Éva Heyman

Éva “Évike” Heyman

Born: February 13th, 1931 in Oradea, Kingdom of Romania*
Died: October 17th, 1944 at Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Parents: Ágnes “Ági” Zsolt (Mother) and Bela Heyman (Father)
Career Interest: Photographer
Diary Title: The Diary of Éva Heyman

“Dear diary, it’s so different with the Ágis at home that I don’t even care if the war goes on for a long time! But that’s disgusting of me, because so many people are suffering. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is that the most wonderful thing in the world is when the whole family is always together. For us, that’s a very rare thing!”[1]

“No changes yet. I’ve even been back to school, but they’re stopping classes and I won’t have to go anymore. I was on my way home when the German soldiers came marching in, with cannons and tanks, the mind I’ve seen in the newsreels. In Budapest there are constant air raid alarms, and all day the radio keeps issuing air raid warnings, always opening with the code words for places in danger of bombing: Warning to Bácska Baja. And then we turn off the radio, because I’m afraid.”
– March 25, 1944[1]

Éva (Évike) Heyman was a Holocaust diarist in Nagyvárad, Hungary (today’s Oradea, Romania). She was thirteen years old when she was writing in her diary. Éva is often referred to as the “Anne Frank of Hungary” as she wrote deep and thought-provoking diary entries. Her adventurous mind can be seen throughout her diary entries as she tries to parse through the past, the present, and the future.

Throughout Éva’s diary, she references a friend who was killed by the Nazi regime. She memorialized Márta Münzer, and because of her diary, we are able to see into the eyes of the young girl and how she viewed Márta. Éva feared death, and she would often worry about the prospect of death throughout her diary. Márta was a common reference as a way to reconcile with what her fate may be.

Éva was defiant in the face of one of the most brutal regimes to ever exist. When confronted by Nazi policemen, she would fight for her bicycle. She recollects: “Today they came for my bicycle. I almost caused a big drama. You know, dear diary, I was awfully afraid just by the fact that the policemen came into the house. I know that policemen bring only trouble with them, wherever they go. (..) So, dear diary, I threw myself on the ground, held on to the back wheel of my bicycle, and shouted all sorts of things at the policemen: “Shame on you for taking away a bicycle from a girl! That’s robbery!” (..) One of the policemen was very annoyed and said: “All we need is for a Jewgirl to put on such a comedy when her bicycle is being taken away. No Jewkid is entitled to keep a bicycle anymore. The Jews aren’t entitled to bread, either; they shouldn’t guzzle everything, but leave the food for the soldiers.” April 7, 1944″ [1]

A letter written by Mariska on the 8th of September, 1945 states: “Évike gave me her diary and said: “Take good care of it, Mariska, just like of Mandi. Don’t cry, Mariska, I’ll come home again, I’ll survive, because you know how strong I am, Mariska.” [1] As for Éva Heyman’s fate, we have witness testimony of what had occurred.

Éva was transported to Auschwitz II – Birkenau and arrived on June 6th, 1944. Éva would face the atrocities of Birkenau as her own cousin, Marcia Kecskeméti would die in her arms. As Ági describes it, “but her [Éva] will to survive did not slacken even then.” [1] Éva lived in Camp C of Auschwitz II – Birkenau. On October 17th, 1944, Éva would face the culmination of evil himself – the Angel of Death – Dr. Josef Mengele. According to Ági’s foreword: “a good-hearted female doctor was trying to hide my child, but Mengele found her without effort. Éva’s feet were full of sore wounds. “Now look at you,” Mengele shouted, “you frog, your feet are foul, reeking with pus! Up with you on to the truck.” [1] Eyewitnesses claim that Josef Mengele himself pushed Éva onto the truck. [1]

She would die on October 17th, 1944. However, her memory lives on. Through her diary her world can be seen ever so clear. A memorial statue was created for Éva in Oradea, Romania.

* It should be noted that her diary takes place in the Hungarian control of Oradea, and therefore was called Nagyvárad in the country of Hungary at the time of her diary. However, she was born to the Kingdom of Romania. Éva was ultimately deported under Hungarian control, and therefore the city was called Nagyvárad in the country of Hungary.

[1] Éva Heyman, Agnes Zsolt (Editor), Moshe M. Kohn (Translator) – The Diary of Éva Heyman: Child of the Holocaust – ISBN 9780933503892


“Today an order was issued that from now on Jews have to wear a yellow star-shaped patch. The order tells exactly how big the star patch must be, and that it must be sewn on every outer garment.”
– March 31, 1944 [1]

“When I came home from Marica it was already late in the evening. Ági was sobbing and wailing that they had missed their last chance, and all of us would die in Poland. This is the first time I heard Ági say such a thing. I mean, so it’s true that I’ll be taken to Poland, the way Marta was. Maybe I’ll also be taken there because I had a red bicycle, like Márta. I know that what I’ve written here is silly, but believe me, dear diary, I’m afraid that I’m also going out of my mind, like Grandma.”
– April 18, 1944[1]