ART OF ELISABETH MANN
Five Sketches
Sweden, 1945

 

Elisabeth Mann was born Erszebet Mohr in Hungary in 1925. For the Mohr family, the stability and predictability of prewar life ended in March-April 1944, when the new pro-Nazi Hungarian government commenced the full-scale ghettoization and deportation of Jews from Hungary and Hungarian-controlled territories. Between 400,000 and 500,000 Jews were ghettoized and deported, and the majority ended up in Auschwitz–Birkenau.

Elisabeth Mann was imprisoned in the Kecskemét ghetto in Hungary. She was later deported to Auschwitz, then transferred to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, and transferred again to the Braunschweig labor camp for women.

In May 1945, Elisabeth and a group of other female prisoners from the Braunschweig camp were released to Denmark. In the fall, she was admitted as a refugee to Sweden. She lived in the small, rural towns of Oster Korsebrga and Sjoberga and later found employment at a local school.

Formally free, she remained a captive of her daunting memories. She coped with her past by sketching scenes reflecting her wartime experience. From 1945 to 1949, Elisabeth created a series of sketches depicting life in the Auschwitz and Braunschweig labor camps. She also sketched Swedish landscapes.

Elisabeth lived in Sweden until 1955 when she and her husband immigrated to the United States. Today she lives in Los Angeles.