. In March 1944, Germany occupied Hungary. That April, Lilian and Éva were forced into the Szeged ghetto. Many family members, including Lilian’s grandparents, were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp and killed. On July 2, Éva and Lilian were deported to Strasshof labor camp near Vienna, Austria, part of a "Blood for Goods" exchange between Eichmann and the Relief and Rescue Committee of Budapest. In spring 1945, they were sent to Theresienstadt, where Lilian worked in a factory. In April 1945, they escaped the camp during a typhus epidemic. After returning to Hungary, much of the way by foot, they discovered that Istvan had been killed on the Soviet front in 1944. Lilian's maternal aunt, Ilona, and uncle, Imre, were the only other surviving family members. Lilian remarried in November 1947. She and her husband, George Herman, immigrated to the US in January 1949, but were not able to get Éva a visa until several months later. Éva was placed in a Swiss boarding school until she joined them in New York in April 1949. After her arrival in the US, Éva's name was Americanized to Eva Elizabeth Herman, which incorporated her stepfather's surname.

received:  after 1945 May
received: Pecs (Hungary)
Stuffed animals
Object Type
Teddy bears (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Eva VonAncken
Record last modified: 2022-08-15 10:53:01
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