During World War II, concentration, labor and transit camps were set up throughout Europe. These camps housed hundreds of thousands of prisoners, many of whom were murdered.
Eva Modval was deported to Tolonc and Kistarcsa camps from her home in St. Gyorgy, Transylvania. Eva’s doll, Gerta, had accompanied Eva the entire time. The doll was Eva’s best friend and the only witness to the good times enjoyed by Eva’s family before the war. When Eva loaned her much-beloved doll Gerta to Yad Vashem for this exhibit, she had a very difficult time separating from it. In Eva’s farewell letter to Gerta she expressed some of these feelings:
Goodbye, my doll Gerta!
“...I am leaving you with a heavy heart. Maybe you’ll be able to tell the people of today, and particularly the children, what you saw and where you were with me – a sad story, but also a cheerful one, because I survived . . . Dear Gerta, you will be the last witness of a dreadful childhood. May no child anywhere go through anything like that again . . . Maybe some day I’ll come to visit you; the only grave I have for my father and grandfather is Yad Vashem. And perhaps my children and grandchildren will come, and then you won’t be alone there!
Maybe you’ll meet toys and dolls who were in worse places, but survived all the same. My dear doll! Today you have become an inseparable part of my people, which has risen from fire and ashes like a phoenix.
You will always be in my heart.