Éva Székely

This month we are featuring a portrait of Éva Székely, who passed away in February at age 92. Éva was a talented swimmer as a child, but was kicked off the local team at age 14 because she was Jewish. During World War II, she lived in a safe house in Budapest that was run by the Swiss. She stayed in shape by running up and down five flights of stairs 100 times every day. She defied odds to survive the Holocaust, and went on to become a world champion swimmer,  and a gold and silver medalist at the Olympics. Her commitment to keeping her dreams alive and training even under the most difficult circumstances inspires us during this current crisis. You can read her obituary here.

This beautiful portrait was created at an annual workshop at the Zachor Foundation for Holocaust Remembrance in Éva’s hometown of Budapest. The student who created the portrait reflected on the experience:


How much did you learn about the person you described and about the portrait made about him/her? How did it feel to observe the photo, and make a sketch based on the photo?

It was a strange feeling that with the help of the photo I tried to make personal contact with somebody who I don’t know and I haven’t even met before.

What do you think you will remember about this experience? Why?

I will remember the story of the woman I made a portrait of.



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